Bar chief Steve Nissen honored by Public Counsel

Steve Nissen, executive director of the State Bar, was recently honored by his former employer with its top award for public service.

Public Counsel, the nation's largest pro bono public interest law center, presented Nissen with the award at its annual William O. Douglas Award Dinner in Los Angeles.

The award, named in memory of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice, was presented by Bernard Parks, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department. Parks and Nissen both served on the state's Judicial Nominees Evalua-tion (JNE) Com-mission.

Nissen came aboard as the State Bar's executive director last November, replacing longtime director Herbert Rosenthal.

Previously, Nissen was executive director and general counsel of Public Counsel Law Center.

During his tenure at Public Counsel, staff and volunteers contributed more than $200 million worth of legal services to 80,000-plus children, low-income adults and non-profit organizations in Los Angeles County.

Also honored by Public Counsel for their pro bono efforts were Mattel Inc., the law firm of Sidley & Austin and the Greenlining Institute, a public policy center.