Nila Bala is a senior fellow in criminal justice policy with the R Street Institute, where she develops policy to advance reforms in juvenile justice and economic justice, including reducing barriers formerly incarcerated individuals face in returning to society.

Nila joined R Street in December 2017, having previously served as an assistant public defender in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to handling more than 1,000 cases in her tenure, she also helped to lead a bail reform project to address problems in the city’s money bail system.

Earlier in her career, Nila clerked for Judge Keith P. Ellison of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. She also was a recipient of the Yale Public Interest Law Fellowship. As part of that program, she assisted juveniles in sealing their records, particularly those with sex offenses, while serving her host organization, the Public Defender Office of Santa Clara County, California.

Nila received her bachelor’s in human biology from Stanford University, graduating with distinction. She completed her juris doctor at Yale Law School.

She lives with her husband in Baltimore, Maryland.


Click here to download a high-resolution headshot of Nila.