About Paul Henderson
An experienced courtroom litigator and lifelong San Franciscan, Paul Henderson has dedicated his life to public service. Currently, Paul serves as Deputy Chief of Staff and Public Safety Liaison in Mayor Edwin Lee’s administration. Since 2011, Paul’s job has been to advise the Mayor on a variety of topics and to develop and implement policy across a broad range of issues affecting San Francisco. Paul supports the administration of various City departments, providing direct support to the Mayor, with a particular emphasis on the criminal justice system and cooperation with and between local, State and Federal partners.
Before joining the Mayor’s Office of San Francisco, Paul served as Chief of Administration under then-District Attorney Kamala Harris, holding the highest position held by an African-American or LGBT male in the history of the office. Paul has over a decade of prosecutorial experience, winning dozens of trials, and has handled every type of case from nonviolent misdemeanors to serious felonies, including homicide.
In addition to his record of courtroom success as a seasoned prosecutor, Paul also has years of judicial experience as a criminal pro tem (temporary) superior court judge, and as an appointed hearing officer to resolve civil appellate disputes.
In addition to being named 2015-16 “Lawyer of the Year” by the California Association of Black Lawyers, Paul has been voted twice as a California “Super-Lawyer,” and has been recognized as one of the state’s most astute legal minds by California Lawyer magazine. He is a standing member of the national faculty for the U.S. Department of Justice and frequent speaker for the American Bar Association (ABA). Recently, Paul was called to the White House to contribute to the emerging agenda on nationwide justice reforms.
Native San Franciscan
Paul grew up blocks away from the San Francisco housing projects, where law enforcement was often seen as an adversary. He rejected the notion, however, that relationship between underserved communities and the justice system must be one of conflict. Through his success working to protect victims of violent crimes and representing communities without a voice in the courtroom, Mr. Henderson has made lasting impacts on the San Francisco Bay Area.
Paul attended San Francisco schools and earned his undergraduate degree from UCLA before obtaining his law degree at Tulane University, where he served as president of his class. Mr. Henderson is a passionate advocate for both civil rights and public safety. Presently Paul serves on the boards of several nonprofit agencies and was recently appointed to a prominent committee with the State Bar by the Board of Governors. Currently, Paul lives in the Ashbury Heights neighborhood of San Francisco with his partner of 18 years, Kevin, and his two dogs, Hudson and Winston.