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Professor Yael Zakai Cannon

Yael Zakai Cannon

Associate Professor of Law
B.A., 2002, University of Maryland
J.D., 2005, Stanford Law School
Member of the California and District of Columbia Bars


Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-0620
 Fax.: 505-277-1597
 Office: 2526


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.



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)