NLG Mourns the Loss of Longtime Member Allan Brotsky

Allan Brotsky with Angela Davis at the Marin Courthouse.

Allan Brotsky, a long-time NLG member, mentor to many, and legal legend, passed away on November 30, 2015. It is a great loss for the Guild.

Brotsky attended undergrad at UCLA in the 1930's. While in Los Angeles he took summer jobs as a cannery worker, where he organized his fellow workers, going on strike and winning in 1939. He attended Columbia Law School, where he organized the American Law Student Association – the precursor of the student section of the National Lawyers Guild. He graduated in 1942 and eventually settled in the Bay Area, where he began to practice labor law. At the firm of Gladstein, Anderson, Resner and Sawyer, he was able to represent the ILWU during their 1948 maritime strike on the West Coast, as well as defendants in the Smith Act prosecutions, and individuals before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

In 1967 he partnered with fellow attorneys Barney Dreyfus, Charles Garry, James Herndon and Frank McTernan, where he continued to represent unions, including the National Maritime Union. While there, he also represented the Black Panther Party, and helped coordinate the Sheraton Palace sit-downs and the Auto Row pickets in San Francisco. Brotsky represented activists involved in the San Francisco State College strike, anti-war activists, and draft resisters. He was also part of the defense team for Angela Davis when she was indicted by a Marin County grand jury.

Brotsky began teaching law in 1975 at New College in San Francisco. He joined the faculty at Golden Gate University in 1979, where he continued to teach for over three decades. He served as president of the San Francisco chapter of the National Lawyers Guild from 1963 to 1965 and was honored at our Testimonial Dinner in 1991. He will be missed.