Lisa Daugaard, Co-Executive Director/Policy, is an alumna of The Defender Association’s (TDA) public defense era.
Lisa joined TDA in 1996 as a staff attorney, and later served as Misdemeanor Division Supervisor, Assistant Deputy Director, and Deputy Director. In 1998, she helped launch TDA’s Racial Disparity Project (RDP), combating racial discrimination in, and generated by, the criminal legal system at the height of mass incarceration, and she supervised the RDP from 2000-2013.
As part of the RDP work, from 2001-2008, Lisa led a successful selective enforcement litigation challenge to drug arrests of Black people in Seattle. The settlement of that litigation effort resulted in an agreement by the Seattle Police Department and the King County Prosecutor’s Office to launch a pilot pre-booking diversion framework for drug offenses, which came into being in 2011 as the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) model.
Lisa was the first LEAD project manager, and has worked with the LEAD Support Bureau to provide technical support for other jurisdictions seeking to replicate the flagship Seattle LEAD effort since 2012. Lisa was Deputy Director of the King County Department of Public Defense from 2014-2015, and returned to PDA as Executive Director in 2015. She was Co-Chair of the Seattle Community Police Commission from 2013-2017, and remained a commissioner until 2019. In 2019, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for work building consensus around community-based responses to illegal behavior related to unmet behavioral health needs and extreme poverty.
Lisa grew up in the Seattle area, attended the University of Washington, was an anti-apartheid activist at Cornell University in the mid-1980s while occasionally attending class and earning an MA, and obtained her JD from Yale Law School (class of 1992). After law school, she worked in New York City as a fellow at the ACLU National Legal Department, as Legal Director of the Coalition for the Homeless, and as Organizing Project Director at the Urban Justice Center. She is a fanatical WNBA and UW football supporter, and mom to a wonderful daughter, appreciative of working for an organization that makes space for family obligations.