The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW Local 2325 (ALAA) represents 1,200 criminal, juvenile rights, and civil practice staff attorneys in the New York City Metro Area. Founded in 1969, we are the largest union of public defenders, civil, and juvenile attorneys in the country. Every day, our members fight for justice for poor and low-income New Yorkers.
Despite the daily hardships that we face – struggling to provide quality representation while handling unconscionable caseloads coupled with inadequate levels of support staff and resources, not having the capacity to assist all that seek our help, struggling to make a living on lower wages than the private sector while strapped with high levels of educational debt – we fight every day with pride on behalf of the neediest of New Yorkers.
Equal access to justice is an important issue for labor. As attorneys, we see every day the adversity low-income New Yorkers face when they confront the legal system on their own, without the aid of a trained legal advocate. We see this in the many forums in which we appear as Legal Aid staff attorneys for our civil clients: housing court, civil court, welfare centers, unemployment offices, administrative hearings for administrative benefits ranging from food stamps and federal disability benefits to welfare and Medicaid. We see this in State and Federal courts. We represent New Yorkers on matters involving housing, homelessness, benefits, disabilities, family law, domestic violence, prisoner’s rights, reentry, elder law, consumer law, foreclosure, immigration, employment, tax law, and health law.
Our Local Union By-Laws set forth the mission of ALAA as:
Article III: Principles & Purposes
It will be the purpose of this union to:
- Organize and unite into union all staff attorneys of The Legal Aid Society and similarly situated workers;
- Improve the working conditions, treatment, wages, benefits and professional standing of staff attorneys of The Legal Aid Society and protect all staff attorneys from illegal, improper, arbitrary or discriminatory treatment;
- Ensure the provision of high-quality legal services to our clients and advocate for the improvement of these services within the Society and in other appropriate arenas;
- Advocate for the advancement of the interests of our clients and of poor and working people in general through political and legislative outreach;
- Maintain relations with other labor organizations and work cooperatively with other unions for the advancement of the interests of our members, our clients and of poor and working people; and
- Educate our members in the history of the labor movement and develop and maintain an informed and dignified membership in the ranks of organized labor.