Alisa Blair attended the University of California, Berkeley where she majored in Sociology with an emphasis in Race and Ethnic relations and a minor in African American Studies. Alisa went on to attend the University of Southern California school of law where she earned her Juris Doctorate and the Miller-Johnson Equal Justice Award. Ms. Blair co-authored Race and Ethnicity as a Compound Risk Factor in Police Interrogation of Youth, as well as A Guide to Cash Bail, published in Chaos + Comrades.
Alisa Blair brings 20 years of experience as a practitioner in the criminal legal system with an emphasis on youth justice. Alisa began her legal career as public defender in Los Angeles County. During that time Ms. Blair was trial counsel in jury trials for charges ranging from resisting arrest to first degree murder, as well as a supervisor in the office’s juvenile division. Her successes were instrumental in Alisa receiving the Judi Schecter Juvenile Lawyer of the Year award.
Alisa Blair frequently provides guest lectures at California universities on youth justice issues and the interplay between racial trauma and the adolescent brain. Ms. Blair was a speaker at the at NACDL Conference, RACE MATTERS II, on Race & Adolescent Brain Development. Ms. Blair also does trainings on jury selection and client interaction for new attorneys.
During the latter portion of her career with the Public Defender’s office, Alisa accelerated her activism as president of the Black Public Defenders Association, Chairperson of the Law Clerk Recruitment Committee, a member of the Public Defender Union Political and Legislative Action Committee, member of the George Gascon for LA District Attorney policy committee, and internal vice president for the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center (PJDC).
After George Gascon won the election for LA County District Attorney, Alisa joined the administration as the DA’s special advisor on youth justice, restorative justice, and diversion. Alisa collaborated with community organizations and other county departments to create the REDY youth diversion pathway for minors facing serious felony charges. REDY supports the victims of crime through a restorative justice conference that promotes healing and accountability by the young person who caused harm. Alisa raised $1.2 million in grant funds to support the program in her first year with the DA’s office.
Currently, Alisa Blair is the policy and special projects director at The Collective. She simultaneously holds the position of interim policy director for the Pacific Juvenile Defender Center. Alisa Blair has the unique experience of practicing law as a defender and crafting policy for a prosecutor. Alisa did both in the largest and oldest of each type of office in the country. Alisa plans to continue her career supporting communities as they heal and protect themselves.