The University of Southern California Gould School of Law has received a generous $2 million estate gift from Pasadena resident Barbara Bice, an educator, philanthropist and community leader, to support the work of the school’s Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF), one of the nation’s oldest student organizations in the area of public interest law.
The endowment enhances USC Gould’s commitment to encourage the pursuit of public interest legal careers and advances PILF’s more than 30-year legacy of helping underserved and vulnerable groups, USC said in a statement. In recognition of the gift, PILF is now renamed The Barbara F. Bice Public Interest Law Foundation.
Bice said she considers providing an endowment to support the PILF summer public interest internships a “unique opportunity.”
“First, it recognizes the great contributions the student-founders, subsequent student leadership and grant recipients have made to public interest work over many years. Second, the endowment supports Gould’s commitment to law in the public interest. Third, it furthers opportunities for students to experience first-hand the importance of public interest work,” she said. “Through these internships, students gain appreciation for the important assistance that they provide to underserved populations. Finally, the gift expands the important benefits the host organizations make to the public good.”
USC Gould Dean Andrew T. Guzman said the gift has meaningful implications for USC students, not only while they are in school, but also beyond their time at the university.
“Public interest experiences have the potential to shape our students’ legal careers — and the power to transform the lives of the people and families we all serve,” Guzman said. “I am enormously thankful to Barbara for this investment in our students and the positive impact that they make. We are pleased to rename the organization in her honor.”
The gift is one of many examples of Bice’s commitment to PILF, which was co-founded in 1987 by Gould alumni Karen Lash, Stan Glickman, Lisa Mead, Jeff Hayden, and Patti Freeman Gish.
“Mrs. Bice has dedicated her life to philanthropy and education efforts across Los Angeles County, but especially in the case of Gould students,” Mirelle Raza, current president of PILF, said. “For over 30 years she has guided PILF with an unmatched ability to be both a warm mentor and a fierce advocate for public interest initiatives. Mrs. Bice has been an integral part of PILF victories for over three decades. I cannot imagine a more perfect namesake for the Public Interest Law Foundation than Barbara Bice.”
PILF, one of the largest student organizations at Gould, funds summer grants for students pursuing public interest law careers and organizes pro bono clinic opportunities during the school year. Students work to obtain legal relief for people who are homeless, children who were abused, low-income working families, undocumented immigrants and refugees and other vulnerable populations.
PILF’s community partners include the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA), Veterans Legal Institute, and Bet Tzedek.
Barbara Franks Bice is a former educator with the San Marino Unified School District where, during her 20-year tenure, she was an AP English teacher, founding director of the Career Education Program and the Career Center at the high school, and served as the founding executive director of the San Marino Schools Foundation. She served on the Board of Trustees for Scripps College for 13 years and has served on boards of The Sycamores and the San Marino Chamber of Commerce. She also was an advisory board member with USC Gould School of Law where her husband, Scott Bice, an alumnus, has taught for more than 50 years and served as dean from 1980 to 2000.
Bice and her husband both served as board members of LA Family Housing and Queens Care Health Alliance. She served on the board of directors of the Western Justice Center and holds a certificate in mediation from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
During the World Cup in 1994, Bice was the director of volunteer services and with and her team of 2,000 volunteers served the needs of attendees from around the world for the seven soccer games held at the Rose Bowl.
She was the first woman member of the San Marino Rotary Club, where she is still an active member. She currently serves as a founding board chair of True Connection, which promotes social awareness and provides emotional intelligence education to children and adults. Her hobbies include boating, conversational Spanish, photography and travel.