Last week, we said thank you and goodbye to Margaret Morrow after five and a half years of service as Public Counsel’s president and CEO. Over the past several weeks, staff and board members have come together to recognize Margaret, and the outpouring of powerful stories about Margaret’s leadership has been remarkable. From anecdotes about how she supported staff members during personal crises to how she stepped in to offer advice and counsel on individual and impact cases, it has been moving to hear how Margaret touched others and poured her heart and soul into this position.
Under Margaret’s leadership, Public Counsel achieved wide-ranging growth and numerous high-profile victories. During her tenure, the organization provided legal services to more than 90,000 low-income clients, secured crucial policy victories such as the legalization of street vending in Los Angeles, and won historic impact litigation cases that helped millions of people across the nation. Such cases include last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that preserved the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (“DACA”) program, and the Sixth Circuit’s landmark decision that recognized the existence of a constitutional right to a basic minimum education ensuring literacy. Additionally, Margaret’s legacy will include the establishment of the Audrey Irmas Project for Women & Girls’ Rights. Working women and girls now have a partner in Public Counsel to stand with them and fight back against sex discrimination in the workplace and within educational institutions.
Margaret also spearheaded critical work to strengthen the infrastructure of the organization, building out its administrative, finance, communications, and HR departments. Beginning in 2017, she helped to support an equity and inclusion initiative that sparked meaningful internal changes connected to both gender and racial justice issues. The work from that initiative continues to this day, and although there is more to do, the organization has a strong foundation upon which to grow and build.
During this past year of immense challenges, Margaret expertly guided the organization through difficult and uncharted territory. She kept the organization on firm financial footing, helped transition the organization to a remote work environment, and worked to keep Public Counsel’s staff and clients safe. We are fortunate to have had such a thoughtful and committed leader at the helm during this crisis.
Thank you, Margaret! We will miss your leadership, friendship, humor, and brilliance. Your legal prowess has been an invaluable resource to Public Counsel’s attorneys and our pro bono partners, and we appreciate the contributions and many sacrifices you made while leading our organization. As the torch is passed to Mónica Almadani Ramírez, Public Counsel’s next leader and holder of the Helen & Morgan Chu CEO Distinguished Chair, you leave Public Counsel well positioned for its next 50 years of delivering justice, opportunity, and hope to those who need it most.
Chair, Public Counsel’s Board of Directors