The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD), ALAA Announce Recognition of Staff Union

January 25, 2021

Today, the Office of the Appellate Defender recognized the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW Local 2325 as the collective bargaining representative of its workers.

OAD represents individuals experiencing poverty, who are predominantly Black and Brown and have shouldered the burden and trauma of racism, mass incarceration, over-policing, over-criminalization, and anti-Black violence.  While OAD takes an expansive view of appellate practice and the collateral consequences of incarceration, we also recognize the intersection and impact of other oppressive systems causing economic anxiety, food insecurity, environmental injustice, inadequate housing, lack of education resources, and lack of access to quality healthcare.  Both OAD and ALAA believe that it is crucial that we train our sights on these issues facing so many individuals, families, and communities.  It is with this focus that OAD and the Union agree to work towards reaching a collective bargaining agreement as thoughtfully and expeditiously as possible. 

“Since joining OAD several weeks ago, I have proudly witnessed the dedication, quality, and innovative representation of OAD staff members to our clients.  Yet, even in the face of excellence, there is room for growth and improvement.  We stand at a pivotal time in our nation’s and organization’s history where we can amplify shared values of inclusion and race equity and use them as our guideposts to strengthen OAD’s mission and resolve to provide the highest quality, holistic appellate advocacy and post-conviction relief for those entangled with the criminal legal system in Manhattan and the Bronx,” said Caprice R. Jenerson, President and Attorney-in-Charge of the Office of the Appellate Defender.  “Together, I am confident that we can define and actualize our shared values and goals that will sustain OAD well into the future.   Our efforts will ensure not only an equitable and inclusive workplace, but also elevate our zealous appellate advocacy in the communities we so passionately serve.”

“We are so proud to welcome the dedicated staff of OAD into our Union as part of the massive movement of legal services workers across this country organizing themselves to better the conditions of their colleagues and clients” said Lisa Ohta, President of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys – UAW Local 2325.  “We commend OAD for its open and expedient recognition of the staff’s decision to unionize and hope it can serve as a shining example to other non-profits of how a progressive organization can engage productively with their staff.  We look forward to fruitful discussions with OAD to further its mission and provide even greater representation to our clients.”

About the Office of the Appellate Defender

The Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) is New York’s oldest provider of appellate representation to people experiencing poverty convicted of felonies, and the City’s second oldest institutional indigent defense office.  Since 1988, OAD has maintained a national reputation for superb appellate advocacy and innovation, as well as a holistic approach to representation.

About the Association of Legal Attorneys (UAW 2325)

ALAA – UAW Local 2325 is the nation’s oldest union of attorneys and legal workers.  The Office of the Appellate Defenders employees now join the more than 2,000 members of ALAA who are employed at the Legal Aid Society of New York City, the Nassau County Legal Aid Society, Federal Defenders of New York, The Legal Aid Society of Orange County, Youth Represent, CAMBA Legal Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, New York Legal Assistance Group, Asian Americans for Equality, Center for Family Representation, Safe Passage Project, Children’s Law Center, The Bronx Defenders, Catholic Migration Services, Justice in Motion, and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House.