L. Julius Turman

L. Julius Turman, who last year helped Atlanta-based labor and employment firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete start its San Francisco office, was found dead Sunday in his home. He was 52.

Police have not immediately released any information about the time, cause or location of Turman’s death.

“During his tenure, Julius opened, grew and led Constangy’s San Francisco office. While at Constangy and throughout his career, Julius championed diversity in hiring and leadership. He was a brilliant attorney, with strong convictions, and was a fearless leader,” said a statement from Neil Wasser, chair of the executive committee at Constangy.

Turman, a veteran employment litigator and gay African-American, was a prominent member of the political establishment and nonprofit community in San Francisco. A former federal prosecutor in New Jersey, Turman previously worked in private practice at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Reed Smith.

He joined the San Francisco Police Commission in 2012 and was elected president of that body in 2016. Turman resigned that position on May 4 of this year. During his tenure on the commission, Turman helped write and revise rules for San Francisco’s use of force policies and body-worn cameras, while making reforms recommended by the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama administration after a string of controversial police shootings in the city.

“Commissioner Turman was a tremendously intelligent and compassionate man who cared deeply about this department,” said a statement from San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott. “He worked to help us increase trust and respect and was relentlessly focused on bringing forth the best practices, policies and procedures to the San Francisco Police Department. We are grateful for his dedication and hard work and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”

Turman has also served on San Francisco’s Human Rights Commission and on the board of the Bar Association of San Francisco, where he co-chaired its Equality Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. He also was grand marshal of the San Francisco Pride Parade.

“Police Commission President Julius Turman was a voice of leadership who helped build trust and comradery between the men and women of the police department and San Francisco residents,” said a statement from former Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati associate-turned-San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell. “My deepest sympathies and condolences are with his family and friends at this time.”

At Constangy, which adopted its current name in 2015 and earlier this year opened an office in Orange County, California, Turman served as managing partner of the firm’s Bay Area base after coming aboard in January 2017. Before that he spent nearly four years as a partner at Reed Smith, a firm he joined in mid-2013 after leaving the partnership at Morgan Lewis.

At both firms, Turman focused on a broad range of labor and employment matters, including defending clients in class action litigation, state and federal investigations, discrimination and other employment claims and labor-management relations.