Civil rights attorney Julia Yoo fights on behalf of people whose Constitutional rights have been violated by wrongful arrest, illegal searches or the use of excessive force. She is the president of the National Police Accountability Project (NPAP), the country’s largest civil rights attorneys’ organization. She is the first woman and the first person of color to lead NPAP. Julia also serves on the Board of Governors of the Consumer Attorneys of California.
Julia has devoted her 22 year career to protecting the rights of people whose voices might otherwise go unheard. Upon graduation from law school in 1998, Julia founded the Law Center for Women Prisoners, a nonprofit organization designed to assist and advocate for incarcerated women. The Law Center, in partnership with externship programs through the University of Colorado law school, provided legal assistance to hundreds of incarcerated women for a wide array of issues from prisons failure to provide adequate medical care to termination of parental rights.
Julia has won cases on behalf of a woman who was left to miscarry her baby in her cell; a woman sexually harassed by her parole officer; women who were sexually abused by their alcohol and drug counselor in a private prison; a woman raped in a janitors closet by a corrections officer; and teenagers who were sexually assaulted by guards in a juvenile facility.
In 2003, Julia joined Gene Iredale and began litigating on behalf of people whose Constitutional rights have been violated by wrongful arrest or the use of excessive force, as well as wrongful death. Nearly her entire practice is dedicated to arguing for the rights of individuals infringed upon by the police and the government – entities that often devote enormous resources to prolonged legal battles.
Julia has co-authored three briefs filed with the United States Supreme Court, and nearly a dozen amicus briefs in appellate courts across the country, addressing the rights of mentally ill, homeless, and disabled people killed in encounters with police and of immigrants and noncitizens mistreated by federal agents. Particularly of note, Julia wrote a brief that led to a landmark Ninth Circuit Court decision on the police use of the taser and filed an amicus brief in the Tenth Circuit on the rights of individuals to film police interactions.
Teaching law students, speaking nationally at conferences and frequently in the press, Julia is a sought-after expert on police violence, the treatment of prisoners, and the role of drug treatment, incarceration alternatives, and reintegration services for people leaving prison. In her role with NPAP coordinating nationwide appeals against officers, she is also an expert in the role of qualified immunity, which shields police from monetary damages. Julia is the recipient of the 2016 American Constitution Society’s Roberto Alvarez award and the 2020 Consumer Attorneys of California’s Robert E. Cartwright award.
Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Julia is a cum laude graduate of Wellesley College and received her J.D. at the University of Colorado School of Law.
- University of Colorado School of Law, Boulder, Colorado
- Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA
Honors: Cum Laude
Professional Associations and Memberships
- National Lawyers Guild
- National Police Accountability Project
- Consumer Attorneys of California
- Consumer Attorneys of San Diego
Awards and Commendations
- The Best Lawyers in America® (2015 to present)
- Super Lawyer (2015 to present)