Norm London, as he was wont to introduce himself, was a criminal attorney who represented the powerful and the powerless with equal vigor. For 40 years, he defended some of the area’s most famous and infamous citizens before taking his formidable reputation to the federal Public Defender’s Office in St. Louis.
“The legal representation in our office is on par with anything you could go out and buy,” said Lee T. Lawless, who succeeded Mr. London as federal defender. “His name being associated with this office got that message across.”
When people of means encounter injustice or are accused of crimes, they hire an attorney to represent them in a court of law. But for people living in poverty, their choices are more limited.
If it’s a criminal case, a defendant will be assigned a public defender. If it’s a civil case, the individual can apply for aid with their local branch of legal services. But despite these options, low-income people are at a disadvantage in the American justice system, say St. Louis attorneys who serve the poor.