Authorization and Accountability
The NASW Legal Defense Service (LDS) was established by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust entered into September 21, 1972 and most recently amended on June 18, 1994. Under the Agreement, the Trustees have the sole power, duty and responsibility for administration of the LDS and for interpretation of the provisions of the Agreement and may take any and all actions which in their judgment is advisable for the proper administration of the Service.
The NASW Legal Defense Service is responsible for providing funds to help NASW members defray the cost of counsel and other legal expenses where difficulties are related to the goals, objectives and/or standards of social work practice advocated by NASW and/or in matters of significant national social work import related to such goals, objectives or standards; providing funds to initiate legal action to promote the interests of the social work profession or of a significantly large group of NASW members in such matters as pay equity and declassification and/or to challenge restrictions that tend to bar social workers from qualifying as providers of services under certain managed care arrangements or in other health and mental health settings; and providing funds for development of amicus curiae briefs in cases of interests to the social work profession and/or to a significantly large group of NASW members. The Service may also conduct educational activities relative to legal defense and professional issues involved in individual cases and the work of the Service.
The Legal Defense Service is an ongoing subsidiary of the Association. The Service was created for a term of ten years and may be extended thereafter through mutual consent by a majority of the Trustees. Termination of the Service may be made at any time by two-thirds vote of the Trustees.
Members, Terms and Criteria
According to terms of Agreement, there shall be no less than five and no more than seven Trustees administering the Service. One Trustee shall be a member of the Board of Directors of NASW. Trustees shall be appointed to serve for three years by the President of NASW except that any Trustee may be reappointed for a term of one to three years for the purpose of ensuring adequate continuity of the Trust. No Trustee shall serve for more than two full terms, however, a Trustee appointed to fill an unexpired term shall be eligible to serve two full terms of office. The Chairperson and Vice Chairperson shall be selected by the Trustees from among the most senior Trustees by majority vote by written ballot mailed to each of the sitting Trustees prior to June 30th of each year.
Revised July 1994
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Since 1972, NASW's Legal Defense Fund (LDF) has provided financial legal assistance and support for legal cases and issues of concern to NASW members and the social work profession. LDF supports educational projects and programs to improve the legal status and knowledge of the social work profession.
Learn more about the Legal Defense Fund