History & Recognition

History

In 2009, Thomas Harvey, Michael-John Voss, and John McAnnar co-founded ArchCity Defenders with a goal to prevent and end homelessness by providing free legal services to the poor and those experiencing homelessness. The model of holistic legal advocacy was pioneered by the Bronx Defenders in New York and includes providing civil and criminal legal services as well as connecting clients to social services all under one roof.

ArchCity Defenders began to address the gap in St. Louis-area legal services by providing free and holistic legal representation to individuals who would otherwise not have access to a public defender or legal aid attorney. Individuals with adequate means usually do not have a problem obtaining legal assistance, but asserting civil rights in the courts is virtually impossible for those without funds to hire a lawyer. At ArchCity Defenders, we aim to reverse this denial of basic civil rights by offering legal services to those who cannot otherwise afford them or access them in our community.

Recognitions

2021

  • ClayCo Juneteenth Fund Award for Civil Rights

2020

  • Legal Champion Award

Blake Strode, Executive Director

  • Changemakers in the Greater St. Louis Area

Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater St. Louis Area Chapter

2019

  • St. Louis City NAACP Ina M. Boon Social Justice Award
  • Fannie Lou Hamer Democratic Coalition Award
    Political Advocacy
  • FOCUS St. Louis Emerging Alumni Award
    Blake Strode, Executive Director
  • Bellow-Charm Champion of Justice Awards
    Emerging Leader Award, Blake Strode, Executive Director
  • Missouri Lawyers’ Media Legal Champion Award
    Lee Camp, Staff Attorney

2018

  • Thomas Merton Award
    The Thomas Merton Center
  • Empower Missouri Outstanding Organization Award

2017

  • Generate Health Alderman Gregory Carter Community Champion
  • Missouri Lawyers’ Media Up & Coming Lawyer
    Jacki Langum, Director of Advocacy
  • Harvard Club of Saint Louis Community Service Award

2016

  • The Ethical Society of St. Louis Ethics in Action Award
  • The National Benevolent Association Injustice Anywhere Award
  • Public Justice Institute Trial Lawyers of the Year Award
    Thomas Harvey and Michael-John Voss, Co-Founders
  • FOCUS St. Louis What’s Right with the Region Award for Improving Racial Equity and Social Justice

2015

  • The Missouri Bar YLS Pro Bono Award
    Stephanie Lummus, Managing Attorney

2014

  • National Association of Legal Aid and Defenders (NLADA) New Leaders in Advocacy Award
  • Riverfront Times’ Best of St. Louis Best Lawyers Award

2013

  • Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (MACDL) Atticus Finch Award Honorees

2012

  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) Spirit of Justice Award Honorees

2011

  • Saint Louis University School of Law Public Interest Law Group (PILG) Excellence in Pro Bono Award
  • The Missouri Bar Pro Bono Wall of Fame
    Michael-John Voss, Co-Founder

2010

  • The Missouri Bar Diamond Level in Pro Bono Hours
    Michael-John Voss, Co-Founder

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