“Chiu becomes first Asian American to lead the City Attorney’s Office after being appointed by Mayor London Breed”
SAN FRANCISCO (November 1, 2021)—David Chiu was sworn in as the City Attorney of San Francisco today in a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. Chiu was appointed to the position by Mayor London N. Breed after it was announced that former City Attorney Dennis Herrera would vacate the position to become the General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
“Serving as San Francisco’s City Attorney is an incredible honor,” said City Attorney David Chiu. “I am excited and inspired to lead such a reputable office with an impressive group of legal minds. Together, we will use the power of the law to stand up for San Franciscans and confront our city’s greatest challenges. I salute outgoing City Attorney Dennis Herrera, who accomplished so much over 20 years while leading with integrity, independence, and boldness.”
“I am proud to swear in David Chiu as San Francisco City Attorney. He has dedicated his career to serving our City and has consistently demonstrated strong leadership from his time at the Board of Supervisors through his work as an Assemblymember,” said Mayor Breed. “David’s experience fighting for San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities and advocating for equitable and just policies makes him the right person for this position.”
Since receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1995, Chiu has had a diverse set of legal experiences. He served as a civil rights attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, a criminal prosecutor with the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, Democratic Counsel to the United States Senate Constitution Subcommittee, a law clerk to Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, general counsel to a public affairs technology company, and a local and state legislator.
Most recently, Chiu was an Assemblymember in the California State Legislature representing the 17th Assembly District, which encompasses eastern San Francisco. During his seven years in the Assembly, Chiu authored 75 bills that were signed into law by the Governor. His bills addressed a wide spectrum of issues, including housing, homelessness, tenant protections, transportation, civil rights, consumer protections, education, the environment, health care, and public safety. Most notably, Chiu authored the Tenant Protection Act of 2019, which brought forth the largest expansion of tenants’ rights in California in decades.
Prior to his tenure in the Assembly, Chiu served as President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for six years. He represented District 3, which includes the city’s major tourism, retail, downtown, and wharf areas.
The San Francisco City Attorney’s office is tasked with representing the City and County of San Francisco in legal matters and providing legal counsel to city departments, boards, and commissions. The City Attorney also has the power to bring affirmative litigation on behalf of the People of California. Under Dennis Herrera’s tenure, the office became a model for public law offices across the country.
“The City Attorney’s Office is something very special to me, but I know I’m leaving it in good hands,” said former City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “David Chiu has shown he has the integrity, skill, and clarity of vision to use the power of the law to help those in need. In my view, this office is the premier public law office in the country. We have attorneys and staff who are not only highly skilled, they have the utmost integrity and a passion to help others. I’m confident David is going to build on that legacy. He is going to be a great City Attorney.”
San Francisco community leaders expressed support for Chiu as he was sworn in as City Attorney.
“I am thrilled by David Chiu’s appointment as San Francisco City Attorney,” said Brett Andrews, CEO of Positive Resource Center & Co-Chair of the Black Leadership Council. “David has been a stalwart supporter and advocate of effective HIV/AIDS and behavioral health programs that help those most in need in our beautiful city. He is a champion of racial equity, and looks at innovative ways to help end homelessness. PRC and the Black Leadership Council have been working alongside David to create policy to get those most vulnerable the help they desperately need. The City of San Francisco will benefit from his boundless energy and integrity, and we salute Mayor London Breed for making a great choice.”
“David’s tireless work to protect and expand tenant rights in California as an Assemblymember has prevented evictions and homelessness, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lupe Arreola, Executive Director of Tenants Together. “As City Attorney for San Francisco, he will continue to advocate for tenants in enforcing state and local laws, holding slumlords and evictors accountable.”
“During his time in Sacramento, David Chiu has stood by workers 100 percent of the time,” said Rudy Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO. “While we will miss his leadership there, we are looking forward to having him home. San Francisco faces many challenges, and the people expect clean government and progressive action from the Office of the City Attorney. David will restore the sacred trust of the citizens and help move our City forward.”
“David’s interfaith upbringing profoundly influenced his ethical, civil and human rights formation,” said Michael G. Pappas, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council. “Throughout his public service, David has constantly and diligently collaborated with our City’s interfaith leaders on the critical social justice causes he’s championed. This consciousness and these relationships he brings to his new call as City Attorney will serve him well as he seeks to advance right in San Francisco.”
“David Chiu’s appointment comes on the heels of a historic time for API communities, not just in San Francisco, but across the nation,” said Cally Wong, Director of the API Council of San Francisco. “He’s been one of our city’s biggest champions in the Capitol. From his work fighting for affordable housing to small businesses, David has never let up, and he’s never forgotten where he comes from. From his early years as a civil rights attorney to serving as President of the Board of Supervisors, David has amassed a unique skill set to serve in this new post. API Council stands behind our new City Attorney and offers him support and congratulations.”
Chiu is married to Candace Chen, a public interest attorney who manages a refugee foster care youth program. They live with their son, Lucas, in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood.