Press-Telegram columnist Bill Hillburg has been elected president of the Legal Aid Foundation of Long Beach, the first leader in the organization's 37-year history who is not an attorney.
Hillburg, who writes the newspaper's "Beachcomber" column three days a week, was unanimously elected to lead the organization that provides legal assistance in civil matters to the city's poor.
"I think it will provide a new perspective to the organization. I am looking forward to the year," executive director Toby J. Rothschild said.
Hillburg is the only director on the 21-member board who represents the community at large; 13 members are lawyers and seven are clients. While staff attorneys decide which cases to accept and how to proceed with them, the board of directors sets legal policy and handles funding issues, Rothschild said.
Hillburg was a high school teacher and coach before he became a reporter. He has worked for the Press-Telegram since 1979 and became a member of the Legal Aid Foundation board last year.