Meet Ben

On November 4, 2014, California State Senator Ben Allen was overwhelmingly elected to represent the 26th Senate District, which consists of the Westside and coastal South Bay communities of Los Angeles County: the cities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, El Segundo, Avalon, Lomita, Torrance, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Beverly Hills; the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Westchester, Pacific Palisades, Brentwood, Westwood, Westwood Village, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, Little Holmby, Sunset Hills, Beverly Grove, Mar Vista, Mid City West, Miracle Mile, Larchmont Village, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Fairfax, Carthay, Fremont Place, Hancock Park, and Windsor Square; and the unincorporated Los Angeles County communities of Marina Del Rey, San Clemente Island, Santa Catalina Island, Franklin, Centinela, and Ocean View.

He was selected as a freshman senator to serve as chair of the Senate's Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments as well as the state legislature's Joint Committee on the Arts.  He also serves on the Senate's Budget Committee, the Budget Subcommittee that oversees the state's education budget, the Veterans Affairs Committee, the Natural Resources and Water Committee, and the Transportation and Housing Committee.

Ben is a former board member, and former Board President, of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District and was elected as the top vote-getter in both his 2008 election and 2012 reelection.  He is also an attorney with the law firm of Richardson & Patel LLP and is a lecturer at UCLA Law School, where he teaches education law and policy.

On the School Board, Ben was a leader on issues of environmental sustainability, financial accountability, and community engagement. While President of the Board, Ben helped shepherd through a successful $385 million bond measure that is set to upgrade District facilities using cutting-edge environmental best practices and create good new local jobs. He helped lead the negotiations for the District with the City of Santa Monica that increased and stabilized City funding for the schools and has supported efforts to ensure that the District provides all students with high-quality educational opportunities regardless of their background or means.

Ben also served on the executive board of the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association, was the Chair of L.A. County’s Committee on School District Organization, and was a delegate to the California Democratic State Convention.   

While in law school, Allen served as a voting member of the University of California Board of Regents and as a judicial clerk with the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Afterwards, Allen was a litigator with the law firm of Bryan Cave LLP and then led the successful Los Angeles launch of The Spark Program, a non-profit organization that connects at-risk middle school students with apprenticeships. He currently serves on Spark’s board.

Prior to his law career, Allen worked for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), and then as communications director for Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY).  He is a senior fellow with the international human rights organization Humanity in Action, is member of a Pacific Council on International Policy, and a graduate of the Jewish Federation's New Leaders Project.  Allen has degrees from Harvard, Cambridge, and UC Berkeley, and he is fluent in Spanish.


Local Positions

  • Member, Board of Education, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, 2008-Present
  • Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce Education Committee
  • Chair, Los Angeles County Office of Education Committee on School Board Organization
  • Los Angeles County School Trustees Association Board of Directors
  • Santa Monica College General Advisory Board
  • SMMUSD Financial Oversight Committee, 2006-2008
  • Santa Monica College Bond Oversight Committee, 2007-2008
  • Volunteer, Measures R and ES
  • Community Organizer, Los Angeles Unified School District, Measure K, Fall 2002

Work Experience

  • Lecturer, UCLA Law School, 2011 - present
  • Attorney, Richardson and Patel LLP, 2011 - present
  • Los Angeles Managing Director / General Counsel, Spark Los Angeles 2010 - 2011
  • Attorney, Bryan Cave, 2008 - 2010
  • Regent, University of California, 2006 - 2008
  • 12th Grade Instructor, Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, 2007 - 2008
  • Judicial Clerk, U.N. International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, 2006
  • Communications Director, U.S. Congressman José E. Serrano (D-NY), 2004 - 2005
  • Development work in Latin America, National Democratic Institute, 2001 - 2004
  • Policy Intern, L.A. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, 1998, 1999
  • Kindergarten and 3rd Grade Teacher, Harvard Hillel Children's School (Hebrew School), 1996-98, 1999-2000


  • UC Berkeley Law School (Boalt Hall)
    JD, research on law and politics of California’s school finance system, 2008
  • Cambridge University
    M.Phil., Latin American Studies, 2001
  • Harvard University, BA
    magna cum laude, History, 2000 (study abroad-Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City, Mexico)