GOLD2024

PUBLIC COUNSEL

Los Angeles, CA   |  www.publiccounsel.org

Mission

Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.

Ruling year info

1971

Interim President and Chief Executive Officer

Kristen Jackson

Main address

610 S Ardmore Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90005 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

23-7105149

NTEE code info

Legal Services (I80)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (P01)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Public Counsel operates a wide range of legal projects, each serving a specific population with specific needs. These groups include children, immigrants, veterans, consumers, people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, and women and girls. What all these groups have in common is that they are low-income or otherwise underserved, and they need a lawyer—to help them, advise them, or fight for them—but can’t afford one. Some simply need help navigating a complex bureaucracy. Some need help defending themselves against predators. And some need help fighting for rights that have been wrongly denied them. For our clients, having a lawyer can mean the difference between living on the street or in a home; between dropping out of high school or graduating; between living in safety in the US or being deported to a country where they may be persecuted by the government or murdered by a gang.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Children's Rights Project

The Children's Rights Project provides legal and social work services to assist at-risk children and youth, including children being adopted from foster care, transition-age youth, expecting and parenting youth, children with developmental disabilities, and children who need help accessing education rights.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth

The Center for Veterans' Advancement provides legal representation to veterans and their families at both the local and national levels.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

The Community Development Project builds strong foundations for healthy, vibrant and economically stable communities through its legal and capacity building services for nonprofits, small businesses and low income entrepreneurs; and its Housing Opportunities, Preservation and Enforcement Unit, which supports the development and preservation of affordable housing.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

The Consumer Law Project assists with a wide variety of consumer matters, including consumer fraud, unfair business practices, foreclosure, real estate fraud, and bankruptcy-related matters.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

The Homelessness Prevention Law Project strives to reduce the number of homeless individuals in our community by focusing on the needs of populations that are at high risk of becoming chronically homeless. The project provides representation to individuals and families and offers regular legal clinics.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Homeless people

The Immigrants' Rights Project represents individuals seeking asylum in the United States based on past persecution or a well founded fear of future persecution on account of political opinion, race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group. Also assists immigrants who have been abused by a US citizen or permanent resident, and victims of trafficking and other crimes.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants

Opportunity is not a privilege of class or birth or dependent upon the generosity of others. It is the American birthright. Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law combats economic injustice in all its forms through litigation and other means.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people

Ensures that Public Counsel's existing services for women and girls are as holistic and effective as possible, and works for systemic change to improve the lives of women and girls across the county and state.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of foster care children placed with a family that were formally adopted

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Children's Rights Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

The number of people who obtain or preserve their housing

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Homelessness Prevention Law Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

The number of people who preserve or restore their credit

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Consumer Law Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

The number of immigrants who win legal asylum

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Immigrants and migrants

Related Program

Immigrants' Rights Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

The number of people who obtain, preserve, or increase public benefits to which they are legally entitled

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people who increase their well-being by obtaining at least one positive outcome in their legal case

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people who attend a legal workshop/training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people who receive one-on-one legal assistance

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people represented in class action litigation

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of nonprofits that receive legal assistance to preserve or expand their capacity

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Community Development Project

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of veterans who obtain, preserve, or increase VA benefits

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Veterans

Related Program

Center for Veterans' Advancement

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Number of people assisted in accessing the justice system

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Public Counsel strives to achieve three main goals: protect the legal rights of disadvantaged children; foster economic justice by providing individuals and institutions in underserved communities with access to quality legal representation; and represent immigrants who have been the victims of torture, persecution, domestic violence, trafficking, and other crimes.

Public Counsel provides access to justice through a comprehensive strategy that includes one-on-one legal services, social work support, training, technical assistance, policy advocacy, impact litigation, and communications.

In addition to our staff of 130, Public Counsel has the largest network of volunteer attorneys, paralegals, and law students in the country. We provide these volunteers with the highest quality training and technical assistance. Through this volunteer program, we are able to multiply the number of clients who can receive expert, timely, and thorough legal help.

