Gary L. Blasi

Professor of Law Emeritus

  • B.A. University of Oklahoma, 1966
  • M.A. Political Science, Harvard, 1969
  • UCLA Faculty Since 1991

Gary Blasi joined the UCLA faculty in 1991 with a distinguished 20-year record of public interest practice.  He teaches clinical and public interest lawyering courses, including Fact Investigation in Complex Matters and Clinical Seminar in Public Policy Advocacy. He is one of the founding and core faculty of the law school's unique David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. He practices, teaches, conducts research and writes about advocacy on behalf of children in substandard schools, homeless families and individuals, low income tenants, low wage workers, veterans, and victims of discrimination. He has received numerous awards for distinction in the field of public interest law and for providing legal services to the poor. In 2007, he was named one of the top 100 lawyers in California, cited as the "go-to lawyer for community groups in need of advice."  In 2013, he received the California State Bar’s Loren Miller Legal Services Award, given to one lawyer in California each year for his or her work in extending legal services to the poor.

Professor Blasi's research draws on cognitive science and social psychology to better understand how lawyers acquire expertise, how people understand the causes of problems like homelessness or poverty, how advocates can best deal with the consequences of racial and other stereotypes, and how large bureaucracies can better respond to the needs of poor people and people living with disabilities. He has also served as Director of the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, which supports research and education on issues critical to working people, taught at Stanford and lectured at universities in England, Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong and China.

Professor Blasi became a lawyer without attending law school. After graduate study at Harvard, where he was a Graduate Prize Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Fellow, Professor Blasi served as a legal apprentice in a community law office in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he also began his practice. In 1978, he joined the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, where he coordinated advocacy including complex litigation in the areas of housing, welfare, homelessness, and redevelopment.

Professor Blasi took emeritus status in 2012, but continues to teach one semester each year and maintains an active pro bono practice, working with community groups and in collaboration with the leading public interest and pro bono law firms in California. He is Special Counsel to the Opportunity Under Law Initiative at the Public Counsel Law Center and Of Counsel at the Western Center on Law and Poverty.


