Public Defender Jeff Adachi Receives California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award

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San Francisco, CA – Public Defender Jeff Adachi has been named a recipient of the 2007 California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY) Award. California Lawyer magazine will recognize Public Defender Adachi for the impact of his work in the field of prisoner reentry. The recipients of the CLAY Awards are featured in the March 2008 issue of California Lawyer.

In 2007, Public Defender Adachi led the San Francisco Safe Communities Reentry Council, a collaborative of over 50 government agencies, community and faith-based organizations and individuals committed to providing effective reentry services to formerly incarcerated people. Under Adachi’s leadership, the Council obtained over $2 million in local and state funding, helped to design and launch several programs to help former prisoners obtain housing and employment, and contributed to the creation of a comprehensive guide of reentry services that is distributed throughout jails and prisons.

Public Defender Adachi also established a Reentry Unit within the Public Defender’s Office. The Reentry Unit is comprised of 10 social workers who provide employment, education, substance abuse and housing to adults and juveniles recently released from confinement. To date, the Reentry Unit has helped over 400 people turn their lives around. The Reentry Unit is the only one of its kind in a Public Defender’s Office in the country.

Public Defender Adachi also expanded the Clean Slate Program, which helps ex-offenders clear their criminal records. The Clean Slate Program currently has four satellite offices in the community and annually assists over 2,000 people in overcoming obstacles to employment and education.

“I am very honored and humbled to receive the CLAY award, which I accept on behalf of the dedicated attorneys and staff of the Public Defender’s Office who work to provide the very highest level of legal representation possible,” Adachi said.

California Lawyer magazine named 34 attorneys from around the state to receive the twelfth annual CLAY Awards. Recipients are recognized for achievements that had a significant impact in 2007 and which are expected to have such an effect in the coming years.

The mission of the Public Defender’s office is to provide vigorous, effective, competent and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. Established in 1921, the San Francisco Public Defender has a long, proud history of providing top-notch representation to its clients, and championing programs that help people turn their lives around.

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