Kenneth W. Babcock
Executive Director and General Counsel
In his 13 years as head of the Public Law Center, Ken has significantly expanded PLC so that many more of Orange County’s low-income residents are receiving pro bono legal assistance. Ken is responsible for PLC’s overall leadership, direction and financial health. Among other things, he has expanded PLC’s services, grown PLC’s staff and developed new programs including courthouse based clinics as well as projects to serve immigrant victims of crime, the homeless and local non-profit organizations.
Involvement in bench and bar activities has played a significant role in Ken’s professional life. As a member of the California Commission on Access to Justice (2006-12), he served as vice-chair of the Commission (2009-11) and co-chair of the Commission’s Funding Committee (2007-12). In 1999, Ken was appointed by California Chief Justice Ronald M. George to the California Judicial Council’s Civil & Small Claims Advisory Committee, where he served until 2004. In addition, he has been a member of other Judicial Council committees, Chair of the Aranda Access to Justice Award Selection Committee, Chair of the State Bar’s Legal Services Section and Co-Chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Committee.
Ken has received numerous awards for his work, including the Dorsey Award from the American Bar Association’s Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division (2010); Attorney of the Year Award from the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County (2009), the Bernard E. Witkin Amicus Curiae Award from the Judicial Council of California (2008), the Marcus M. Kaufmann Jurisprudence Award from the Anti-Defamation League Orange County/Long Beach (2007) and the Legal Services Provider of the Year Award from the California Bench-Bar Coalition (2007). He was also named Distinguished Alumni of the Year by the U.C. Davis School of Law (2001). In 2003 and again in 2008, he was named by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers in California.
Prior to joining PLC in September 2000, Ken was the Director of Litigation & Advocacy at Public Counsel in Los Angeles (1998-2000) and the Directing Attorney of Public Counsel's Consumer Law Project (1989-98). Before joining Public Counsel, he was a litigator in a large law firm and then a small law firm.
Ken is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara (B.A. with highest honors, Political Science 1978) and the University of California, Davis (J.D. 1981).