  • Articles And Chapters
    • System Justification Theory and Research: Implications for Law, Legal Advocacy, and Social Justice (with Jon Jost), in Ideology, Psychology, and Law, (edited by Jon Hanson, Oxford University Press, 2011).
    • Are Ideal Litigators White? Measuring the Myth of Colorblindness (with Nilanjana Dasgupta, Kumar Yogeeswaran, & Jerry Kang), 7 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 886-915 (2010). Full Text
    • The Los Angeles Taxi Workers Alliance (with Jackie Leavitt), in Working for Justice: The L.A. Model of Organizing and Advocacy, (edited by Ruth Milkman, Joshua Bloom and Victor Narro, Cornell University Press, 2010).
    • California Employment Discrimination Law and Its Enforcement: The Fair Employment and Housing Act at 50 (with Joseph Doherty), UCLA School of Law Research Paper No. 10-06 (2010). Full Text
    • Framing Access to Justice: Beyond Perceived Justice for Individuals, 42 Loyola Los Angeles Law Review 913-48 (2009).
    • Lawyers, Clients and the "Third Person in the Room", 56 UCLA Law Review Discourses 1 (2008).
    • Grassroots Organizing, Social Movements, and the Right to High Quality Education (with Jeannie Oakes, John Rogers, and Martin Lipton), Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties 339 (2008).
    • Default Discrimination: Law, Science, and Unintended Discrimination in the New Workplace, in Behavioral Analyses of Workplace Discrimination, (edited by G. Mitu Gulati and Michael Yelnosky, Kluwer, 2007).
    • System Justification Theory and Research: Implications for Law, Legal Advocacy, and Social Justice (with John T. Jost), 94 California Law Review 1119-68 (2006).
    • Accountability for Adequate and Equitable Opportunities to Learn (with Jeannie Oakes and John Rogers), in Holding Accountability Accountable: What Ought to Matter in Public Education, (edited by Ken Sirotnick, Teachers College Press, 2004).
    • Fifty Years after Brown v. Board: Five Principles for Moving Ahead, 19 Berkeley Women’s Law Journal 443-51 (2004). Reprinted in 15 Berkeley La Raza Law Journal 115-23 (2004); 2 Asian Law Journal 324 (2004); and 6 African-American Law and Policy Report 242 (2004).
    • How Much Access? How Much Justice?, 73 Fordham Law Review 865-81.
    • Advocacy Against the Stereotype: Lessons from Cognitive Psychology, 49 UCLA Law Review 1241-81 (2002). Reprinted in 18 Civil Rights Litigation and Attorney Fees Annual Handbook (edited by Steven Saltzman et. al., Clark Boardman Callaghan, 2002).
    • Reforming Educational Accountability, in California Policy Options 2002, (UCLA Anderson Forecast and UCLA School of Public Policy and Social Research, 2002).
    • Implementation of AB633: A Preliminary Assessment, A report for a Joint Committee of the Legislature, (2001). Full Text
    • Advocacy and Attribution: Shaping and Responding to Perceptions of the Causes of Homelessness, in 19 St. Louis University Public Law Forum, 207 (2000). Reprinted in Representing the Poor and Homeless: Innovations in Advocacy (edited by Sidney D. Watson, American Bar Association, Commission on Homelessness & Poverty, 2001).
    • Creating a Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at a Public Law School: The UCLA Experiment, in Educating for Justice: Social Values and Legal Education, (edited by Jeremy Cooper and Louise Trubek, Dartmouth Press, 1997).
    • Teaching Lawyering as an Intellectual Project, 14 Journal of Professional Legal Education 65-75 (1997).
    • What Lawyers Know: Lawyering Expertise, Cognitive Science, and the Functions of Theory, 45 Journal of Legal Education 313-97 (1995).
    • And We Are Not Seen: Ideological and Political Barriers to Understanding Homelessness, 37 (4) American Behavioral Scientist 563-86 (1994).
    • What's a Theory For? Notes on Reconstructing Poverty Law Scholarship, 48 University of Miami Law Review 1063-97 (1994).
    • The "Homeless Seminar" at UCLA, 42 Washington University Journal of Urban & Contemporary Law 85-99 (1992).
    • Litigation on Behalf of the Homeless (with James Preis), in Homelessness: A National Perspective, 309-21 (edited by Marjorie Robertson and Milton Greenblatt, Plenum, 1992).
    • The Role of Legal Aid Organizations, in Helping Homeless People, in Homelessness: A Prevention-Oriented Approach, 299-308 (edited by Rene I. Jahiel, Johns Hopkins, 1992).
    • Governance, Program Control, and Authority (with Armand H. Levin et al.), in Under the Safety Net: The Health and Social Welfare of the Homeless in the United States, 263-74 (edited by Philip W. Brickner, Norton, 1990).
    • Social Policy and Social Science Research on Homelessness, 46 Journal of Social Issues 207-19 (1990).
    • Litigation Strategies for Addressing Bureaucratic Disentitlement, 16 NYU Review of Law & Social Change 591-603 (1988). Reprinted in 366 PLI/LIT 285 (1988).
    • Litigation on Behalf of the Homeless: Systematic Approaches, 31 Washington University Journal of Urban & Contemporary Law 137-42 (1987). Reprinted in 331 PLI/LIT 173 (1987).
    • Database Programs and Litigation Support, Advocates Computer News (Mar.-Apr. 1986).
    • Litigation Concerning Homeless People, 4 St. Louis University Public Law Forum 433-43 (1985).
    • The Case of the Unsued Tenant: Arrieta v. Mahon, 1 California Real Property Law Journal 27 (1983).
  • Other
    • 2008 Report Card on Homelessness In Los Angeles. With Inter-University Consortium Against Homelessness (2008).
    • Did the Safer Cities Initiative in Skid Row Reduce Serious Crime? (with Forrest Stuart), Research Report (2008).
    • L.A.'s Homeless: A Progress Report (with Jennifer Wolch and Michael Dear), Los Angeles Times (June 22, 2008).
    • Stuck on Skid Row (with Philip F. Mangano), Los Angeles Times (October 29, 2007).
    • Policing Our Way Out of Homelessness? The First Year of the Safer Cities Initiative on Skid Row, Inter-University Consortium Against Homelessness (2007).
    • Ending Homelessness in Los Angeles. With Inter-University Consortium Against Homelessness. (2007). Full Text
    • Five Steps to Get Out of Skid Row (with Michael Dear and Jennifer Wolch), Los Angeles Times (December 21, 2006).
    • Driving Poor: Taxi Drivers and the Regulation of the Taxi Industry in Los Angeles (with Jacqueline Leavitt), Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (2006). Full Text
    • The Trouble with the State's Exit Exam, Sacramento Bee (June 13, 2005).
    • 8 Mile, UCLA Magazine 25-26 (Spring, 2004).
    • Far Along Yet Far From Equal, Los Angeles Times (January 11, 2004).
    • Evaluation of the Van Nuys Legal Self-Help Center Final Report (with UCLA Law School Empirical Research Group) (2001-02).
    • Let Jurors Complain and Courts Listen, Los Angeles Times (July 22, 2001).
    • If You've Seen Slums, You Know A Lot About Our Schools, Los Angeles Times at B9 (May 19, 2000).
    • Bill Smith: In Memoriam, 56 National Law Guild Practitioner 185-189 (2000).
    • Slum Conditions Affect All of Us, Los Angeles Times at B7 (Feb. 10, 1999).
  • Books
    • Grading the School Accountability Report Card (with Neil Peretz, Andrea Luquetta and Gabriel Baca). UCLA/IDEA (2005).