President Bill Clinton to Public Counsel: "You Are Doing a Noble Thing."

Speaking to a packed house of over 1,200 Public Counsel supporters last friday, President Bill Clinton said Public Counsel's work gave people hope and opportunity. "You are doing a noble thing," he said at the William O. Douglas Dinner at the Beverly Hilton. "You have no idea how many people you've given a different story because you've stepped into the breach for people who have no power."

 

The 42nd President of the United States and founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation received Public Counsel's highest honor, the William O. Douglas Award, at the Beverly Hilton, culminating Public Counsel's 40th anniversary celebration of four decades of service for American families. 
 

"President Clinton once said 'Let it be our cause [to give children] a happy home, a healthy family and a hopeful future,'" said Hernán Vera, Public Counsel's President and CEO, "That's Public Counsel's cause." 
 
 
President Clinton was introduced by actress, singer and activist Barbra Streisand, who said, "I'm here tonight because Public Counsel is celebrating 40 years of excellent work providing pro bono legal services to those who are most vulnerable." 
  
Public Counsel honored the law firm of Irell & Manella LLP, which received the Law Firm Pro Bono Award. Irell & Manella partner Morgan Chu accepted the award, saying, "We are grateful to have been able to be a small part" of Public Counsel's work.  Irell's award was presented by Justice
Nora Manella of the California Court of Appeals.
 
"The one true calling of a democracy is to ensure access to justice," said California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who presented the Corporate Achievement Award to CBS Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jonathan Anschell. After brief remarks, Anschell introduced a video tribute to Public Counsel from CBS featuring some of their renowned television personalities, including "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric, correspondent Scott Pelley of "60 Minutes," actors Christine Baranski and Josh Charles of "The Good Wife" and Craig Ferguson, host of the "Late Late Show."
 
Actor Mike Farrell ("Providence," "M*A*S*H") emceed the event and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened the evening with welcoming remarks.
 
The William O. Douglas Award is named for the late Supreme Court justice noted for his support of civil rights and freedom of speech. Past recipients include Vice President Al Gore, former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Assistant Secretary for Veterans Affairs L. Tammy Duckworth.
 

Note: Click on the photo of President Clinton, above, to see more images from the Douglas Dinner, including photos of Barbra Streisand and all our honorees.