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 was one of the founding and core faculty of the law school's unique David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy. He became a Professor of Law Emeritus in 2013. Since then, he has continued an active public interest practice, working with and for unhoused people, low-income tenants, children in substandard schools, low wage workers, veterans, victims of discrimination, and community organizations dedicated to social justice. Most recently, Professor Blasi co-directed a collaborative effort to create and maintain on on-line eviction defense tool that California tenants can use to prepare and file the court documents required to defend an unlawful detainer (eviction) case and to connect with other tenants.

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, and how advocates can best deal with the consequences of racial and other stereotypes. In addition, he has conducted and published extensive investigations, often in collaboration with his students, in such areas as the regulation of slum housing in Los Angeles, enforcement of laws to reduce employment discrimination across California, the policing of unhoused people in Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and efforts by some cities in Los Angeles County to exclude Black tenants with federal housing vouchers. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, in collaboration with the UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy, Professor Blasi published a study assessing the potential displacement of hundreds of thousands of tenants and their families and co-authored two monographs on short term measures that might be considered to respond to the potential crisis.

Professor Blasi has received numerous awards for distinction in the field of public interest law, including the California State Bar’s Loren Miller Legal Services Award, given to one lawyer in California each year for work in extending legal services to the poor. He has been named one of the 100 best lawyers in California and twice selected as a California Lawyer of the Year.

Professor Blasi became a lawyer without attending law school. After graduate study at Harvard, where he was a Graduate Prize Fellow, Professor Blasi served as a legal apprentice and paralegal in a community law office in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, where he also began his legal practice.


  • Articles And Chapters
    • A Grounded Approach to Our Homelessness Crisis, California Real Property Law Journal (2021).
    • UD Day:  Impending Evictions and Homelessness in Los Angeles, UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy (2020).
    • For the Crisis Yet to Come: Temporary Settlements in the Era of Evictions (with Hilary Malson), UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy (2020).
    • Hotel California: Housing the Crisis (with Ananya Roy, Jonny Coleman, and Elana Eden), UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy (2020).
    • A Legal Right to Shelter, Los Angeles Lawyer (December 2019).
    • 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
    • L.A. Should Ask Its Homeless Population What Would be Better than Sleeping on the Streets, Los Angeles Times (December 16, 2019).
    • Preparing to Declare a ‘Local Emergency’ Could save L.A.'s Homeless People when El Niño Rains Hit, Los Angeles Times (November 23, 2015).
    • Stop Punishing and Start Helping L.A.'s Homeless (with Philip Mangano), Los Angeles Times (June 30, 2015).
    • 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).
    • 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).