How to Impact Lives as an Attorney: Lisa L Walker


Housing and Development Law Institute

Ep. 73 - Lisa L. Walker has discovered the way to both succeed as an attorney while satisfying her other passion, impacting lives. Housing and Development Law Institute, referred to as HDLI, is a legal think tank and fills a unique need - a one-stop shop for attorneys in affordable housing. Both housing authorities and private real estate owners rely on HDLI as the go-to place for the latest developments in the affordable housing world. One of her primary thrusts is HDLI's successful interactive fair housing training program, directed toward the unique job responsibilities and challenges of public housing and redevelopment agencies.

Key Takeaways:

    • How to choose a career where you can work towards impacting people's lives
    • Actionable steps that need to be taken to save the dying future of affordable housing
    • How to set and reset priorities to live a balanced life
    • The importance of inclusion and diversity in housing program development

"Prepare yourself for life, not just for your professional interests. Prepare yourself to be educated and healthy. And don't skip the steps to good preparation, because it will inform your success or not." -Lisa Walker

In this episode you'll discover:

Lisa's role at HDLI as a lawyer and advocate in the public and affordable housing industry [1:19]
How Lisa developed an interest in the affordable housing industry to impact people's lives [2:46]
How the mobility program was used to educate and support people to move away from the city [7:02]
How the mobility voucher programs faced racial objections and community rejection challenges [11:00]
How HDLI emphasizes legal advocacy and creating model policies for industry members [14:37]
The importance of robust procedures that layout over the process of creating policies [20:06]
The importance of inclusion and diversity for programs to be more reflective of the needs [23:44]
Lisa describes Thompson v. HUD as her success story before joining HDLI [24:55]
HDLI challenges of taking on more than they can handle and failure to prioritize what's important [28:11]
She explains why she believes that the future of affordable housing is on the edge [29:20]
Lisa talks about the history of Miss Black USA Pageant and the woman who started it [34:18]
The lessons that Lisa has learned from the COVID-19 experience [38:58]
Lisa advises young people to prepare for life without skipping to become successful [40:13]


Lisa is the CEO and General Counsel of the Housing and Development Law Institute (HDLI). She developed HDLI's successful on-site and online staff trainings for public housing agencies and other housing providers or managers. Ms. Walker is responsible for writing HDLI's legal publications, model policies, amicus briefs and other legal submissions, providing personalized legal consultation to HDLI members.

She's a former partner and commercial litigator at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P., a regional law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland. She actively represented the Housing Authority of Baltimore City in important public housing reform litigation in Thompson v. HUD and has focused on issues facing public housing agencies for more than fifteen years.

Ms. Walker is licensed to practice law before the United States Supreme Court, the Fourth and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the state and federal courts of Maryland and the District of Columbia.


Lisa Walker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she received a four-year academic scholarship from the university. She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she received a three year academic fellowship and was a member of the competitive Moot Court Board.


HDLI Website
Miss Black USA Pageant


Sarah Wartell Rosen
Amy Glassman
Joe Schiff

YouTube Video

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