Mónica Ramírez Almadani is hoping to leverage her personal and professional experience when she becomes Public Counsel’s next president and CEO on June 1.
“I grew up in southeast Los Angeles and so I understand firsthand what it’s like to be from a working class community, an immigrant community, in Los Angeles,” Almadani said in a phone interview Thursday. “That’s a very important part of my background and my perspective, which I will be bringing into this job ... and that’s really where my commitment to social justice comes from.”
“I’m really proud to assume a role where I’ll be working directly to help communities like the community I grew up in,” she explained.
The pro bono law firm shared the news of Almadani ’s appointment Wednesday. She will replace Margaret Morrow, who announced her departure in December, effective June 1.
“As I pass the torch to the next leader of this great organization, I am thrilled to know that Public Counsel will be in such good hands,” Morrow said in a statement. “I am confident that under Mónica’s leadership, the organization will continue to thrive and grow ever stronger, as it fights for underserved communities and communities of color, and strives to bring justice, hope and opportunity to people across Los Angeles and the nation.”
Morrow said she looks forward to pausing to reflect and relax before deciding her next step after 47 years working nonstop.
“While I know I will continue my professional career in some form, I’m going to take some time to decide what opportunity I will pursue,” she said in an email Thursday. “For the next two months, moreover, I’m going to be focusing on ensuring a smooth transition and handoff.”
For Almadani, succeeding Morrow, a former federal judge and leader in the community, is something she is very proud of, she said.
Almadani comes from a diverse professional background that has included time in the nonprofit, private, academic and government sectors. She is a clinical professor of law and co-director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic at UC Irvine. Before joining the law faculty in 2019, she was a special counsel handling white collar defense and commercial litigation at Covington & Burling LLP.
She has been a special assistant attorney general in California; deputy chief of staff and senior counselor to former deputy attorney general James M. Cole; an assistant U.S. attorney in Los Angeles; and a staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California.
“The reason I applied for the position is because of the diverse experience I’ve had as a lawyer and the strong belief that I could leverage all of those skills and experiences to help lead the organization during this critical time,” she said. “I too felt a very strong desire to give back and to give back more directly.”