Press Releases

July 26, 2012

Irell & Manella Establishes First-Ever Endowed Chair at Public Counsel

LOS ANGELES – 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.

“We continue to reaffirm our firmwide commitment to pro bono, and we are always on the lookout for ways to increase our assistance to those who need but can’t afford legal representation,” said Andrei Iancu, managing partner of Irell & Manella. “Our firm has a long-standing relationship with the excellent attorneys at Public Counsel, including Paul Freese, and we are thrilled to establish the organization’s first-ever endowed chair.”

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, and associate Chris Cowan serves on the Associate Leadership Board. 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 Irell & Manella LLP

Irell & Manella LLP is a full-service law firm with offices in Los Angeles and Newport Beach, CA. Founded in 1941, Irell is nationally recognized for its intellectual property, litigation, insurance, corporate and tax practices. Irell's clients include Fortune 500 corporations, universities, and leading-edge entrepreneurial companies. For more information, please visit