Inspirational Leaders Forum – Featuring Paul Freese
Jun 13, 2016

8, July, 2016 11:00am – 1:00pm
8756 Canby Avenue, Northridge, CA 91325

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Paul L. Freese, Jr. specializes in developing holistic advocacy models that integrate early intervention and prevention multi-disciplinary approaches to prevent and end poverty. He serves as Director of Litigation & Policy Advocacy for Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, one of the largest providers of holistic legal services in the country.

He served for more than 20 years with Public Counsel, another major public interest law firm, and was appointed as their first Vice President.  A member of the California State Bar since 1988, he worked as a litigation associate with the law firm of Perkins Coie until 1994 when he joined Public Counsel  as Directing Attorney of the Homelessness Prevention Law Project.

Paul serves on many committees, task forces and working groups focused upon the needs of the poor and marginalized.  These include, Special Adviser on Veterans Advocacy to the ABA Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, Chair of the ABA Coordinating Committee on Veterans Benefits and Services; Vice-Chair of the ABA Military & Veterans Health Law Task Force; Co-Chair of the ABA Working Group on Unaccompanied Minors Policy Task Force; Co-Chair of the Veterans Justice Work Group for the Governor’s Interagency Council on Veterans; and,  past Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of People Assisting The Homeless (PATH) Ventures (the affordable housing arm of PATH).

He serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Reclaim Neighborhoods L.A., the Children’s Law Center, Angels Nest,TLP, and the Human Trafficking Legal Network.   In 2012 he was asked to serve as a founding Board member for the National Trust to End Youth Homelessness.  He has served on the Advisory Committee for the Mayors Homelessness Policy Priorities; the L.A. County Transition Age Youth subcommittee for the Mental Health Services Act, the Leadership Committee of the Emancipation Planning Partnership for L.A. County, the Steering Committee for the launch of United Way’s HomeWalk, the Juvenile Court Task Force of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA), and the Executive Committee of the LACBA Individual Rights Section.

He served as Delegate for the City of Los Angeles to the Mental Health Services Act Early Intervention & Prevention Committee, as Director of LACBA’s Cold/Wet Weather Homeless Advocacy Program; two years with the L.A. Superior Court Collaborative Courts Planning Committee which was responsible for establishing the widely acclaimed Homeless Court; two years on the  Steering Committee of the Housing Roundtable for the Los Angeles County Commission for Children & Family Services; five years as Chair of the Department of Public Social Services General Relief Joint Dialogue Task Force charged with responsibility for policy improvements in the County system for delivery of General Relief, Food Stamps and health benefits to impoverished and homeless individuals throughout L.A. County.

Paul spent eight years with the Emancipation Task Force of the L.A. County Commission for Children and Families, which makes policy recommendations regarding the health and welfare of the County’s dependency and probation children; four years as an elected member of the Policy Advisory Committee of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority; five years on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness; fifteen years as an Advisory Board member for Angels Flight, a shelter for homeless and runaway youth; and two years on the Substance Abuse Steering Committee of the Department of Public Social Services and the Department of Health Services for L.A. County; three years as an appointed member of the Task Force on Law Enforcement and the Mentally Disabled which reports to the Los Angeles Police Commission on public safety issues affecting the homeless mentally ill; one year on the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council for Los Angeles County; and two years as an elected member of the Board of the Los Angeles County Emergency Food & Shelter Board.  In 2004, he was elected to Co-Chair the public interest Director of Litigation & Advocacy state-wide conference. In 2010, he was selected as an expert on legal issues affecting homeless and runaway youth for the California Homeless Youth Project.

He has received numerous awards, including  the Antonia Hernandez Public Interest Award from UCLA School of Law; the Mark Pearlman Outstanding Service Award from the California Youth Coalition, the “Courage Award” from the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness in February 2009, the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Toberman Neighborhood Center, March 2009. the “Hero of Hollywood Award” from My Friend’s Place youth services center in October 2007, and the Info Line of Los Angeles’ Community Corazones Unidos Award for “outstanding community service” in October 2005.  He has received commendations from the L.A. County Commission for Children & Family Services for his contributions to efforts to assist the health and welfare of L.A.’s disadvantaged youth and from the L.A. County Commission for Public Social Services for policy work that benefited homeless individuals.

He has extensive public speaking experience and has appeared as a guest discussing welfare reform, foster youth, and homeless issues on many documentaries and talk shows.  He has published many op-ed articles on public interest and human rights topics, including articles in both national and international press.  He was featured in the Los Angeles Daily Journal in 2002 in an article entitled, “Guardian Angel for the Poor.”  He volunteered for three years of service with the United States Army and received an Honorable Discharge in 1976. He graduated magna cum laude from St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minnesota in 1980 and is an alumnus of Loyola High School in Los Angeles.  His experience includes working as a Group Worker for DuPage County Youth Home and working with developmentally disabled adults at Little Friends, in Naperville, Illinois.  He was a Maryknoll Lay Missioner engaged in human rights work and was the first Maryknoll lay missioner to receive an appointment to a Regional Position, serving in his last year as the Justice & Peace Coordinator for the Philippine Region. He received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law in 1988 and was selected to be a commencement speaker. His other experience includes an externship with the Honorable Stephen V. Wilson, United States District Court Judge, and four years of part-time volunteer work with El Centro Legal in Santa Monica.

He is married to Dr. Denise Freese, a family physician with UCLA Medical Group, and has two sons, David and Paul Leo.