On the picket lines...


Anonymous said...

the first exercise you've had in years chunk ass

Anonymous said...

At least you got to walk a picket line. One of the features of the Bronx Defenders you failed to mention in your book is that the genesis of the organization was the Legal Aid strike of 1994. Guliani was so mad at Legal Aid that he gave millions to any defender organization that refused to allow its members to organize into a union. Thus, while many of your former colleagues are fine lawyers, they have no protection and carry unmanagable caseloads. The Bx Defenders has become a bit of a revolving door since. There are dozens of lawyers who have come and gone since you left the Bx. Union protection of Public Defenders is not as evil as you and Rudy G. think it is.

Indefensible said...


A little history here might help. I actually walked the line during the 1994 strike, and I'm well aware of the politics of the strike and it's fallout. Unfortunately, you are wildly incorrect in your assessment.

--Not unionizing was never a pre-condition for contract negotiations.

-- The mayor did not just dole out money to any defender organization (there were many many bids that were rejected).

--Caseloads at BDX are comparable to those at LAS.

--Turnover at BDX is actually somewhat lower than at LAS.

While I'm a strong believer in collective bargaining, I'm not sure what "protection" they need.

Sadly, at LAS, the union has generally focused on protecting burned out lawyers who no longer deserve to represent our clients. The truth is that many people can't sustain the passion necessary to really be a terrific PD. When that happens, it's time to go find other work. Protecting lawyers who treat their clients badly (or say wear surgical masks when interviewing them) doesn't help the profession or the reputation of the society.