Professor Yael Zakai Cannon
Associate Professor of Law (On Leave)
B.A., 2002, University of Maryland
J.D., 2005, Stanford Law School
Member of the California and District of Columbia Bars
Yael Zakai Cannon joined the UNM law faculty in fall 2012. Prior to coming to UNM, she was a practitioner-in-residence at the American University Washington College of Law, where she taught and supervised law students in the Disability Rights Law Clinic, and served as acting director of that clinic for the 2011-2012 academic year.
She also taught Juvenile Law: Children’s Legal Rights. Cannon co-chaired the District of Columbia Special Education Advocates Roundtable, and trained court-appointed lawyers in the District of Columbia Family Court on special education law and mental health advocacy on behalf of children.
Before teaching law, Cannon worked as a senior attorney with the Health Access Project at The Children’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., where she represented parents and caregivers in special education, school discipline, access to health care, public benefits, family law and housing cases as part of a medical-legal collaborative with Children’s National Medical Center.
She also managed a special education pro bono project, and served as a policy attorney at The Children’s Law Center, advocating for systemic reform in the child welfare, mental health and education systems in the District of Columbia. Cannon has also taught as an adjunct professor with the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Cannon’s research interests focus on children’s law, and in particular the educational and health needs of children living in poverty.
Community Lawyering Clinic
Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum. Pre- or co-requisite: Ethics.
Summer 2013--Prof. Aliza Organick, Prof. Sarah Steadman
Fall 2013--Prof. Yael Cannon, Prof. Sarah Steadman
Spring 2014--Prof. Carol Suzuki, Prof. Camille Carey
The Community Lawyering Clinic provides outreach legal services in partnership with local community service providers, including non-legal disciplines. Through the Medical/Legal Alliance for Children (MLAC) the Clinic has entered into a strategic alliance (the nation’s first) with the Pediatrics Department of the UNM Health Sciences Center. MLAC law students represent children, caregivers, and families to address non-biological factors affecting children’s health including food, housing, education, physical safety (domestic violence), caregivers’ relationships and conflicts over custodial rights, immigration status, involvement in the criminal justice system, and availability of healthcare and other benefits. Students represent clients in Family Court, Children’s Court (juvenile delinquency), and other venues as necessary. In addition to the MLAC, the Community Lawyering Clinic collaborates with PB&J Family Services, the NM Public Defender and organizations serving families of incarcerated and addicted individuals, seniors, and HIV-positive people. Students work under law professor supervision and on interdisciplinary teams when appropriate. Clients include speakers of English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.
Students having specific questions about the Community Lawyering Clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Cannon, Carey, Organick, Steadman, or Suzuki.
Yael Cannon, Michael Gregory & Julie Waterstone, A Solution Hiding in Plain Sight: Special Education and Better Outcomes for Students with Social, Emotional, And Behavioral Challenges, 41 Fordham Urb. L.J. 403 (Dec. 2013).
There's No Place Like Home: Realizing the Vision of Community-Based Mental Health Treatment for Children, DePaul Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 4, 2012.
Who's the Boss?: The Need for Thoughtful Identification of the Client(s) in Special Education Cases American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2011.
Chapters in Books
Remedies inSpecial Education Advocacy, (Ruth Colker & Julie Waterstone, eds., Lexis 2011)
Initiating a Special Education Case inSpecial Education Advocacy, (Ruth Colker & Julie Waterstone, eds., Lexis 2011) (co-authored with Laura Rinaldi)