Press Release: Dean Erwin Chemerinsky to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

June 21, 2017


Santa Ana, CA – The Legal Aid Society of Orange County (LASOC) announces four honorees for the 2017 Voices for Justice Annual Awards Dinner. The event will be held on October 12, 2017 at the Bowers Museum.

Erwin Chemerinsky
Dean, UC Berkeley School of Law
Founding Dean, UC Irvine School of Law
Robert J. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award

Todd Friedland, the Orange County Bar Association, and its Charitable Fund
Outstanding Community Service Award

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Access to Justice Award

 William Wise
Co-Founder & Executive Director, Elder Law and Disability Rights Center
Patricia Herzog Pro Bono Award

The fourth annual event showcases LASOC’s partners in its 59-year effort to provide essential legal aid services to those who need it most. Each year, LASOC serves over 114,000 people, including seniors and low-income individuals, and promotes equal access to the justice system through advocacy, legal counseling, innovative self-help services, in-depth legal representation, economic development and community education.

Dean Erwin Chemerinsky will receive the Robert J. Cohen Lifetime Achievement Award from the largest legal services organization in Orange County. Dean Chemerinsky has left a lasting legacy in Orange County as the Founding Dean of UCI Law School. Under his leadership, a new generation of public interest and pro bono attorneys receive their legal education with an emphasis on experiential learning and public service. UCI Law School has provided over 67,000 hours of pro bono service to the community since 2009, of which, over 10,5000 hours were completed to serve LASOC’s client community. Dean Chemerinsky is one of the nation’s strongest voices for access to justice, civil right and civil liberties and will begin his new post as Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law this summer.

Under the leadership of Orange County Bar Association (OCBA) Past President Todd Friedland of Stephens Friedland LLP, the OCBA, its Charitable Fund and LASOC have forged an even stronger partnership in our joint pursuit for equal justice for all. In the past year, Todd’s leadership at the OCBA, and now its Charitable Fund, has made LASOC’s Homelessness Outreach Program possible and engaged hundreds of volunteers to becoming part of the solution to Orange County’s homelessness crisis.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has provided thousands of hours of pro bono service to a wide range of LASOC matters aimed at serving Orange County’s homeless population and preventing vulnerable seniors, veterans, and children and their families from becoming homeless. Focusing on the City of Fullerton, the firm and it’s pro bono teams partnered with LASOC to achieve measurable impact on increased emergency shelters and low income housing units.

William Wise, co-founder and Executive Director of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Center, will be recognized for his over 32 years of public interest service. Wise was formerly supervising attorney of LASOC’s Senior Citizens Legal Advocacy Program and is a well-respected voice in the Elder Law community. Wise’s vision is for seniors, people with disabilities, and their families, to be able to age with dignity and independence through access to legal services regardless of income.


Editorial contact: Iris Ma, Director of Fund Development | 714.571.5220 |

About Legal Aid Society of Orange County

Legal Aid Society of Orange County is a non-profit organization that provides civil services to low-income individuals and promotes equal access to the justice system. For nearly 60 years, LASOC has spread its services – advocacy, legal counseling, community education, and legal representation – throughout Orange County and southeast Los Angeles.