Gary Blasi

Gary Blasi is special counsel at Public Counsel Opportunity Under Law. He has been a devoted and zealous advocate for issues relating to disability rights, education, housing, homelessness, and civil rights for over 40 years. His work advocating on behalf of tenant rights and fighting for homeless individuals and families has made him one of California’s most prominent attorneys.

Some of his more notable cases involving housing and homelessness include Arrieta v. Mahon, Sanchez v. Little, and Gregory Valentini, et al v. Eric Shinseki, et al. Blasi received the California State Bar’s Loren Miller Award in 2013, given to one public interest attorney in California each year. He received the ACLU of Southern California's 2012 Humanitarian Award for his work with homeless veterans.

Blasi was co-counsel with Public Counsel and other groups in The Community Action League, et al. v. Lancaster et al. (2012), which protected the federal housing rights of thousands of black and Latino families in the Antelope Valley; Guillory et al. v. Los Angeles County (2014), which led to comprehensive changes to the general relief system to protect the poorest Angelenos; and Cruz v. California (2014), which accuses California education leaders of allowing students at under-resourced schools to lose learning time.

After 20 years of poverty law practice, in 1991 Blasi was appointed Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law, where he is now Professor of Law Emeritus. He was one of the founding faculty of the law school’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, through which he mentored the next generation of public interest lawyers, while continuing his legal work on behalf of homeless individuals, people living with disabilities, and children consigned to substandard schools and his research on the relationships between discrimination and poverty.  He continues to teach one public interest lawyering class at UCLA each year. In addition to his work at UCLA, Blasi has also lectured on the practice and teaching of public interest law at Universities in Hong Kong, China, Russia, Brazil, Scotland, England and Australia. He also taught at Stanford University, helping to re-establish its East Palo Alto Community Law Clinic.

During his successful legal career, Blasi has also served as President of the National Coalition for the Homeless, Homeless Health Care Los Angeles and tshe Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness and on the boards of Inner City Law Center and the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, at both of which he chaired strategic planning committees.