Nila Bala helped lead R Street’s criminal justice policy areas generally, and specifically developed policy to advance reforms in juvenile and economic justice.

Nila 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 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 with sealing their records, particularly those with sex offenses, while serving the Public Defender Office of Santa Clara County, California.

Nila received her bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, graduating with distinction. She completed her JD at Yale Law School. She was named the 2020 Distinguished Fellow for her dedication to upholding and protecting ethical standards in her work, by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics (FASPE).

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