Synanon was a self-help society formed by ex-dope addicts, ex-criminals and ex-prostitutes in 1959 and led by an ex-alcoholic named Charles Dederich. Fred Nicholas became Dederich's and Synanon's pro-bono lawyer in 1960 through Jack Roberts, a dear friend of Nicholas.

Nicholas represented Synanon in a myriad of legal problems from zoning violations, litigation and real estate acquisitions for a period of 8 years including the Synanon acquisition of the Del Mar Beach Club in Santa Monica and the Synanon ranch in Tomales Bay.

Dederich referred to Nicholas as his " Battery of Attorneys".

Nicholas severed his relationship with Synanon when the organization became militant in 1968.

Two books have been written about Synanon and Nicholas' role with the Organization, "The Tunnel Back: Synanon" by Lewis Yablonsky (1964) and "Synanon" by Guy Endore (1968).

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