2015 Public Lawyer of the Year: Barbara J. Parker
Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker was named the 2015 Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year by the State Bar of California’s Public Law Section.
Parker was honored at a reception in September during the State Bar’s Annual Meeting in Anaheim. The Public Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes Parker as an exceptional attorney who has dedicated a significant portion of her career to public service.
“Barbara Parker is an exemplary public lawyer and richly deserving of this award,” said Scott Dickey, chair of the Public Law Section. “Throughout her career, Ms. Parker has served the public, both as a lawyer and as a community eader. Her dedication to promoting and advancing the public interest through public law practice made her stand out among this year’s other highly-qualified nominees. The Executive Committee is proud to honor her with the 2015 Public Lawyer of the Year Award.”
Parker, an Oakland resident for more than 30 years, has been an advocate for civil rights, women’s empowerment and children’s issues. In November 2012, Oakland voters elected Parker to a 4-year term as Oakland’s second elected City Attorney. She first took office in July 2011, when a majority of the City Council appointed her to serve the remainder of the term ending in January 2013. Prior to becoming City Attorney, Parker served 20 years in the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, including more than 10 years as Chief Assistant City Attorney.
“I am delighted that the Public Law Section of the State Bar has named Barbara Parker the 2015 recipient of the Public Lawyer of the Year. Barbara has tirelessly dedicated her time, energy and outstanding legal talents to promoting the public interest, and improving the quality of life for the residents of Oakland. She truly deserves this award," said former San Francisco City Attorney Louise Renne and Partner at Renne Sloan Holtzman Sakai LLP.
In an award-winning legal career spanning nearly four decades, Parker has developed extensive expertise as an attorney at all levels of government (federal, state and local) as well as in the private sector. She began her career at the San Francisco law firm Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop), specializing in litigation and real property matters, worked in the litigation division of the law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, LLP, and practiced employment and health law in the general counsel’s office of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. Parker also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, representing the United States in federal court litigation involving complex policy matters.
Parker has also contributed to the community outside of work. In 2005, the State Bar Board of Governors selected Parker for an appointment to the prestigious State Judicial Council. She also serves as President of the Black Adoption Placement and Research Center, an organization that finds permanent, loving and supportive homes for waiting children, many of whom are in the foster care system. She is co-President of Sankofa Holistic Healing Institute (supporting holistic health and healing for cancer and depression patients) and has served as a mentor for the East Bay College Fund. Parker is a member of the Charles Houston and Alameda County Bar Associations, the Berkeley-Bay Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the League of Women Voters, the National Women’s Political Caucus, Black Women Organized for Political Action, and the Black Women Lawyers Association.