Photo of Cristal Brisco
Cristal Brisco


“I get my power, joy, and happy place from helping others.”

In reflecting on her life Cristal Brisco observes that being the youngest of four “molded me” because it was as if “I had three dads and two moms.”  Growing up around a bevy of caring and concerned adults, Cristal “always had people supporting me and guiding me to make the right decisions.” They were constantly “drilling into me that I can be whatever I want to be.”

Cristal grew up in Gary, Indiana and spent her early years in Catholic schools surrounded by messages based on the social justice perspective of helping others, giving to the poor, and making the world a better place. These early influences “shaped me, who I am and who I’m becoming.” Cristal describes herself as a “daughter, wife, mother, friend, member of the community” and says “my life is all about those things.”

Cristal attended the University of Notre Dame Law School with thoughts of practicing law in the criminal justice system. However, she eventually decided to “make change in other ways” and worked in Indianapolis gaining the hands-on experience she now uses in South Bend. She describes her return to South Bend as “the best decision of my life.”

Upon meeting her future boss, Pete Buttigieg, she became very impassioned by what he is doing. She wanted to do more in the community so she left the private practice of law and became Corporation Counsel for the City of South Bend. She now impacts the community through “policy and sharing my voice.” She is “able to make recommendations for local laws that will shape this community now and into the future.”  Cristal sums up her position with the statement: “What better way to make change than as corporation counsel in a city with a progressive administration.”

  • Lawyers of Color Hot List of Lawyers under 40
  • St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce 40 under 40
  • Rising Star, Indiana Super Lawyers
  • Up and Coming Lawyer, Indiana Lawyer
  • Participant, Indiana State Bar Association Leadership Development Academy
  • Participant, St. Joseph County Leadership Program
  • Board member, United Way of St. Joseph County
  • Member, Robert A. Grant Inn of Court
  • Board member, University of Notre Dame Law Association
  • Board member, St. Joseph County Boys and Girls Club
  • Corporation Counsel, City of South Bend

Information compiled from oral history collected by The Michiana Women Leaders Project

Cristal was honored in 2016 at Celebrating Michiana Women Leaders.