2013 Public Lawyer of the Year: Burk E. Delventhal

The Public Law Section of the California State Bar is pleased to present Burk E. Delventhal the 2013 Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year Award. This prestigious award, which is named for retired California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M George, recognizes exceptional attorneys who have shown outstanding service and have dedicated their
careers to the public.

Known to his family, friends and colleagues as “Buck,” he joined the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office directly out of law school in 1970 and has served the City and County of San Francisco for more than 43 years. Buck has led the Government Team at City Attorney’s Office since the formation of that Division in the late 1970s. During the course of his long and distinguished career, Buck has argued landmark cases in the California Supreme Court, California courts of appeal, and the Ninth Circuit, and has been an attorney of record in over 100 appellate cases. In addition to his work on the City Attorney’s Government Team, Buck has been active with the State’s City Attorney and County Counsel associations, and has served as a member of the League of California Cities Legal Advocacy Committee for over three decades, as well as being on the Legal Oversight Committee of the County Counsels’ Association.

Not only has Buck been named the 2013 Public Lawyer of the Year, this year the International Municipal Lawyer Association (IMLA) will recognize his good work by awarding him the Charles S. Rhyne Lifetime Achievement Award. This prestigious award is the highest honor given by that organization. According to IMLA’s standards for the Award, it is not to be bestowed on a regular basis, but instead is a recognition bestowed only occasionally and then only upon a truly uncommon individual.

Buck received his B.A.in International Relations from UC Davis in 1965 and his J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law in 1969. In addition to mentoring attorneys in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office, he teaches classes in Local Government Law at Hastings.

In addition to being recognized for his exceptional expertise in municipal law, Buck is known for his daily dips in the San Francisco Bay, at Aquatic Park, where he has been swimming since 1978 as a member of the city’s famous South End Rowing Club. Buck and his wife spend weekends in Bolinas. His son, Ivan, followed him into the legal profession, graduating from UC Hastings in 2008. Ivan works at Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP in San Francisco, also focusing on public agency law.