Commissioner Dorothy Liu is a partner at Hanson Bridgett, where a partner served as the Ed Lee treasurer.
Dorothy LiuDorothy Liu is one of two commissioners appointed under a charter requirement for appointees "broadly representative of the general public.
However, in both cases the appointments went to attorneys, making four of the five commissioners with legal backgrounds.
Liu was appointed in April on a narrow vote by the Board of Supervisors.
Liu works for Hanson Bridgett, and since being appointed to Ethics, her firm has signed on as the local legal representative for the America's Cup, whose chair is Mark Buell, who also serves as chair of the Recreation and Park Commission.
After CitiReport contacted Liu to ask how this would be interpreted in light of her appointment to the Ethics Commission, she said that language was now removed from their web site.
Liu announced the expansion of her law firm's practice areas but also said a "fire wall" was erected that included ensuring that she derived no income from his clients and that she would recuse herself in cases involving him or Hanson Bridgett clients.
According to the Hanson Bridgett web site, "Dorothy also handles benefits litigation and defends employers against claims of race and gender discrimination, sexual harassment, disability discrimination, retaliation, breach of contract and wrongful termination in single-plaintiff and multiple-plaintiff matters at the trial and appellate levels."
In a recent matter, Liu voted with other commissioners to dismiss a charge of retaliation, hearing from the city official in closed session but declining to hear from the city employees who filed the complaint.
Commissioner Liu, in response to questions from CitiReport, clarified her view on conflict of interest issues:
Hanson Bridgett LLP is pleased to announce that on April 5, Partner Dorothy Liu was appointed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to serve a 6-year term as Commissioner for the San Francisco Ethics Commission.The Ethics Commission serves the public by enforcing all ethics laws and rules, including campaign finance and open government laws.
Its mission is to practice and promote the highest standards of ethical behavior in government.
"Having lived and worked in San Francisco since 1999, coupled with her legal background, Dorothy is certainly well-positioned to help enforce ethics issues facing our local government," said Andrew Giacomini, Hanson Bridgett LLP Managing Partner.
Dorothy is a partner in Hanson Bridgett's labor and employment section.Dorothy regularly provides advice counseling to employers on compliance and human resources matters, including compliance with California's Labor Code.
She leads wage and hour class action litigation on issues ranging from off-the-clock and overtime claims to meal and rest period claims under the Labor Code.
Dorothy advises employers on managing leaves of absence, disability accommodation, and drafting personnel policies, and represents employers in state and federal courts on all aspects of employment law.
Dorothy was a long-time member of the Community Services Committee of the Asian American Bar Association (from 2000 to 2007) and served as committee co-chair from 2003 to 2007.
During her tenure, the committee partnered with the Chinatown Community Development Center on community rebuilding projects, and also partnered with both the Asian Law Caucus and with API Legal Outreach to run legal clinics for low-income San Francisco residents.
Update: Board Names Liu to Ethics Post | CitiReport
Supervisor Eric Mar made the motion to substitute Grossman for the Rules Committee's pick of Dorothy Liu was seconded by Supervisor John Avalos and backed by Supervisor Ross Mirikarimi.
The selection of Liu leaves the Commission without an advocate with a proven record on behalf of ethics and transparency.
Liu, in contrast, was praised by Board President David Chiu as a candidate who has no experience with City Hall or the city's political community and as a result "is the perfect candidate.
Records show that Liu has made only one political contribution - which was last year for $100 to David Chiu for his campaign for the Democratic County Central Committee.
Liu is an attorney at Hanson Bridgett, which has made political contributions to the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), whose lobbying and campaign activity falls under the scrutiny of the Ethics Commission.
Chiu also emphasized that Liu had promised to regularly consult with the Board of Supervisors regarding issues before the Ethics Commission.
Liu has been actively involved with the Chinatown Community Development Center, one of the nonprofits whose Board members currently are prohibited from contributing to candidates for the Board of Supervisors or other elected positions.
Liu also won vocal support from Supervisor Scott Weiner who complained that unnamed blogs had unfairly suggested that the Liu's selection would rubberstamp an Ethics Commission that has been bent on repealing ethics safeguards.
After the Grossman motion failed, the Board then voted to name Liu as its appointment to the Ethics Commission on a 10-1 vote, with Supervisor Avalos voting no on the motion.
During the Rules Committee hearing, Liu said that she believed that lawyers do not have to register as lobbyist when they represent clients seeking to influence City Hall decision.
Liu, an attorney, specifically mentioned as one example former mayor Willie Brown whose status as an unregistered lobbyist drew editorial comment at the San Francisco Bay Guardian.
Liu appeared unaware that under California law, attorneys have been required to register since 1970 as lobbyists when contacting city officials on behalf of a client in matters that do not require admission to the bar.
Liu also told the Rules Committee that she is not prepared to support televising the Ethics Commission proceedings on the city channel out of deference to the sensitivity of those who appear before the Commission.
Dorothy S. Liu, Esq., is a partner in the San Francisco office of law firm Hanson Bridgett LLP.She represents and counsels employers exclusively in her labor and employment law practice, defending them in federal and state courts (including class actions) at the trial and appellate levels and advising them on compliance issues ranging from internal HR audits and employee discipline and terminations to collective bargaining negotiations and administrative proceedings.
Liu speaks and writes frequently on employment law topics, and she earned her law degree from the University of Washington.
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