From the Office of San Francisco Public Defender
October 31, 2013
For fighting on behalf of the city’s poorest residents, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi has been honored with the Access to Justice Award, presented by the Lawyers Club of San Francisco at its 66th Annual Supreme Court Luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
Charles S. Birenbaum, past president of the Lawyers Club who currently chairs Greenburg Traurig LLC’s Northern California offices, nominated Adachi for the public defender’s innovative rehabilitative programs and his safeguarding of San Franciscans’ constitutional rights. The luncheon, an annual event since 1948, was held at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel.
“I am very fortunate,” Adachi said after accepting the award. “My job allows me to work with an incredible staff – 92 attorneys and 80 investigators, paralegals and support staff who provide legal representation and access to justice to more than 20,000 people a year who cannot afford private attorneys. The stakes are high. Every day, life and liberty hang in the balance I love my job and remain passionate about fighting for the underdog—not only my clients but my fellow public defenders across the country who work miracles on shoestring budgets.”
To increase access to justice, Adachi told attendees, public defender offices must be properly funded and programs that assist people with immigration, housing and employment law must be expanded.
In attendance were Bay Area attorneys, law students, and state Supreme Court Justices, including Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who attended the same Sacramento junior high school and high school as Adachi.
“Obviously, she studied much harder than I did,” Adachi joked. “But all of us who grew up in Sacramento are so proud of her and what she has achieved, and that she is California’s first Asian American Chief Justice.