Press Releases

March 02, 2015

Public Counsel Launches National Search for Next CEO to Lead Nation's Largest Pro Bono Law Firm

LOS ANGELES — Public Counsel announced today the commencement of a search for a successor to longtime President and Chief Executive Officer Hernán Vera, who recently returned to private practice. The search will be conducted by Phillips Oppenheim Associates, Inc. under the direction of a search committee of the Public Counsel Board of Directors led by co-chairs Stephen Pickett and Gail Title.

Visit to view the job announcement.

Public Counsel is the nation’s largest pro bono law firm. Public Counsel is based in Los Angeles and combines direct services, policy advocacy, and impact litigation to protect the rights of our society’s most vulnerable individuals.

“Every leader in Public Counsel’s 44-year history has expanded the reach of justice in our poorest communities,” said Board Chairperson Daniel Clivner. “Public Counsel has never had a brighter future, and we are confident that our nationwide search will produce a leader who shares our vision for using the power of law to make profound and lasting social change.”

With a staff of 135 including 70 lawyers, Public Counsel leverages the legal talents of 5,500 pro bono volunteers from law schools, law firms and corporations to provide one-on-one legal assistance to more than 30,000 people every year. It helps thousands more through litigation on behalf of students, families, immigrants and people in poverty.

Phillips Oppenheim is a leading executive search firm and assisted Public Counsel with its successful search for the director of its Opportunity Under Law impact litigation initiative. Members of current management, as well as candidates outside Public Counsel, will be considered. 


Founded in 1970, Public Counsel now provides free and low-cost legal help and files litigation in nine practice areas. Recent examples of our work include:

Litigation on behalf of students at high-poverty schools (Reed v. State, Cruz v. California), Los Angeles residents in the social welfare system (Guillory v. Los Angeles County), black and Latino residents receiving federal housing support (The Community Action League v. Lancaster), and unrepresented migrant children and immigrants with mental disabilities (J.E.F.M. v. Holder, Franco v. Holder).

Leading the effort to change harsh California school discipline policies and education laws that put students on a path to dropout and the juvenile justice system.

Expanding our immigration and asylum practice to represent unaccompanied children fleeing violence in their home countries.

Public Counsel’s practice areas include appellate law, children’s rights, childcare law, community development, consumer law, education rights, homelessness prevention, immigrants’ rights, and veterans’ advocacy. Public Counsel has also recently launched an ambitious new project – the Opportunity Under Law initiative – that seeks to combine impact litigation, communications, and organizing to address the lack of economic opportunity nationally.

Visit to view the job announcement. Please submit nominations and applications to the attention of Sarah James and Becky Klein at PublicCounsel[at]