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News from:
City Attorney Barbara J. Parker

Friday, October 12, 2018

Oakland City Attorney Barbara J. Parker appoints Chief Assistant City Attorney to oversee all litigation

OAKLAND, CA — City Attorney Barbara J. Parker has announced the appointment of Maria Bee to the position of Chief Assistant City Attorney overseeing all litigation matters.

Ms. Bee’s appointment was effective October 2. She previously supervised the City Attorney’s Affirmative Litigation, Innovation & Enforcement Division, which includes the Neighborhood Law Corps and the Community Lawyering & Civil Rights units.  As Chief Assistant, Ms. Bee will oversee both the Affirmative Litigation Division and the General & Complex Litigation Division (Defense).

“Maria’s work in our Office has been exemplary in every position she has held,” City Attorney Barbara J. Parker said.  “She has consistently demonstrated her management and supervisory skills, her litigation and advisory expertise and acumen, her calm demeanor under pressure and her incisive judgment.”

Ms. Bee has 25 years of experience practicing law, and has fought to protect the rights of and secure justice for vulnerable populations.

Ms. Bee first worked in the City Attorney's Office from 2000 to 2006 as a Deputy City Attorney prosecuting civil hate crimes lawsuits and handling various litigation matters including dangerous conditions of public property, breach of contract and alleged constitutional violations. She also handled high profile jury trials including a wrongful death case and a six-week trial in Bari v. City of Oakland, a Fourth Amendment lawsuit filed by two environmental activists who were arrested after a bomb exploded in their car as they were traveling through Oakland. Other jury trials included cases involving allegations of an illegal strip search and false arrest.

In 2006, then San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris recruited Ms. Bee to serve as Chief of the District Attorney’s Victim Services Division. As chief of the division she supervised 26 staff members and was part of the DA’s executive team. The Victim Services Division provides advocacy and services to crime victims.

In 2014, Ms. Bee returned to the City Attorney’s Office as a Supervising Attorney in the Litigation Division. In 2016, she was assigned to lead the newly established Affirmative Litigation, Innovation & Enforcement Division, which focuses on social, economic and environmental justice for Oakland residents.

Under Ms. Bee’s supervision, the Affirmative Litigation Division has prosecuted a number of cases including Oakland’s climate change lawsuit against the five largest publicly owned fossil fuel companies, Oakland’s lawsuit against Monsanto chemical corporation seeking damages for the company’s pollution of Oakland storm water with toxic PCBs, and Oakland’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank for racially discriminatory and predatory mortgage lending practices against African American and Hispanic borrowers.

Ms. Bee began her legal career as an associate at McCutchen Doyle, Brown & Enerson, where she handled general commercial litigation cases.

Ms. Bee is a native Oaklander who graduated from Skyline High School and lives near Lake Merritt. She is a member of the Charles Houston Bar Association and chairs the Alameda County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service committee. Maria also is Chairperson of the Board of Directors of La Casa de Las Madres, an advocacy program for survivors of domestic violence.

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