The uncommonly broad range of legal issues we address allows us to cross-refer among our projects, so that clients experiencing multiple legal issues can receive comprehensive assistance. For example, an undocumented Mexican woman came to us after having been defrauded by an immigration swindler who had taken her money in exchange for handling her immigration case, but had done nothing for her. While our immigration project secured legal status for her, our consumer law project worked to obtain restitution from the swindler.

With six social workers on staff, many of our clients receive not just legal services but holistic advocacy and support to address a wide range of barriers to economic stability and well-being. Our social workers provide services such as comprehensive assessments, referrals for non-legal services, assistance in navigating bureaucracies, and crisis intervention.

Because we combine systemic change work with direct services, our systemic efforts are grounded in the lived experiences of our clients, allowing us to be extraordinarily effective in representing those communities and crafting legal solutions that accomplish real changes in people’s lives.

Finally, because Public Counsel does not accept funding from the Legal Services Corporation, we are free to assist a broader range of clients and to engage in broader systemic change efforts than are LSC-funded organizations.

In 2020, Public Counsel provided legal services to 19,000 people and 150 nonprofit organizations. Of the 3,600 people to whom we provided full representation, 2,900, or 82%, achieved legal successes, resulting in $4 million in revenue and savings for our clients. And we obtained positive outcomes for millions of people through our class action lawsuits. Our staff of 135 achieved these results in partnership with 3,000 volunteers.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We act on the feedback we receive

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

PUBLIC COUNSEL
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

PUBLIC COUNSEL

Board of directors
as of 01/28/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Tanya Acker

Tribunal Justice and The Tanya Acker Show Podcast

Term: 2023 - 2024

Tanya M. Acker

Consultant

Jonathan H. Anschell

CBS Television

Rand S. April

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Steven D Archer

Kiesel Boucher Larson LLP

Wayne M Barsky

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Sharon Ben-Shahar

Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert, Nessim, Drooks & Lincenberg

Jamie Broder

Paul Hastings LLP

Ying Chen

Chen Yoshimura LLP

Vincent H. Chieffo

Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Morgan Chu

Irell & Manella LLP

Alfred M. Clark

Locke Lorde LLP

Philip E. Cook

Jones Day

Cory Copeland

LexisNexis

Andre J. Cronthall

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Bert H. Deixler

Kendall Brill & Klieger LLP

Richard C. Finkelman

Berkeley Research Group

Michael J. Finnegan

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

William Flumenbaum

The Capital Group Companies, Inc.

Laurence R. Goldman

Freid and Goldsman, A Professional Law Corporation

Karlene W. Goller

Los Angeles Times

Daniel Grunfeld

Kaye Scholer LLP

Mark E. Haddad

Sidley Austin LLP

Yakub Hazzard

Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.

Matthew T. Heartney

Arnold & Porter LLP

Melissa D. Ingalls

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

David G. Johnson

ACT 4 Entertainment

Louis A. Karasik

Alston & Bird LLP

Peter J. Kennedy

Reed Smith LLP

Jessie A. Kohler

Panish Shea & Boyle LLP

Tony Lee

Dickerson Employee Benefits

Jerome L. Levine

Holland & Knight LLP

Matthew P. Lewis

White & Case, LLP

David R. Lira

Girardi & Keese

John M. McCoy

21st Century Fox

Marcellus Antonio McRae

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Martin R. Melone

Unaffiliated

Salvador L. Mendoza

City National Bank

Robert A. Meyer

Loeb & Loeb LLP

Owen W. Murray

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Steven A. Nissen

NBCUniversal

Thomas J. Nolan

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Neil R. O'Hanlon

Hogan Lovells US LLP

Laura R. Petroff

Winston & Strawn LLP

Stephen E. Pickett

Southern California Edison

Barry Porter

Clarity Partners

William T. Quicksilver

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Philip R. Recht

Mayer Brown LLP

John A. Rogovin

Warner Bros.

Rick R. Rothman

Bingham McCutchen LLP

Marc L. Sallus

Oldman, Cooley, Leighton, Sallus, Gold, Birnberg & Coleman, LLP

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/27/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/11/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.