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Peter J. Nickles
Appointment as General Counsel to the Mayor
November 10, 2006




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Peter J. Nickles
General Counsel 

Peter J. Nickles will join the Fenty Administration and serve as general counsel to the mayor, bringing decades of expertise in pubic service law.

An attorney since 1964, today, Nickles is a senior litigation partner at Covington and Burling. Throughout his career, he untiringly fought for the rights of poor and disadvantaged persons through social, institutional and political reform. Nickles' commitment to public service dates back to his early days as a lawyer when he was counsel to the Jackson State Force and the Kent State Force, reporting to the Scranton Commission on Campus Unrest from 1968-1970. From 1970-1975, he co-chaired Covington's program at Neighborhood Legal Services Program (NLSP) in Washington, DC. And from 1980-1992, he served as an adjunct professor at Howard University.

Protecting the rights of the District's most marginalized citizens is what Nickles is most passionate about. As class counsel in Dixon v. Barry, filed in 1974, he helped secure significant relief for thousands of homeless and mentally retarded residents of the District of Columbia. This case, which required nearly 30 years of litigation, resulted in the creation of community-based services for persons with mental illness.

With an abiding interest in the rights of prisoners, Nickles, in Twelve John Does v. District of Columbia and in John Doe v. District of Columbia, was appointed by the United States District Court to represent all of the prisoners confined to the District of Columbia's Central and Maximum Security Facilities regarding a plethora of unconstitutional conditions. In Inmates of the Modular Facility v. District of Columbia, he skillfully negotiated an effective Consent Decree designed to cure constitutional deficiencies in security, health care, sanitation, and fire safety. In Women Prisoners v. District of Columbia, a class-action litigation brought on behalf of the District's women prisoners, he won an injunction requiring the District of Columbia to provide adequate reproductive health care, to take steps to prevent sexual abuse, harassment and other relief. Under his leadership, these cases have been instrumental in reducing violence, alleviating overcrowding and improving Medicaid and mental health services for prisoners in the District of Columbia.

When the Washingtonian named Nickles one of Washington's 50 Best Lawyers, the magazine wrote: "What distinguishes Nickles from other corporate lawyers is that he probably gives away more hours to good causes than anyone in town." He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney's fees to charity.

For his unrelenting years of public service, the District of Columbia Bar Association presented Nickles with the Pro Bono Service Award in May 1998.

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