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Irell & Manella Establishes Endowed Chair for Public Counsel


Irell & Manella LLP has established the first-ever endowed chair for Public Counsel, the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Paul Freese, vice president of Public Counsel, will serve as the Irell & Manella Chair in Public Interest Law.

Public Counsel's activities are far-ranging and impact the lives of people living at or below the poverty level, support the growth of nonprofits and small businesses, and affect public policy through litigation and advocacy. Public Counsel’s attorneys are active in, among others, veterans’ advocacy, homelessness prevention law, children’s rights, immigrants’ rights, appellate law and federal pro se.

Freese has worked at Public Counsel since 1994. He acted as directing attorney of the Homelessness Prevention Law Project for more than six years before his promotion to vice president of Public Counsel in 2001, and he served as interim president and CEO in 2007/2008.

“Public Counsel relies on the talents and dedication of major law firms and top attorneys to fulfill our mission of ensuring access to justice for underserved communities,” said Hernán Vera, president and CEO of Public Counsel. “We are grateful to our friends at Irell & Manella for establishing Public Counsel’s first-ever endowed chair and for empowering attorneys to dedicate their talents to address the areas in our community where justice is in greatest doubt.” 

“I am honored to have my name associated with this innovative and generous gesture by the leadership of Irell & Manella,” Freese said. “It will bolster our collective efforts to establish a more just and equitable society.”

Irell & Manella is a committed provider of pro bono legal services and has a long record of support for the activities of Public Counsel. Partner Morgan Chu is the longest-serving board member at Public Counsel. Irell associates and partners are currently handling numerous pro bono matters through Public Counsel for various clients in need, including mortgage fraud victims and veterans.

About Public Counsel

Public Counsel is the nation's largest not-for-profit law firm of its kind with a 40-year track record of fighting for the rights of children and youth, persecuted immigrants, military veterans and nonprofit organizations and small businesses. Through a pro bono model that leverages the talents and dedication of thousands of attorney and law student volunteers, Public Counsel annually delivers over $88 million of free assistance and addresses systemic poverty and civil rights issues through impact litigation and policy advocacy. For more information, please visit 

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