The UC Irvine School of Law is pleased to announce the naming of its accomplished Pro Bono Program in recognition of a generous gift from Michael G. Ermer, Partner Emeritus at Irell & Manella LLP. The program will now be known as the Michael G. Ermer Pro Bono Program, in tribute to Ermer’s dedication to public service and his significant contributions and long support of the school’s public service law programs.
“I am proud and honored to join with UCI Law to support its strong commitment to pro bono work. It is my hope that this endowment will help encourage more young attorneys to include pro bono work as an important part of their careers,” said Michael G. Ermer, Partner Emeritus at Irell & Manella LLP.
“We are immensely grateful for Mike’s generosity, his dedication to public service, and his help in empowering students who wish to give back and make a difference for those most in need,” said School of Law Dean Austen L. Parrish. “His efforts to bridge the access-to-justice gap, particularly for low-income Californians, align perfectly with our mission, and we are proud to have his name associated with our program.”
The pro bono program embodies the law school’s commitment to public service and experiential learning. Open to all UCI law students, the program provides students an opportunity to offer legal services to underserved communities under the guidance and supervision of licensed attorneys and faculty members. Since its inception in 2009, UCI law students have collectively contributed over 150,000 hours of pro bono work. More than 90 percent of students actively participate in pro bono work at some point during their time at the law school — with over 100 pro bono projects available each semester — providing crucial assistance to underserved individuals.
The law school has one of the most robust pro bono programs in the country. The last time it published its “Public Service Honor Roll,” National Jurist magazine ranked the school third in the country among all law schools in community service hours per student. The Michael G. Ermer Pro Bono program also serves as a stepping stone for law graduates, who have successfully transitioned into post-graduate paid positions as a direct result of their leadership roles in student pro bono projects.
Long-time School of Law Supporter Michael G. Ermer
A highly regarded litigator in Orange County, Michael G. Ermer is a partner emeritus and former managing partner of the Newport Beach office of Irell & Manella LLP. His practice focuses on complex business cases, including intellectual property litigation, trade secret litigation, insurance litigation and securities litigation. Ermer is a recipient of numerous accolades and was most recently named “Litigation – Intellectual Property Lawyer of the Year” by The Best Lawyers in America for 2023.
Central to Ermer’s career is his dedication to pro bono work and the local community. In addition to maintaining an active pro bono practice, Ermer co-chairs Irell & Manella’s Pro Bono Committee. Under his leadership, Irell revamped its pro bono program and was recognized with numerous awards, including the California State Bar President’s Pro Bono Award, the Century City Bar Association Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award, and the Public Law Center Law Firm of the Year Award, among others. The UCI Law Pro Bono Program honored Irell with the Community Partner of the Year award in 2014 thanks to the firm’s efforts to create multiple pro bono projects supporting UCI law students. The law school has offered a pro bono project for students to work with Irell attorneys on pro bono litigation almost every semester for more than a decade.
Ermer has been a steadfast supporter of UCI School of Law. In 2019, he joined its Board of Visitors and played a pivotal role in facilitating collaboration between the school and Irell & Manella on various pro bono initiatives, including the law school’s bankruptcy application project, a popular project that helped numerous individuals file bankruptcy applications. Ermer’s commitment to public service and helping those most in need, at one of Orange County’s premier law firms, makes him an exceptional choice to have the School of Law’s Pro Bono Program bear his name.