The AFGE Legal Rights Attorney Program (“LRA Program”) in the General Counsel’s Office (GCO) provides attorney representation in cases brought by AFGE Councils and Locals on behalf of members. The LRA Program offers free attorney representation to Councils and Locals for meritorious administrative cases (such as arbitrations and Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) appeals or other appeals to review boards) where both back pay and attorney’s fees are available.
In order to provide a better understanding of the LRA Program, this information is divided into three parts. First, we explain the referral and evaluation process for Councils and Locals that wish to obtain the services of a Legal Rights Attorney, as well as the responsibilities of a Council or Local which obtains LRA Program assistance. Second, we describe the relevant criteria used by GCO in evaluating referred cases. Third, we briefly outline reasons why the LRA Program is beneficial for Councils and Locals. Questions may be directed to GCO at 202-639-6424. You may also download our brochure on AFGE's Legal Rights Program.
AFGE’s LRA Program offers attorney representation to Councils and Locals that have cases which they intend to bring to arbitration or to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) or to some other personnel appeals board, including so-called mixed cases involving a discrimination claim together with other issues. Cases must meet evaluation criteria set by GCO.
Cases that involve solely unlawful discrimination issues (e.g., age, race, color, sex, religion, disability, national origin, or retaliation relating to the EEO process) should be referred directly to AFGE’s National Vice President for Fair Practices. LRA Program attorneys do not handle such cases.
STEP ONE - Once a final decision is made by a Council or Local to invoke arbitration or to file a MSPB appeal or some other appeal to a review board, the Council or Local President must fax, or overnight mail, to the General Counsel documentation – including the Local’s address, telephone number, and fax number -- that is sufficient to allow GCO immediately to contact the Council or Local, complete a review of the case and make a decision on whether to accept the case for handling. NOTE: Until GCO notifies the Council or Local that GCO will provide representation, the Council or Local is responsible for meeting all grievance and/or case deadlines.
STEP TWO – Upon receipt by GCO of a case file from a Local or Council, an attorney is assigned to evaluate the case. The Local or Council should call GCO (202-639-6424) to confirm that the case file has been received by GCO and that the case has been assigned. Normally the evaluation will take five work days from the date of GCO receipt of the case file. If a case is accepted, the Local or Council will be notified in writing and an attorney will be provided at no cost. AFGE’s Legal Representation Fund will pay for the attorney’s travel, lodging and per diem. If a case is not accepted for representation, the Local or Council will be notified in writing. The appropriate AFGE National Vice President and Council President will be notified in writing of case acceptance or rejection.
STEP THREE – The Council or Local agrees to accept the following responsibilities when notified of the acceptance of the case for LRA program assistance:
AFGE’s GCO will determine in its sole discretion, based on all of the circumstances, whether to provide attorney assistance for cases, based generally on the following criteria:
LR Attorneys are experienced litigators, part of the AFGE legal team under the supervision of AFGE’s General Counsel, and committed to the best possible representation. Additionally, there are no costs to the Council or Local for an LR Attorney, and in some arbitration cases a portion of the arbitrator’s fees may be paid from AFGE’s Legal Representation Fund (LRF).