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Legal Aid Remembers our Heroes
Founder, Edward Friend, Jr.
Everyone remembers the heroism displayed on September 11, 2001, and the months following, and when September rolls around every year, Legal Aid also remembers our own heroes.
One such hero is our founder, the late General Edward Friend, whose framed photographic portrait overlooks our reception area. A native son of Birmingham and a decorated World War II veteran, he returned to his home city and practiced law with the firm of Sirote, Permutt, Friend, Friedman, Held & Apolinsky (now Sirote Permutt). He worked to persuade the members of the Birmingham Bar Association to form the Legal Aid Society of Birmingham, and in 1952 was one of our incorporators. We are eternally dedicated to his memory.
Another of our heroes is the late Michael D. Freeman, a lawyer with the Balch, Bingham firm, whose talent and energy led him to leadership in the Birmingham Bar Association. Mike’s death in January 2014 was a blow to Legal Aid, where he served as a Board member, but also to the legal community as a whole. Mike was the person most responsible for the annual Bocce Ball Tournament fundraiser that benefits Legal Aid, and we have dedicated our new conference room at the Bar Center in his memory. We miss his presence and love of life.
Another star fell from the sky within the same month when Susan Bevill Livingston, also a lawyer with the Balch, Bingham firm, met a sudden and unexpected death. At the time Susan served on the Legal Aid Board as its Secretary-Treasurer and head of the Finance Committee. During her tenure in that position, Legal Aid established sound financial policies and significantly reduced our banking costs. She was a dedicated civic leader in many organizations, including the Girl Scouts, where her love of the outdoors endeared her to and inspired many young women. Every task she undertook showed her care and attention to detail and revealed a rare sense of compassion and skill. We will long remember her warm smile and winning personality.