Therese Stewart is chief deputy city attorney for the City of San Francisco; she argued for the city against Proposition 8 in federal court. Before participating in a panel on the future of same-sex marriage and the law, she talked lawyer jokes, driving a hybrid, and how it’s possible to be a Giants fan who doesn’t love to hate on the Dodgers in the Zócalo green room.
Is there a lawyer joke you find funny?
Yeah, but I’m trying to remember what it is. It has to do with sharks.
What’s the strangest thing about having San Francisco as a client?
The best thing and the strangest thing are probably the same: It just does a lot of what you might call wacky, kind of cutting-edge things, some of which really are wacky and some of which are thoughtful. Which means my job as a litigator is really fun.
What’s your favorite season?
I would say spring.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading two books on writing. One by Stephen King, which is just his view of the writing process—what not to do and what to do. And I bought a book in Washington that’s a compilation of different authors on different aspects of writing: Telling True Stories. And I just finished this book about Lincoln—the conspiracy to kill him before he got to Washington. Hour of Peril by Daniel Stashower. It reads like a mystery novel.
How do you like your steak?
I don’t eat steak.
How do you like your chicken?
What keeps you up at night?
Usually, it’s work-related. Some problem I’m trying to solve. Something I’m anxious about.
What kind of car do you drive?
I have two cars that are both hybrids. One is a Lexus, which is the one I like the most. Then we have a Toyota Prius C.
What do you love to hate?
Nothing. I don’t like to feel that way about anything. [Not even the Dodgers?] I go to Giants games; I’m a Giants fan. But I don’t like it when we yell at the other team. You can see I’m not a diehard.
What’s your happiest childhood memory?
One of my best childhood memories is my dad took me to a museum—he used to take the older kids to the museum—to see a Rembrandt when I was 6. We must have stood in line for hours. And he said it was the most interesting painting. I think it was a painting of a child. It was at the de Young Museum in San Francisco.