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NFFE Legal Team

The NFFE Legal Department

The NFFE legal department employs full-time attorneys who are highly specialized in federal labor and employment law.  NFFE members can rest easy knowing you will receive expert, qualified legal advice and action from seasoned attorneys.  NFFE attorneys regularly take on federal agencies and departments through litigation in administrative forums and at the trial and appellate level, such as the FLRA, U.S. District Courts and the U.S. Courts of Appeals.  NFFE's legal team is widely respected in the federal employment legal sector – recognized as tireless fighters for its members. The NFFE legal team has a deep wealth of knowledge to supplement Council and Local officers nationwide in providing NFFE-IAM dues-paying members with the best representation in federal workplace disputes, including discipline and discharge cases, grievance arbitration, unfair labor practices, collective bargaining, and more.  Legal services are available to dues-paying members at no additional cost. 

NFFE General Counsel Jeff Friday

Jeff Friday has served as NFFE General Counsel since December 2016. Prior to joining NFFE, Friday served as the Assistant General Counsel at the Department of Defense Education. HE also dedicated almost 30 years to the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) as the National Counsel with additional Organizing Director responsibilities.  

Shortly after completing law school at George Washington University, Friday went on to serve as a patent attorney at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). There he served as the local lodge president of an NTEU unit. During his time at the PTO, Friday learned the importance of pairing exceptional representation with a commitment to organizing, increasing the local’s density from 40 to 90 percent in just three years!  

As General Counsel, Friday directs NFFE’s national legal program, overseeing national litigation such as NFFE’s lawsuit against the Trump Executive Orders, as well as matters arising from NFFE locals. Local cases include arbitrations, unfair labor practices and representational matters. The General Counsel’s office also provides general legal guidance to NFFE locals on a daily basis.  

Assistant General Counsel Renee Catalano

Renee Catalano has worked as NFFE’s Assistant General Counsel since 2015. Catalano came to NFFE as a graduate of the University of Maryland where she obtained her Juris Doctor degree and Rutgers University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Labor Studies and Employment Relations. Before joining NFFE, Catalano utilized her legal training and labor studies background in the Labor Relations Department of the MTA Metro-North Railroad in New York City before coming to Washington, D.C. where she gained experience in the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) Legal Department.

As NFFE’s Assistant General Counsel, Catalano spends most of her time working with local lodges throughout the country to represent our members at arbitrations, in addition to representing NFFE before the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) and federal court litigation. Catalano is licensed to practice law by the states of New Jersey and New York and the District of Columbia.

Associate General Counsel Suzanne Summerlin

Suzanne Summerlin has been NFFE’s Associate General Counsel since January 2018. Throughout her legal career, Suzanne has exclusively represented workers and unions in nearly every sector: public, private, and federal. Suzanne currently represents NFFE and NFFE-IAM members in all phases of federal court litigation (trial and appellate) against federal agencies; all phases of labor arbitrations, term and mid-term collective bargaining; and matters before the FLRA and National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Suzanne supervises internal union elections for officers in the federal and private sector. 

In 2019, Suzanne participated in civil disobedience action, taking arrest on behalf of federal employees protesting the government shutdown of 2018-2019. Prior to her legal career, Suzanne worked as an award-winning television news and documentary producer. Suzanne is licensed to practice law by the state of Florida and the District of Columbia. She is a proud graduate of the University of Florida, Levin College of Law (Cum Laude) and is an active participant in the Peggy Browning Fund Fellowship program which mentors law students in careers representing workers and unions.  

Staff Attorney Alec Summerfield

Alec Summerfield has worked as a Law Clerk at NFFE since September 2018. Alec is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law. While in law school, Alec worked as a Peggy Browning Fellow for the American Federation of State, Municipal, and County Employees (AFSCME). He is a barred attorney in the state of Maryland. 

At NFFE, Summerfield works on a multitude of legal and organizing projects. Primarily, he represents members through the grievance process and by filing petitions, including unfair labor practice charges, with the FLRA. He also has assisted locals within the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs, and the Army Core of Engineers in coordinating organizing campaigns.