Honors Former Pepper Hamilton Partner and Community Leader William R. Klaus
Philadelphia, PA – April 23, 2007 – LAWFUEL – Law Newswire – Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLS) has announced that it has established the “William R. Klaus, Esq., Chair in Public Service Law” in honor of William R. Klaus, a chairman emeritus of Pepper Hamilton LLP who died in 2005. Mr. Klaus was one of the founders and early board chairs of CLS.
The Chair, which will memorialize Mr. Klaus’ commitment and contributions to providing legal services for low income residents in Philadelphia, is the first such chair at CLS and one of the first at any legal services organization in the country. It will be awarded to a rising, dedicated attorney engaged in the practice of public interest law at CLS for less than 10 years. The Chair will both recognize that person’s energy and creativity in the public interest field and encourage continued commitment to legal services and access to justice for all.
“Bill Klaus invested so much of himself in making access to quality legal services a reality in Philadelphia and across the nation,” said Catherine C. Carr, Esq., Executive Director of CLS. “I know he would be very proud to see his legacy recognized in this way.”
A partner and leader at Pepper for most of his life, Mr. Klaus was instrumental in founding CLS, which has become one of the leading organizations in the country providing legal services for low income residents and is nationally recognized for its ground-breaking work in this vital area of providing access to justice for those less privileged. He served as its first board chair, a position he held for 22 years, and his interest and contributions to the organization and the principles for which it stood continued throughout his life.
Pepper and CLS have joined together to launch a campaign to raise $350,000 to endow the Chair, to which Pepper has made an initial two-year, $50,000 donation. The team hopes to raise the remainder of the funds by next fall and name a rising young attorney to the William R. Klaus, Esq., Chair in Public Interest Law shortly thereafter.
Mr. Klaus was one of the pioneers in advocating legal services for the poor and served as one of the leading architects for what became the Legal Services Corporation in the early 1960s and provided federal funding for many legal service organizations throughout the country. He was also a former chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association and former head of the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association.
His work has left a strong legacy at Pepper. Partner Michael Pratt served as chair of the CLS board for four years, and several Pepper partners currently serve on the CLS board. The firm has collaborated with CLS on a variety of cases, including challenges to the implementation of improper welfare regulations, and a class action challenging illegal debt collection practices, which led to the criminal prosecution and disbarment of the perpetrator.
For more information, or to make a gift to the William R. Klaus, Esq., Chair in Public Interest Law, contact Richelle Ogle, Development Director, at (215) 981-3743, or by email at [email protected]
For 40 years, Community Legal Services Inc. (CLS) of Philadelphia has provided the highest quality legal assistance to low-income Philadelphians who cannot afford legal counsel when they most need it. Created by the Philadelphia Bar Association in 1966, CLS is widely recognized as one of the most sophisticated, respected legal services programs in the nation. It is also the largest and most experienced legal services provider with the broadest scope in Pennsylvania. In the past year alone, CLS has helped over 19,000 Philadelphians, fighting consumer fraud and predatory lending, preventing homelessness, ensuring fair treatment in the workplace, stabilizing families, and protecting women, children and the elderly. Since inception, CLS has served well over a million individuals at the most critical time of their lives. For more information on Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, visit www.clsphila.org.
About Pepper Hamilton
Pepper Hamilton LLP (www.pepperlaw.com) is a multi-practice law firm with 450 lawyers in seven states and the District of Columbia. The firm provides corporate, litigation and regulatory legal services to leading businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations and individuals throughout the nation and the world. The firm was founded in 1890.