ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

July 30, 1997

1997.07.30: ALAA Training Outline

Filed under: Union Democracy and Structure — nyclaw01 @ 1:04 pm


ALAA Training Outline
Michael Letwin

1. Legal Aid Society Overview – 10 min.
A. History
1. 1876 for German immigrants civil cases
2. Early 20th C, prvt bar backing
3. 1963: Gideon v. Wainwright
4. 1966 NYC contract
B. Funding sources [attachment]. Steadily rising through 90’s: FY91: $112m v. FY93 $137m
1. NYC: state and fed. through NYC (Mainly CDD, CAB, Civ., Vol.)
2. NYS: (Mainly JRD, CDD/CAB)
3. Fed: (FDD, CDD)
4. IOLA: (Civ/Vol)
5. Pvt.: (Civ/Vol)
C. Structure [handout]
1. Structure: 6 Divisions

a. CDD
b. CAB
c. JRD
d. Civil
e. Volunteer/CLO
f. FDD
2. Governance
a. Board
1. LAS membership = partners & associates
2. Board members
a. Wall St. firms
b. Politicians
c. Technocrats
d. Token others
3. Board leadership
a. President = Michael Chepiga
b. EC
b. Upper management
1. Central: Triumvirate
2. Divisions (names)
c. Middle management: Boro Chiefs/Office heads
d. Line supervisors: little/no control

3. ALAA History – 10 min.
A. Formation
1. 1968 out of Bk CDD (see Lefcourt article)
2. 1969 NYS certification
3. “Not a union”
4. Independence through affiliation.
B. Subsequent history (see history in Manual): Union and its enemies.
1. First after 1970 strike
2. 1970s: QR via direct/indirect improvements via 1973, 1974 strikes
a. Training
b. Continuity
c. Workload
d. Salary, esp. lower steps
3. 1978: D65 (79 into UAW)
4. 1982 strike: 10 weeks, w/ long lasting impact
5. Later 80s
a. Wages
b. Non-econ
1. AA
2. HS
6. 1990s: Fighting “austerity” & strengthening the U
a. Economic: wages and health
b. Non-economic gains
1. HS
2. Layoffs
3. Domestic partners
4. AA
c. 1199 alliance
7. 1993: independent again
8. 1994: Strike.
9. 1995: UAW
C. Local History in 80s: Bk CDD
1. Strong in 82 strike
2. 87 arraignments walkout
3. 88 AC walkout
4. Macho, trial, drinking social culture dominated by white male supervisors
a. Women
b. POC, AA committee
5. Strong delegate body
C. Broader issues
1. Justice policy
a. Crim Procedure
b. Police abuse
c. Judicial abuse/unfair targeting of (e.g. Bruce Wright)
d. Drug law reform
e. Death penalty
f. Political prisoners
2. Candidates
3. Social issues
a. Budget cuts
b. South Africa
d. Reproductive rights
d. Labor solidarity
1. Eastern AL
2. UMW
3. Greyhound
4. Daily News
5. Legal Services
10. Detroit NP.
4. ALAA Structure – 10 minutes
A. Rules
1. Constitution & By-Laws: Patched together & largely archaic (see Manual)
2. RRO
B. Bodies (Manual)

1. Membership meeting = highest
2. EC = standing governing body
a. Members
b. Decisions
3. Advisory/Bargaining Cttee
4. Caucuses
5. Committees
C. Office & Staff:
1. Originally shoestring, unreliable, little continuity
2. Now much greater effort to deliver professional services


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