Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, January 21, 2010


Page 3


Obama Taps Local Attorney for State Justice Institute


By a MetNews Staff Writer


President Obama said yesterday he intends to nominate Hernán D. Vera, the president and chief executive officer of Public Counsel, to the Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute.

Vera is the first Latino leader of the 40-year-old civil rights organization—which is based in Los Angeles and bills itself as the nation’s largest pro bono public interest law firm—and formerly served as a commercial litigator with international law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

According to its website, the State Justice Institute was established by federal law in 1984 to support the nation’s court system through grants “to improve the quality of justice in state courts, facilitate better coordination between state and federal courts, and foster innovative, efficient solutions to common issues faced by all courts.”

Prior to joining Public Counsel in 2002, Vera specialized in class actions while with O’Melveny & Myers. He has also worked as an education staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the Central District of California.

Vera joined the State Bar in 1994 after graduating from Stanford University and the UCLA School of Law.

The State Justice Institute is a nonprofit corporation governed by an 11-member board of directors appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. By law, the president must appoint six state court judges, one state court administrator and four members of the public, no more than two of whom may be of the same political party.

The institute also has a professional staff which oversees operations, including grant management and other government relations. Its executive director, who is responsible for executive and administrative operations and serves at the pleasure of the board of directors, is also a non-voting ex officio member of the board.


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