Legal Assistance Policy
- Legal Services
The Association assists in defending members in employment related cases so as to assure that the member’s statutory and constitutional rights remain unabridged, except in instances where the Board of Education is required by statute to indemnify the members.
- Criteria for Assistance
NJPSA legal services are available to premier active NJPSA members who are members for at least three months prior to the claim for which legal services are needed. Members receiving NJPSA legal representation are required to continue their active membership until the conclusion of the legal action undertaken by NJPSA counsel. Assistance to members shall be available without regard to race, creed, color, gender, marital status, age or handicap.
- Legal Committee
NJPSA’s Legal Assistance Program shall be coordinated under the direction of the Legal Committee, which shall meet no less than four times annually for the purposes of, but not limited to:
- Acting upon requests for legal assistance,
- Hearing appeals of members who either disagree with the Association’s handling of a particular legal matter, or who wish to have their cases appealed beyond the State Board of Education, the Public Employment Relations Commission, or other administrative agencies, and
- Determining policy recommendations with respect to all legal issues pertinent to NJPSA and its membership and presenting the same to the Cabinet.
- Legal Aid Procedure
- Use of Association Counsel
The procedures to be utilized by members who wish to use NJPSA’s attorneys are:
- The member is to so advise the office of NJPSA and Association counsel will be designated to discuss the legal inquiry with the member.
- If the member believes that legal representation is needed, he shall submit his request in writing.
- Association counsel will be assigned to represent the member in employment related cases with legal merit. If the member and the Association counsel disagrees as to the legal merits of the case, the member may appeal to the Legal Committee, setting forth why in the member’s opinion, the case should be litigated.
- Association counsel is authorized to litigate a matter to the level of the State Board of Education and the Public Employment Relations Commission. If the member wishes to appeal a negative decision beyond the appropriate administrative agency, he shall so submit his request in writing.
- In conflict situations where Association counsel cannot represent a member and where the member’s interests are not protected by the school board’s attorney, the Legal Committee will assign the member an attorney.
- If the member wishes to use any other attorney, the member must follow the procedure set forth below for use of private counsel.
- Use of Private Counsel
- Members opting to retain private counsel may request financial assistance from National Association to which the member belongs for the payment of attorney fees and Court costs by following the procedures of the National Association.
- In every instance where private counsel is retained, and financial assistance is requested, the member must notify the respective National Association and NJPSA counsel prior to the institution of any legal action.
- Submit the name of the attorney to the Legal Committee in care of the Association counsel, including any and all papers, documents and any related items emanating from, or utilized by counsel, arising from the legal action.
- The Legal Committee may, at its discretion, elect to provide financial assistance, for the payment of attorney fees and Court costs over and above that which is obtainable from the aforementioned national organizations, shall be made on a case by case basis at the conclusion of the litigation.