Karla Chalif is Public Counsel’s Vice President, Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel. Before joining Public Counsel, Karla served as the Chief Operating and Legal Officer and the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer at the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA). She supervised various departments, including Human Resources, IT, Equity, Facilities, Risk Management, and Contracts. Karla was also the management lead for Union relationships.
Prior to her work at LAHSA, Karla had a long and successful career at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, first as a staff attorney and then as the managing attorney of LAFLA’s Santa Monica office. She first joined LAFLA in 1999, representing clients with government benefits and employment law issues. She was instrumental in the passage of the Living Wage Campaign in Santa Monica and had repeated successes with large judgments for benefits recipients, especially with Medi-Cal, Veterans Benefits, and Social Security. An article about one of her cases and its impact on Medi-Cal recipients with cognitive limitations and notice requirements was published in the Santa Monica Bar Journal.
In 2008, Karla became managing attorney at LAFLA and supervised attorneys in a cross-substantive team, including family law, consumer law, housing/unlawful detainers, and government benefits. She also supervised the Santa Monica Domestic Violence Clinic located at the Santa Monica Courthouse, and four Self Help Legal Access Centers located in Santa Monica, Torrance, Inglewood, and Long Beach Courthouses. Karla has an extensive background in regulatory and policy issues as they relate to compliance within state- and federally-run benefits programs. In addition, Karla spent five years teaching a clinical course (Introduction to Client Relationships) to first-year students at UCLA School of Law.
Karla grew up in Southern California and received her B.A. from UCLA and her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.