The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) and the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) mourn the loss of Jeff Adachi, Public Defender of the City and County of San Francisco. We all shared a long-standing commitment to quality representation for the poor, underrepresented and disenfranchised population of the City.
“Jeff was unapologetic in his fight for fairness and criminal justice reform. I liked that about him.” says Yolanda Jackson, BASF/JDC Executive Director. “I have worked closely with Jeff on various projects since I came to BASF in 2007. We admire his devotion to public service and his willingness to engage for the good of our community. San Francisco has lost a legal giant who always protected the rights of the underserved. Jeff always found time to mentor and create opportunities for new lawyers and law students. He has truly paid it forward. There will be a void in our legal leadership in San Francisco.”
Doris Cheng, President of BASF/JDC, comments, “We have lost a true guardian of justice for the indigent population in San Francisco. Where the fashion of the world is frequently to avoid conflict, Jeff fearlessly came on to meet it time and time again. He fought for the rights of the unpopular and condemned, and with such conviction that you never doubted his resolve. We were fortunate to have him as a role model in the Asian American legal community, but in the bigger picture, he set a high standard for lawyers everywhere.”
Jeff Adachi was a member of the BASF Board of Directors from 2000-2001. Starting in 2003, BASF and the Public Defender’s Office partnered to provide quality legal representation to indigent clients. Through BASF’s Indigent Defense Administration program, criminal defense practitioners represent indigent minors and adults for whom the Public Defender has a conflict of interest. This partnership began when the Superior Court, BASF, and Public Defender Jeff Adachi reached a Memorandum of Understanding with the mayor and Board of Supervisors, directing BASF to undertake new administrative and fiscal responsibilities connected with conflict cases.
Jeff Adachi partnered with BASF on a number of initiatives, including funding for indigent criminal defense. He was also a member of BASF’s Marriage Fairness Taskforce. More recently, Adachi’s office participated in BASF’s Criminal Justice Taskforce since its inception in 2015, providing recommendations to the San Francisco Police Commission and the mayor’s office on important issues including body-worn police cameras.
BASF’s Court Appointment Conflicts Panel, its Criminal Justice Taskforce, and every one of our attorneys who fight daily for access to justice, criminal justice reform, equality and fairness have lost a champion and ally. Our hearts go out to his family and friends, and we mourn with the people of San Francisco.
A candlelight vigil and march take place Wednesday, February 27, 7-9 p.m., starting at the Public Defender’s Office at 555 7th Street in San Francisco. More information here.
The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF) is a nonprofit voluntary membership organization of attorneys, law students, and legal professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Founded in 1872, BASF enjoys the support of more than 7,500 individuals, law firms, corporate legal departments, and law schools. Through its board of directors, its committees, and its volunteer legal services programs and other community efforts, BASF has worked actively to promote and achieve equal justice for all and oppose discrimination in all its forms, including, but not limited to, discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and sexual orientation. BASF provides a collective voice for public advocacy, advances professional growth and education, and attempts to elevate the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law.
The Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) advances fairness and equality by providing pro bono legal services to low-income people and educational programs that foster diversity in the legal profession. JDC is the largest legal services providers in San Francisco. JDC’s primary purpose is the delivery of free legal services to low-income San Franciscans, as well as the non-profits that serve them. JDC delivers free legal services through its Legal Services Programs division, which consists of the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Homeless Advocacy Project, and the Immigration Program. JDC provides enrichment programs to diverse youth and young adults through its Diversity Educational Programs. JDC’s programs serve approximately 9,500 disadvantaged San Franciscans a year, with the overarching goal of assisting the community’s most vulnerable members with accessing the judicial system and strengthening their personal, professional, and economic security.