May 1: The Quest for Diversity in the San Francisco Fire Department

Equal Justice Society President Eva Paterson will be one of the speakers at a special event on May 1 discussing the landmark lawsuit in the 1980s that led to the desegregation of the San Francisco Fire Department.

The San Francisco Fire Department hired no black firefighters before 1955, allowed no women to apply before 1976, and hired no women firefighters until late 1987. Today, the uniformed force includes approximately fifty percent minorities and fifteen percent women — and is led by a female Chief.

This event sponsored by the Northern District Court Historical Society will share the story behind this dramatic shift in the number of women and people of color in the SFFD, featuring The Honorable Marilyn Hall Patel in conversation with the lawyers and firefighters who helped forge the pathway to diversity.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
4:30-6:00 p.m. (Allow time to go through security; be sure to have ID.)
Federal Building Ceremonial Courtroom
450 Golden Gate Avenue, 19th Floor, San Francisco
Tickets online here. Admission is free to the general public; $20 for Historical Society members seeking MCLE credit; and $45 for non-members seeking MCLE credit.

This is a joint program with the Northern District Practice Program (an approved provider of the State Bar of California), and attendance earns 1.5 hours of elimination of bias MCLE.


Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel (Ret.)
Chief Judge Emerita, Northern District of California


Robert L. Demmons
Chief, San Francisco Fire Department, 1996-2000

Joanne M. Hayes-White
Chief, San Francisco Fire Department, 2004-present

Shauna I. Marshall
Honorable Raymond L. Sullivan Professor of Law, UC Hastings

William McNeill, III
Managing Attorney,
Legal Aid Society of San Francisco – Employment Law Center

Tamar Pachter
Supervising Deputy Attorney General,
California Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General

Eva Jefferson Paterson
President and Co-Founder, Equal Justice Society

Louise Renne
Founding Partner, Renne Public Law Group