SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 26, 2019) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement today on the passing away of Burk “Buck” Delventhal. Delventhal was a civic giant, working for nearly 50 years in the City Attorney’s Office serving the people of San Francisco:
“San Francisco lost a piece of its heart today. Buck Delventhal was not just the oracle of the City Charter, a highly accomplished courtroom attorney, and the go-to person for tough legal questions. Buck was a beacon. He was a beacon of inspiration, trust, and boundless optimism. He was a legal lion and an even better person. Over nearly 50 years at the City Attorney’s Office, he quietly helped millions of San Franciscans in countless ways, even though they probably didn’t know he was the one to thank. Buck wouldn’t have had it any other way. City Hall – and San Francisco – will never be the same without him.”
Delventhal shaped both history and the future through groundbreaking work over nearly 50 years at the City Attorney’s Office, where he played a role in nearly every civic and legal issue facing San Francisco during that time. Here is the message that City Attorney Herrera sent to his staff to let them know their beloved colleague had passed away:
Buck Delventhal was known to his friends and colleagues as a pillar of San Francisco and City Hall. His career—spanning five decades—reflected his dedication to serving the City and its residents. Delventhal, who had led City Attorney’s Government Team since its formation in the late 1970s, advised 10 mayors and countless other elected officials, department heads, commissions and boards. He worked on almost every major case that touched San Francisco in his tenure, arguing numerous landmark cases on San Francisco’s behalf before the California Supreme Court, California Courts of Appeal, and the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
During Delventhal’s career he won many accolades for his impact on and passion for municipal law. He was recognized as one of Northern California’s “Super Lawyers” by Law & Politics Magazine, as the California State Bar’s Public Lawyer of 2013 and was honored with the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Charles S. Rhyne Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization’s highest and rarest honor. Additionally, he taught at the University of California, Hastings where he is remembered for his kindness and commitment to students.
Following his death, Delventhal has continued to receive honors. In March of 2020 he was awarded the James B. Lindholm, Jr. Legacy Award from the County Counsels’ Association of California, its highest honor. San Francisco has also honored Delventhal posthumously, naming its City Hall second floor rotunda for him. The Buck Delventhal Rotunda will commemorate his dedication to San Francisco over the course of his work at the City Attorney’s Office.
On June 16, 2020, what would have been Delventhal’s 50th anniversary at the City Attorney’s Office, Herrera sent the following message to staff to reflect on Delventhal’s career and lasting personal and professional impact on his colleagues.
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Buck Delventhal, 1943-2019