We are happy to announce that San Diego City Attorney and San Diego Law Library Board of Trustees President Mara Elliott has been selected as the California Lawyers Association’s 2020 Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year.

Elliott is the first San Diego City Attorney to be honored with this statewide award, which is given annually to a public sector attorney who provides outstanding service to the public, possesses an exemplary reputation in the legal community, and demonstrates the highest ethical standards. Previous Public Lawyers of the Year have included city attorneys, county counsels, deputy attorney generals, and employees of the Governor’s Office and the California Supreme Court.

“Her distinguished career demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding taxpayer dollars and protecting the rights and safety of Californians,” said Alex Calero, chair of the CLA’s Public Law Section. Elliott is recognized as a national leader in preventing gun violence, a fierce champion for consumers, workers and the environment, and a staunch protector of victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking.

“Protecting the public has been the driving motivation behind my career in public service, and I’m deeply humbled to be recognized by my peers,” San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. “It is a special honor to be the first San Diego City Attorney to be named California Public Lawyer of the Year. I share in this award with my entire team, the exceptional lawyers and staff who are dedicated to making San Diego a safe, equitable, and livable community for everyone.”

Elliott’s commitment to making San Diego equitable for all extends to her tenure on the San Diego Law Library’s Board of Trustees. She joined the law library’s Board of Trustees in 2015 and became the President of the Board in 2018. During that time, Elliott has constantly furthered our mission to make the law accessible to ALL of San Diego County.

Elliott was nominated by the Lawyers Club of San Diego, with letters of support from Rafael J. Hurtado, President, San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan, State Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, Heather Finlay, CEO of YWCA San Diego, and Robert Bowers Disney, National Organizing Director, Brady United Against Gun Violence.

These community leaders spoke out in favor of Elliott’s work, including her leadership in combating domestic violence and sex trafficking, preventing gun violence, protecting vulnerable members of society, and listening to all segments of the community.

“Mara is the first woman, the first Latina, and the first mom to hold the office of San Diego City Attorney,” Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez said. “[She] is as an inspiring example to others who want to serve, uplift and truly empower their communities, particularly by pursuing a career in public law.”

The Public Law Section of the California Lawyers Association began issuing the Public Lawyer of the Year award in 1998. In 2008, the award was named in honor of now-retired California Chief Justice Ronald M. George in recognition of his distinguished career dedicated to serving the public and longtime support of the Section.