Lisa Daugaard is the Executive Director at PDA and a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship recipient. Lisa served as Deputy Director of the King County (WA) Department of Public Defense through August 2015, and previously supervised misdemeanor practice (2002-2006) and then was Deputy Director (2007-2013) at The Defender Association, a non-profit public defender office.
Lisa was a founding staff attorney at the Defender Association Racial Disparity Project, and went on to direct the RDP from 2000-2012. She started as a felony and misdemeanor lawyer at the Defender Association from 1996-2001. In 1999, as a staff attorney, she coordinated the successful defense of hundreds of activists unlawfully arrested during the WTO demonstrations. Prior to becoming a public defender in 1996, Lisa directed the Urban Justice Center Organizing Project, a leadership development program for emerging homeless and formerly homeless activists in New York City. Before that, she was Legal Director of the Coalition for the Homeless, also in New York City, where she co-founded StreetWatch, an early police watch program focused on police treatment of homeless people, and sued a business improvement district for violating minimum wage laws for paying homeless workers $1 an hour to do “outreach” to other homeless people. After law school, she was a fellow at the ACLU National Legal Department, where she helped to coordinate the successful campaign and litigation to shut down the internment camp for HIV+ Haitian refugees at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
Lisa has also served from 2013 - 2016 as co-chair of Seattle’s Community Police Commission, and she continues to serve as a Commissioner.
Lisa graduated from the University of Washington in 1983, obtained a M.A. in Government from Cornell University in 1987, and a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995 (Class of 1992).