Stetin Center seeks to provide a platform for individual lawyers to participate in legal and social justice matters.
The Stetin Center is a public interest, non-profit foundation dedicated to innovative public interest litigation, public education and advocacy. Through legal representation, collaboration, advocacy, and education, the Stetin Center seeks to identify new ways to address systemic problems of social justice while safeguarding fundamental freedoms.
Scott Levine and Denise Lieberman founded the Stetin Center in 2006. Scott is the principal of AEGIS Professional Services, and grandson of the Center’s namesake, Sol Stetin. Denise, former legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri and instructor of political science and law at Washington University, serves as the Center’s director and managing attorney.
By stimulating unique collaborations among existing groups and providing new opportunities for lawyers engaged in for-profit work to contribute, The Stetin Center will better harness the full range of resources that will enable the St. Louis legal community to more creatively and efficiently address intractable, core and underlying social justice problems. The Stetin Center will operate under a unique integrated service delivery model with AEGIS Professional Services, a hybrid law firm and strategic consulting, practice offering comprehensive business services through its Legal and Consulting Practice Groups.
The innovative Stetin Center model demonstrates that AEGIS can incubate a non-profit agency, thus providing fluid opportunities for its lawyers to engage in public interest work on a case-by-case or issue-by-issue basis. The Stetin Center also provides an opportunity for other attorneys in the community to take part in its substantive work. Currently, few St. Louis regional agencies undertake legal and community advocacy on social justice issues, lawyers have limited opportunities to contribute, existing agencies often don’t work together or with non-legal community organizations, and limited resources are diffused.
The Stetin Center seeks to maximize the potential of existing organizations by bringing them together around a shared mission. It will complement existing resources and offer a new model that allows lawyers to engage in traditional client work while also advancing the public interest.
Unlike many other major cities, St. Louis lacked a boutique public interest legal organization to facilitate cooperation among existing public interest and advocacy organizations. The Stetin Center is loosely modeled on public interest organizations – such as the Impact Fund in Berkeley, California, and the Brennan Center in New York City — which are nationally recognized for impact litigation, legal advocacy, and collaboration to advance social justice issues.
The Stetin Center will serve individual clients, organizations, and society at large. The Center’s public interest litigation may represent specific clients but seek a result that impacts the broader community, such as the creation of new law or policy. In addition, legal advocacy and public education benefit the community at large or specific populations in the community.