In fact, the ILR lecturer who routinely teaches upper-level and graduate courses in employment law and public sector policy had no intentions of creating a new class at all.
All he really wanted was just a little travel money to fund his passion project – interviewing community organizers in Appalachia about the work that was done there in the 1960s and 1970s.
Adler, who worked as a civil rights and labor and criminal lawyer in West Virginia for nearly 20 years before arriving at ILR in the mid-1990s, saw the work being done by those volunteers and activists first-hand. As a young lawyer he helped the underrepresented, the working class and their unions, and widows and coal miners with black lung disease claims. He also won a pair of landmark discrimination cases involving national origin, equal pay and sex discrimination. This was also when he met a multitude of dedicated individuals, many of whom were working through VISTA, established by President Lyndon B. Johnson to fight the War on Poverty.