Our People

Issue Areas

Economic Justice, Housing Justice, Inclusive Community Development

Doug Smith

Director of Policy and Coalition Building

As Director of Policy and Coalition Building, Doug guides Public Counsel’s policy advocacy and coalition partnerships across eight legal projects, promoting a coordinated strategy to transform unjust systems and build durable community power. Prior to his role as Director of Policy and Coalition Building, Doug was a Supervising Senior Staff Attorney in the Community Development Project, where he led a team of movement lawyers supporting grassroots movements for social justice and equity.

In partnership with community-based coalitions, Doug has helped build the campaign to decriminalize and legalize street vending in California, advanced state and local policies that have produced thousands of new affordable homes, launched “Peoples’ Plan” campaigns for equitable planning and development practices, negotiated complex community benefits agreements, and expanded rent control and tenant protection ordinances across Southern California.

Doug is a frequent speaker on community development and movement lawyering, and his writing has appeared in The Los Angeles TimesThe San Francisco ChronicleFordham Law Review, UCLA Law Review Discourse, and the Journal of Affordable Housing & Community Development, among others.

In addition to his work at Public Counsel, Doug teaches courses on community lawyering at Occidental College and co-teaches the Community Economic Development Clinic at UCLA School of Law. From 2015 to 2020, Doug was appointed to the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.

Doug holds a M.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from UCLA School of Public Affairs, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

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