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Legal aid lawyers band together in pursuit of better pay and more funding

10 contracts expiring next June

Posted 6/14/24

It wasn’t until 1969 that attorneys in the Legal Aid Society, which has represented indigent New Yorkers since the 1870s, unionized, forming the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. The members walked out on strike repeatedly in the union’s first quarter century, looking to improve working conditions and pay. They were also seeking additional city and state funding to allow them to better service clients.

The ALAA struck again in 1994 after the Rudy Giuliani administration declined to provide funding to meet members’ demands for raises and benefits. Giuliani, threatening to defund the organization, largely managed to bust that effort. In its aftermath, several other legal aid organizations formed without unions, and received government funding formerly earmarked for Legal Aid.

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