Public Law

Public Law Journal: Fall 2015, Vol. 38, No. 4

Barbara Parker Honored as the 2015 Public Lawyer of the Year

Oakland City Attorney and Public Lawyer of the Year Award Recipient Barbara Parker with the Hon. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Photo credit: Howard Watkins.

The Public Law Section honored Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker as the 2015 Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year at an award reception at the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in Anaheim on October 9, 2015. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye presented the award. The award is named after her predecessor on the California Supreme Court.

Ms. Parker is a native of Seattle, Washington, where her parents migrated to escape the brutalities of legalized oppression and sharecropping in the rural, segregated South. Family experiences during segregation, her parents’ fierce commitment to education and their struggles as union workers ignited Ms. Parker’s determination to strive for equal opportunity and equal rights for all. Ms. Parker earned an undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Washington, and she was one of the very few African American women accepted at Harvard Law School in the early 1970s. She graduated from Harvard in 1975 determined to use the law as a tool to help underrepresented communities.

In an award-winning legal career spanning almost four decades, Ms. Parker has developed extensive expertise as an attorney at all levels of government—federal, state and local—including more than five years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California. As an Assistant US Attorney, she represented the United States in federal court litigation involving complex policy matters. Ms. Parker also has worked in the private sector for several major law firms and corporations.

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