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About me

Alison Holcomb is the Criminal Justice Director for the ACLU of Washington State. Her work focuses on advancing changes to our criminal laws that recognize that not every social problem can, or should, be treated as a crime, and that funneling people into the criminal justice system actually amplifies social problems and undermines public safety. Before joining the ACLU in 2006, she was a trial lawyer in state and federal courts for thirteen years.

Alison was the chief architect of Washington State Initiative Measure No. 502, which legalized, taxed, and regulated marijuana for adults 21 and older.  She also served as campaign director for New Approach Washington, the political action committee that supported I-502's passage on November 6, 2012, by a 56 to 44 percent margin.


Alison is a past vice-president of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and former chair of the Legal Frameworks Group of the King County Bar Association's Drug Policy Project. She has served on the Seattle City Council's I-75 Marijuana Policy Review Panel and its Jail Capacity Study Advisory Group, which examined the impact of alternative approaches to low-level drug offenses on jail use.


Alison received her B.A. from Stanford University and her J.D. from the University of Washington School of Law.


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Civil Rights: 100%
    10 years, 3 cases



Pro bono (100%)

Payment types:

Cash, Check

Attorney endorsements

26 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Sharon Jean Blackford

    I have been familiar with Alison's work since we were both young lawyers right out of law school. From those early days, Alison always stood above the crowd. Her legal research is thorough and precise, her writing is clear and to the point, and her ability to strategize is second to none. What is so unusual about Alison, though, is that despite all these finely honed professional skills she is a down-to-earth person who understands what real people need. I recommend Alison without reservation.


    Sharon Blackford Family Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Sean P Cecil

    I endorse this lawyer. Alison is a tireless supporter of justice and individual rights. She did an excellent job in creating a coalition to pass Initiative 502 in Washington, and I would expect she would succeed in any of her future endeavors!


    Sean Cecil Personal injury Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

901 5th Ave Ste 630
Seattle, WA, 98164-2008


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Pauline Sabin AwardNational Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws2008
Super LawyerN/A2007
Certificate of AppreciationN/A2006
Certificate of AppreciationN/A2004
Certificate of AppreciationN/A2001
American Jurisprudence AwardLawyer's Cooperative Publishing Co. & Bancroft-Whitney Co.1991
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Drug Policy DirectorACLU of Washington2008 - Present
Marijuana Education Project DirectorACLU of Washington2006 - 2008
InstructorUniversity of Washington School of Law2005 - 2005
LawyerThe Law Office of Alison Holcomb, PLLC2003 - 2006
PartnerSteinborn & Holcomb, PLLC2002 - 2002
AssociateThe Law Office of Jeffrey Steinborn1995 - 2001
AssociateMundt, MacGregor, Happel, Falconer, Zulauf & Hall1993 - 1995
Association namePosition nameDuration
Seattle City Council Jail Capacity Study Advisory GroupMember2009 - Present
WSBA Pro Bono and Legal Aid CommitteeMember2008 - Present
American Bar AssociationMember2003 - Present
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMember2000 - Present
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana LawsLegal Committee Member1995 - Present
Washington State Bar AssociationMember1993 - Present
King County Bar AssociationMember1993 - Present
WACDL Fee Agreements Task ForceMember2006 - 2006
WSBA Trust Account Responsibilities and Retainers Task ForceMember, WACDL Liaison2006 - 2007
WACDL Fees Task ForceChair2006 - 2007
KCBA Drug Policy Project, Short-Term Options GroupMember2006 - 2007
KCBA Drug Policy Project, Legal Frameworks GroupChair2005 - 2006
WACDL RPC 1.5 Task ForceMember2005 - 2006
WACDL Criminal History Records Task ForceMember2005 - 2007
Washington Association of Criminal Defense LawyersVice-President West2005 - 2006
WACDL Listserv Task ForceMember2004 - 2005
Seattle City Council Marijuana Policy Review PanelMember2004 - 2007
Washington Association of Criminal Defense LawyersBoard Member2003 - 2005
KCBA Drug Policy Project, Legal Frameworks GroupMember2002 - 2004
KCBA Drug Policy Project, Criminal Sanctions Task ForceMember2000 - 2001
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
State v. MyszkowskiClient's felony convictions reversed on appeal.
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
King County Bar Association Bar BulletinMoving Beyond Zero Tolerance2009
Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Defense MagazineSenate Bill 6032: Changes in Store for Washington's Medical Marijuana Law2007
King County Bar Association News Bar BulletinMedical Marijuana: Addressing Patients' Fears of Arrest2007
Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Defense MagazineRestoration of Civil Rights1999
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
National Criminal Defense CollegeTrial Practice InstituteN/A2003
University of Washington School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1993
Stanford UniversityN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1990
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Seattle Town Square: Panel with UCLA Prof. Mark KleimanLess Crime, Less Punishment2010
Seattle Speaks: Marijuana PolicyMarijuana Policy2010
Seattle Channel's City Inside/Out: Pot PolicyPot Policy2010
CLE International: Medical MarijuanaMedical Marijuana2010
NLG Law for the People Convention 2009Ending the War on Drugs: Pre-Booking Diversion2009
DPA International Drug Policy Reform ConferenceMarijuana Decriminalization and the State Legislative Process2009
ACLU-WA Civil Liberties 101: War on DrugsWar on Drugs2009
ACLU-WA Civil Liberties 101: Racial JusticeRacial Disparities in Drug Law Enforcement2009
WSBA Young Lawyers Division Trial Advocacy ProgramTrial Law and Ethics2008
WSBA Law of Lawyering ConferenceNonrefundable Fees2008
WSBA Ethics in Civil Litigation Institute: Critical Career ConcernsEthics and Attorney's Fees2008
SCBA Year-end PotpourriWashington's Medical Use of Marijuana Act2008
WSBA Young Lawyers Division Trial Advocacy ProgramTrial Law and Ethics2007
WSBA Law of Lawyering ConferenceCompensating Attorneys in the 21st Century2007
NORML National ConferenceCannabis Law Reform Legislative and Initiative Round Up2007
KCBA Lunchtime CLE SeriesWashington's Medical Marijuana Law2007
DPA International Drug Policy Reform ConferenceMedical Marijuana Implementation: State to State2007
WACDL How to Practice Criminal Law without Getting Disbarred: Succeeding in Private Practice CLE SeminarLaw Office Management: Practicalities and Ethics2006
NORML National ConferenceGrassroots to Grasstops: Activists Effectively Working Together at All Levels2006
NBI Successful Outcomes in Criminal Defense CLE SeminarHandling the Sentencing Phase2006
WACDL Motions Practice CLE SeminarMotions to Suppress Client Statements2005
WACDL Defending Drug Cases CLE SeminarHandling Informants2005
WACDL Annual Conference and Continuing Legal Education SeminarFirearms Cases2003
NORML Key West Legal SeminarDefending Cultivation Cases2001