Press Releases

September 13, 2013

Public Counsel Honors Elizabeth Dole with 2013 William O. Douglas Award at Gala Night

LOS ANGELES — Public Counsel honored Elizabeth Dole with its William O. Douglas Award on Thursday, September 12, 2013, and announced a new partnership to give legal support to caregivers supporting wounded warriors and military veterans.

The former U.S. Senator, Cabinet Secretary, and President of the American Red Cross headlined the William O. Douglas Dinner, an annual gala that raises more than $2.3 million to support Public Counsel’s nationally recognized legal work. Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm and helps more than 30,000 people every year through the power of the law.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka presented the award to Senator Dole, with special tributes from Rosalynn Carter, Garth Brooks, George Shultz, Donna Shalala, Jay Leno and Gary Sinise.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be recognized by Public Counsel with the William O. Douglas Award,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “Public Counsel’s work is a vital lifeline for countless vulnerable citizens, and my foundation is proud indeed to be announcing a new partnership with this great organization to extend legal services to the nation’s hidden heroes – America’s military and veteran caregivers.”

“Whether fighting for a voice for military caregivers or representing our nation at the highest levels, Elizabeth Dole has set a towering standard of service to others,” said Public Counsel President and CEO Hernán D. Vera. “Public Counsel is proud to celebrate Sen. Dole’s leadership and remarkable skill in getting things done for the American people in times of crisis and great need.”

Senator Dole unveiled a first of its kind collaboration organized by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation between The Center for Veterans Advancement at Public Counsel, the American Bar Association, and the Military Officers Association of America to meet the legal needs of military and veteran caregivers. Caregivers living at or near the poverty line will now have access to life-changing legal and financial planning services.

“Countless wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and other loved ones across the country are struggling every day to care for their wounded warriors and support their family’s legal and financial needs,” said Senator Dole. “All too often individuals take on these instant fulltime caregiver roles without the resources necessary to support their families. Legal support and counsel are among the most critical needs right at the outset — having a skilled attorney as an advocate makes a huge difference to a family’s livelihood.”

Award winning actor and National President of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Ken Howard emceed the William O. Douglas Dinner.

Public Counsel awarded the Corporate Achievement Award to City National Bank. Christopher J. Warmuth, President of City National Bank and Executive Vice President of City National Corporation, accepted the award. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP received the Law Firm Pro Bono Award, which was accepted by New York-based Partner William R. Dougherty, Chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee.

Public Counsel's 2013 William O. Douglas Dinner raised over $2.3 million to support Public Counsel’s nationally recognized legal work on behalf of children, families, veterans, asylum seekers, small businesses and nonprofits and the more than 30,000 individuals we serve each year. Nearly 1,000 leaders from the business, legal, public service, and philanthropic communities gathered at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills to support Public Counsel’s work.

Past recipients of Public Counsel’s William O. Douglas Award include Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, President Bill Clinton, and Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright.