Honoring Judge Nancy L. Davis
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Nancy L. Davis began her career fighting for social justice before she had even graduated from Stanford University with her A.B. degree in the ‘60s. The summer after her freshman year, she went to Sunflower Co., Mississippi, where she organized the voter registration of disenfranchised African Americans.
After earning her J.D. from Berkeley Law in 1972, she and two fellow law school graduates founded Equal Rights Advocates, Inc. Their mission sought to promote and ensure women’s equality and justice under the law and to educate law students and the legal profession about issues of sex-based discrimination. During her twenty years of leadership at Equal Rights Advocates, they litigated seminal cases in many areas, including sexual harassment, pay equity, employment rights of immigrant women, pregnancy discrimination, athletics, and workplace safety.
In 2002, Judge Davis was elected to the San Francisco Superior Court, where she spent more than half of her almost 15-year tenure with the Unified Family Court, working with children and families who appeared in the dependency and delinquency courts. Judge Davis is known for her commitment and dedication to making the best possible decisions for San Francisco’s most vulnerable children and has been a passionate voice for CASA. She has sworn in hundreds of CASA volunteers, helped to train new advocates, welcomed them into the courtroom, and consistently acknowledged the singular contributions of CASAs to the lives of the children with whom they work.
In 2014, Judge Davis approached CASA executive director Renee Espinoza to explore the possibility of SFCASA partnering with the SF Unified Family Court in providing CASAs to children appearing in the delinquency court and in applying for/sponsoring a courthouse facilities dog to appear in dependency court to provide support to children and parents. Thanks to Judge Davis’ leadership and impassioned advocacy, the first CASAs to work with the delinquency court are now awaiting their first cases and, in August, SFCASA’s courthouse facilities dog Nemo was administered his oath of office by Judge Davis, one of her last official acts before retiring from the court. She continues to be one of Nemo’s favorite humans!
Judge Davis is a recipient of the Berkeley Law Trailblazer for Justice Award (2012), Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom Legal Service Award (1996), the American Bar Association Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award (1994), the California Women Lawyers’ Fay Stender Award (1993), recognizing the woman lawyer whose legal career demonstrates “tenacity, creativity, a compelling sense of justice, commitment, and integrity;” the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Legal Services Award (1994) and the Berkeley Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award (1994). She has taught law at Stanford, University of San Francisco, Golden Gate University, and the University of Santa Clara.
SFCASA’s board of directors and staff are thrilled to have this opportunity to honor Judge Davis for her passionate commitment to San Francisco’s children and families. Please join us!