Past Presidents Reflect

The Latest Essays and Videos from our Past Presidents


Fred W. Alvarez, 2000

Reflections on BASF in the Year 2000

I am optimistic about the future of BASF when I think about the many ways that our members of yesterday found, and our members of today are finding, to serve our community, and to fight The Good Fight. That’s what BASF does in 2022. It’s what we did in 2000. Read more.


Raymond C. Marshall, 1994

Pushing the Bar, Building a Profession that is Welcoming to All

It was an honor and privilege to serve as President of the Bar Association of San Francisco. I looked forward to the occasion and the opportunities it presented. The year was 1994, and I was fully cognizant that I would be the first Black President in BASF’s history. Read more.


Jerome B. Falk, Jr., 1985

Oh, For It To Be 1985 Again!

More than 37 years ago I stood at the podium of the Hyatt Regency ballroom and told the assembled lawyers and friends that as BASF’s new President, I would lead the Association to support the retention of Chief Justice Rose Bird, Justice Joe Grodin and Justice Cruz Reynoso against a campaign to terminate their tenure on the Supreme Court of California. Read more.

History of the Justice & Diversity Center

In the late 1970s, BASF leaders understood that too many people in San Francisco lacked legal representation and access to justice, and that existing programs didn’t have the resources, or the capacity, to meet all the legal needs of San Francisco’s underserved communities.

By mobilizing and leveraging the power of the private bar, BASF launched the Volunteer Legal Services Program, an effort that has since grown into the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC), an organization that provides over $20 million of legal services with the help of 1,300+ volunteers who contribute more than 40,000 hours of service each year. Below is an interactive timeline of milestones in the organization's history.

Featured this Month

New additions to the timeline and other highlights from our publications.


Twenty-five years ago, Hon. Jeffrey Ross, 1997 BASF President, founded the Law Academy program. Read the article from the Summer 2022 San Francisco Attorney magazine (opens in a new tab.)


In 1991, BASF released the film A Firm Commitment, produced and directed by Abby Ginzberg, with BASF Executive Director Dru Ramey as Executive Producer. The goal was to start conversations around the hiring and retention of minority counsel, and to increase commitments to BASF's Goals and Timetables for Minority Hiring and Advancement. Read more, and watch the film, on our interactive timeline (opens in a new tab.)

From the Archives

<mark><small>shot in 1998, not sure who the woman is</small></mark>

2022 Article by Kathleen Guthrie Woods

Lauding Law Academy’s 25 Years of Success

Law Academy, a partnership between the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and its Justice and Diversity Center (JDC) and the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), was introduced at Mission High School in 1997 and expanded to Balboa High School two years later. Read more.


April 27, 2022

BASF Celebrates 150th Anniversary

BASF past presidents, board members, state and city officials, congregated for one of the first in-person events held on the patio at our new offices. Mayor London N. Breed presented a proclamation to Yolanda Jackson, declaring it "The Bar Association of San Francisco Day" in the City.


2022 article by Glenn Bugos

When it All Started

The early records of the Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF), like most paper in San Francisco, were destroyed in the great earthquake and fire of April 1906. BASF today holds 37 boxes of archives, though none from its first 34 years of 1872 to 1906. Read more.


Join the celebration

Visit the History Archive

Throughout this year, we are adding historical documents and articles to the newly created history archive in our online documents library.

Visit the Archive

Share a Memory

We'd love to hear from you. If you have a story, article, or historical photo related to San Francisco legal history, we'd love to hear from you.

Complete the online form

Contact us by email