Waterfall, Kelly K.

Kelly K. Waterfall

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Practice Areas:

  • Civil Rights
  • Children's Law

Biography

Kelly Waterfall has been an associate with the firm since 2017. Her practice focuses on civil rights and children’s law. She is licensed to practice law in the State of New Mexico and the United States District Court in the District of New Mexico.

Kelly graduated cum laude from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2005, where she was the recipient of the Jerrold L. Walden Memorial Award, Clinical Honors Award and Bondurant Merit Scholarship. She was also a 2004 Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Fellow. She published the comment State v. Muniz: Authorizing Adult Sentencing of Juveniles Absent a Conviction that Authorizes an Adult Sentence in the New Mexico Law Review, arguing for a change to the New Mexico Delinquency Act that was adopted in 2005.

Kelly began her legal career as a solo practitioner, working as a subcontractor for Pegasus Legal Services for Children to represent children and youth as a guardian ad litem and youth attorney in child welfare and custody matters. She also represented grandparents and other family members in kinship guardianship proceedings.  Kelly worked with attorneys at Pegasus Legal Services for Children and other community stakeholders on drafting proposed legislative changes to the Children’s Code, which were adopted in 2007and 2009. She has served on the boards of the Children’s Justice Act Advisory Group and the Children’s Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico.

In 2010 Kelly began working as an associate at the Law Office of Peter Cubra, representing people with mental disabilities in a federal class action lawsuit and in other civil rights cases in federal court. While part of the Cubra firm she also represented adjudicated delinquent children and youth committed to juvenile facilities in a class action law suit against the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department.

Since joining this firm Kelly has continued to represent individuals with mental disabilities in McClendon, Jimmy, et al. v. City of Albuquerque, et al., CV 95-24 JP/KBM. She began working on this case in 2010, participating in all aspects of litigation, settlement negotiations and monitoring of compliance with federal consent decrees. Kelly was also part of a team of attorneys and advocacy organizations that filed and recently settled Kevin S., et al. v. Blalock, et al., CV18-896 KWR/LF. The settlement is designed to improve the treatment of children in New Mexico’s foster care system. For more information about this settlement see: https://kevinssettlement.com/.

Prior to law school Kelly worked and volunteered in the fields of child development and art. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in 1988, where she graduated with University Highest Honors and was awarded the Bronze Tablet. Kelly grew up in Chicago, but has called New Mexico home since 1993.

Current Employment Position

  • Associate, 2017

Past Positions

  • Pegasus Legal Services, Sub Contractor
  • Law Office of Peter Cubra, Associate

Representative Cases

  • McClendon, Jimmy, et al. v. City of Albuquerque, et al., CIV 95-24 JP/KBM
  • Kevin S., et al. v. Blalock, et al., CV18-896 KWR/LF

Professional Associations

  • Children’s Law Section of the State Bar of New Mexico
  • National Association of Council for Children

Education

  • University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, New Mexico
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Honors: Jerrold L. Walden Memorial Award
    • Honors: Clinical Honors Award
    • Honors: 2004 Bergstrom Child Welfare Law Fellow
    • Honors: Bondurant Merit Scholarship
  • University of Illinois
    • Honors: Highest Honors and was awarded the Bronze Tablet

Bar Admissions

  • New Mexico
  • U.S. District Court District of New Mexico

Published Works

  • State v. Muniz: Authorizing Adult Sentencing of Juveniles Absent a Conviction that Authorizes an Adult Sentence