Kelly Waterfall (Attorney)

Practicing Since 2005

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. Kelly continues to represent individuals with mental or developmental disabilities in McClendon, Jimmy, et al. v. City of Albuquerque, et al., CIV 95-24 JP/KBM, participating in all aspects of litigation, settlement negotiations and monitoring of compliance with federal consent decrees.

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.