Deputy City Attorney Christine Van Aken named to Daily Journal’s prestigious ’20-Under-40′ list

Recognition among California’s top young lawyers brings to three the number so honored in the S.F. City Attorney’s Office in last decade

SAN FRANCISCO (Jan. 18, 2012) — Deputy City Attorney Christine Van Aken was named to the list of California’s “Top 20 Lawyers Under 40” by the Daily Journal, the state’s largest circulation legal newspaper, which today published its list in daily editions in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Selected from among more than 400 nominations statewide, the prestigious annual compilation represents “the best and brightest in the legal industry,” according to the Daily Journal’s editors. Van Aken was one of only two public sector attorneys to be so honored.

Today’s “Top 20 Lawyers Under 40” supplement in the Daily Journal cites Van Aken’s work as the principal drafter of the office’s appellate briefs in the federal challenge to Proposition 8, the controversial 2008 ballot measure that eliminated marriage rights for same-sex couples in 2008. That case is the latest iteration of the office’s eight-year legal battle for marriage equality. Also noted in today’s publication were Van Aken’s work to secure a $5 million settlement with a Bank of America credit card subsidiary; a $1 million settlement with one of the nation’s largest credit card arbitrators; and a $14 million settlement by payday lender chain, Money Mart, to reimburse consumers for unlawful interest charges and forgive consumer debts.

“We’re very happy to see one of the state’s major legal newspapers recognize something we’ve known for some time here in the City Attorney’s Office: that Christine Van Aken does an outstanding job for the San Franciscans we work hard to serve every day,” Herrera said. “Christine makes enormous contributions to the important work done by all the legal professionals in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office — to protect consumers and taxpayers, to expand civil rights, and to fight fraud and abuse. I’m very proud of all the employees in my office, and I congratulate Christine on her well deserved honor.”

The recognition brings to three the number of deputy city attorneys to make the list in recent years. Previous honorees in the last decade were Vince Chhabria, a government litigator who was recognized in 2008, and City Attorney Dennis Herrera, during his first year in office. Van Aken and Chhabria are two of the four former current deputy city attorneys who have clerked for U.S. Supreme Court justices. After being named to the list 2002, Herrera went on to be recognized five times as one of the Daily Journal’s top 100 lawyers in California.