PILP In Transition

Hi Friends, Colleagues and Partners of the Public Interest Law Project. We have an auspicious and exciting announcement:

Director Michael Rawson will transition to Director of Litigation and Advocacy after 26 years of leadership, vision and unrelenting commitment to economic and racial justice. Mike, a founding co-director of PILP, will continue full time focusing on impact litigation and other advocacy for systemic change with local legal services programs. On May 16, 2022, after a nationwide search, Shashi Hanuman, currently the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel’s Community Development Project, will become PILP’s Executive Director. Please join us in welcoming both to their new positions.

Mike founded and led PILP with the paramount purpose of providing California legal services attorneys with the expertise and guidance to engage in legal advocacy for societal change on behalf of lower income people and communities victimized by catastrophic discrimination, segregation, disenfranchisement, forced displacement, and denial of basic necessities, sometimes for centuries. His commitment to this vision and values remained steadfast and resulted in indelible impact and change. He has and continues to play a central role in vastly improving and ensuring tenacious enforcement of California’s Housing Element Law and several other critical laws affecting the production affordable housing outside of the market and fighting for the preservation and protection of communities in the crosshairs of displacement and gentrification. “With PILP in the trusted hands of our incomparable staff, board, and new Executive Director, I look forward to this next chapter where I can spend more of my time assisting legal aid attorneys, shaping legislation, and supporting impact litigation and advocacy across the state.”

Shashi has dedicated her career to advancing economic and racial justice using community development, advocacy, and litigation strategies. Over the course of her 21 years at Public Counsel, she supported neighborhood-based organizations engaged in building and preserving affordable housing, providing health care, and advancing economic development in some of Los Angeles’s most disinvested geographic areas. She also led the effort to build a new unit at Public Counsel focusing on breaking down barriers to affordable and supportive housing, protecting tenants, and preserving community assets. Shashi has also supported a growing community lawyering team, helped expand Public Counsel’s services to small and micro-businesses across Los Angeles County, and brings significant expertise in nonprofit management, fundraising, leadership development, and advancing affirmative housing litigation and advocacy strategies. “I’m incredibly honored that the staff and board have entrusted me with this position of service to lower income communities of color, and I am confident that the core values of stewardship, humility, and compassion that I have so admired in Mike over the years will guide me as they guided Mike.


I ask that you join me in celebrating Mike, and in welcoming Shashi. The board of directors, staff, and I are confident and excited about the changes to come, and invite you to join us on this exciting journey.

William Hebert
President of the Board of Directors

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