Founder’s Day Celebration: Honoring Fred Nicholas’ Legacy
Public Counsel’s Founder’s Day Celebration
Welcome to Public Counsel’s first-ever Founder’s Day celebration! This year, we are thrilled to honor the remarkable life and legacy of our founder, Fred Nicholas, as he turns 103 years old on May 30th.
Fred Nicholas is a visionary leader who recognized the responsibility of lawyers to give back to their community. His passion for justice and commitment to providing free legal services to those in need led to the formation of Public Counsel in 1970. From its humble beginnings in a tiny one-room office in Beverly Hills, Public Counsel has grown to become the largest provider of pro bono legal services in the nation.
To honor Fred Nicholas’ incredible legacy, we invite you to join us in celebrating our first-ever Founder’s Day by making a donation of $103. Your gift will help us continue our work of pursuing justice, hope, and opportunity for all. Make your donation using the form below.
Fred Nicholas’ vision continues to guide Public Counsel’s work today, as our dedicated staff and volunteers provide life-changing direct legal services to thousands of Angelenos each year, while utilizing education and outreach to build healthy and resilient communities. Through innovative impact litigation and policy advocacy, we support community-led initiatives to transform unjust systems in Los Angeles and beyond, working to create an equitable society where all people can thrive and access justice.
Join us in celebrating Fred Nicholas’ 103rd birthday by making a donation of $103 to Public Counsel. Your gift will make a lasting impact on the lives of those we serve and honor the extraordinary accomplishments of our founder. We invite you to include a heartfelt birthday message with your gift, expressing your gratitude and support for Fred Nicholas’s enduring commitment to delivering justice for all.
About Fred Nicholas
In 1968, Fred Nicholas was president of the Beverly Hills Bar Association and Chairman of a Committee on the Future of the Bar. That year, he attended a speech by a young lawyer and activist named Ralph Nader, who spoke about the responsibilities of lawyers to the community. He criticized the legal profession for “not giving back.”
This message hit a nerve with Nicholas. He suggested to members of his Committee that the Beverly Hills Bar Association sponsor a pro bono law firm to provide free legal services to people experiencing poverty and households with lower incomes. After two years of debate, the Beverly Hills Bar Association authorized the formation of a pro bono law firm under the name of Beverly Hills Bar Association Law Foundation and donated $5000 to its formation.
In 1970, in a tiny one-room office on Beverly Drive, the organization opened with Fred Nicholas as the first president, Stanley Levy as its director, and Ann Dominique Snyder as an assistant. The fledgling organization survived on a donation of $20,000 from Nicholas and small gifts from the large Beverly Hills law firms. In 1975, the L.A. County Bar Association joined the Beverly Hills Bar Association to co-sponsor the organization, and it changed its name to Public Counsel.
Today, Public Counsel is the largest provider of pro bono legal services in the nation, with over 140 staff annually working with thousands of volunteers to provide free legal services to tens of thousands of people, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations.
Video of Fred Nicholas
In this 2011 video to commemorate Public Counsel’s 40th Anniversary, Fred Nicholas and others reflect on the founding of Public Counsel and the enduring impact it has made in advancing justice and transforming lives.
Make a Gift
Make a Gift Here
Prefer to Mail a Check?
Please address the check to “Public Counsel” and send to the following address:
Attn: Cheyanne Picone – Founder’s Day
610 S. Ardmore Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005