ArchCity Defenders (ACD) is a nonprofit civil rights law firm providing holistic legal advocacy and combating the criminalization of poverty and state violence against poor people and people of color. ACD uses direct services, impact litigation, policy and media advocacy, and community collaboration as its primary tools to promote justice, protect civil and human rights, and bring about systemic change on behalf of the poor and communities of color directly impacted by the abuses of the legal system.

Welcome to ARCHCITY DEFENDERS

“ArchCity Defenders walks into the danger that most lawyers walk away from. They choose to go to the hard places. They aren’t intimidated by the challenge. They seek it out. They do the thankless work alongside organizers, activists, and community to protect the rights of those our society devalues. They are there after the cameras are gone and the 24-hour news cycle is up.”

-Brittany Packnett, Activist, Educator, and Speaker

Our Services

IMPACT AT A GLANCE

Since 2009...

Represented thousands of people

in the St. Louis region.

53 civil rights lawsuits filed

regarding issues like debtors’ prisons, police misconduct, cash bail, and jail conditions.

161 people

or 36 families housed with the help of our Social Work team since August 2018.

50+ partnerships

formed with local and national groups, nonprofits, and universities to raise awareness and advance systemic policy change in our region.


When it comes to ArchCity Defenders, I trust them. They feel more like my family, like they’re not just my lawyers. They’re my friends also. They listen to you, they want to know if you okay, they want to know how you doing. Even asked, ya know, ‘you got food to eat?’ They make sure you got everything.  They do everything they can for they clients. I never seen so many attorneys like that ever in life. Since I’ve been a part of ArchCity, I feel free. They made me feel free.

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