Nicolas Cordova

Mr. Cordova works to improve the healthcare system for children and families in New Mexico. Before joining the Center, Mr. Cordova served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Julie J. Vargas in the New Mexico Court of Appeals. During his tenure at the Court, Mr. Cordova worked with judges and other judicial law clerks to resolve complex legal issues and drafted appellate court opinions.
J.D. from University of Colorado Law School in 2018.

Melissa Candelaria

Melissa Candelaria is the Education Director and a member of the plaintiff’s legal team for Yazzie/Martinez v. State of New Mexico. The Center represents families and schools in this landmark lawsuit against the state for failing to provide public school students a sufficient education as guaranteed by the New Mexico State Constitution. Ms. Candelaria has many years of legal, policy, and advocacy experience on a variety of issues including education, health, child welfare, tribal courts, and governmental relations involving tribes and federal, state and local governments, and the promotion and protection of tribal sovereignty. She currently serves as an Oversight Commissioner for the 19 Pueblos District located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is a citizen of the Pueblo of San Felipe.

Ms. Candelaria has a Juris Doctor with a Certificate in Indian Law from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and a B.A. with a Minor in Education from Dartmouth College.

Alisa Diehl

Alisa Diehl joined the Center in June 2020 as a senior education attorney, and a member of the legal team for the Yazzie plaintiffs in Yazzie/Martinez vs. State of New Mexico.

Before joining NMCLP, Ms. Diehl worked as a staff attorney for Iowa Legal Aid, focusing on unemployment benefits, housing, and domestic abuse litigation. She recently served as Iowa Legal Aid’s Program Developer to coordinate the launch of multiple free legal clinics throughout the state. In 2013, Ms. Diehl received the University of Iowa College of Law’s Jurisprudence Award for Academic Excellence. Prior to law school, Ms. Diehl worked as an immigration legal assistant in Chicago, and spent time volunteering in India.

J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2013.

Verenice Peregrino Pompa

Verenice joins our Public Benefits team after completing her two-year language access fellowship at the Center, which ended in August of 2021.  After working with community partners to advance language access services at state agencies, she will continue to push for language access in her new role as it relates to public benefits and the Center’s work as a whole. She will also continue to partner with community organizations to remove barriers to public benefits, focusing on child care assistance, increasing food security, and immigrant issues. Verenice was born in rural Chihuahua, Mexico, and grew up in the San Luis Valley of Colorado. While in law school she was the Multicultural Relations Editor/Managing Editor of UNM’s Tribal Law Journal and the president of the Mexican American Law Students Association (MALSA).
J.D. from University of New Mexico School of Law in May of 2019.

Felipe Guevara

Mr. Guevara works to improve farmworkers’ pay and working conditions, promote worker protections such as paid sick leave, and strengthen public enforcement of the minimum wage and overtime laws in New Mexico.

Before joining the Center, Mr. Guevara worked as a legal fellow for the Workers’ Rights Clinic, a clinical program of the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Mr. Guevara assisted in the supervision of law students enrolled in the U of A Workers’ Rights Clinic, such as supervising policy projects aimed at changing statewide and national discourses on employment matters. Mr. Guevara also supervised and provided “Know Your Rights” outreach workshops for Tucson low-wage workers and other community organizations and advocates.

In his spare time, Mr. Guevara enjoys spending time with his wife and dogs, traveling, and supporting local sports teams.

J.D. from University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law in 2017.

Teague González

Teague González has twelve years of public benefits advocacy experience directly representing homeless and disabled adults and children. She has legislative and campaign advocacy experience in defending public benefits from budget cuts. Teague has worked on-site providing legal services to homeless shelter residents, engaged in mass defense by training law students and volunteer attorneys to represent general assistance recipients at their termination hearings, worked in the county jail representing disabled inmates before their release, and visited youth shelters to assist transitional age homeless youth. Teague formerly worked at the Alameda County Homeless Action Center and was in private practice before joining the Center. Teague was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, and lives in Albuquerque with her husband and two children.
J.D. from New College of California School of Public Interest Law in 2006

Stephanie Welch

Ms. Welch works to strengthen public enforcement of the minimum wage and overtime laws in New Mexico, promote worker protections such as paid sick leave, and improve farmworkers’ pay and working conditions. Prior to joining the Center, she worked as a supervising attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, where she represented farmworkers in federal litigation and advocated for the civil rights of border residents.

J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 2006.

Lindsay Cutler

Lindsay Cutler is an attorney on NMCLP’s Economic Equity team, where she focuses on predatory lending and debt collection reform. Lindsay joined the Center in 2017 as a Public Service Law Fellow focused on addressing high-cost lending in New Mexico. Prior to attending law school, Lindsay worked in the Laguna Pueblo and Albuquerque Public Schools as a family engagement coordinator.  During law school, Ms. Cutler externed with the Navajo Nation and DNA-People’s Legal Services, and worked with the National Domestic Workers Alliance through the Community Economic Development Clinic.

J.D. from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.

Maria Griego

Maria Griego is the Director of NMCLP’s Economic Equity Team. She works to expand and protect access to safe and affordable housing in New Mexico and to eliminate unjust fines and fees imposed by the legal system. Maria has been at the Center for 6 years. She previously worked on both the Healthcare and Public Benefits teams where she focused on improving hospital financial aid policies and increased access to child care assistance and Medicaid. Prior to joining the Center, Maria practiced in the area of family law and served as a volunteer family court settlement facilitator, helping parents reach mutual custody agreements in the best interest of their children.

J.D. from University of New Mexico School of Law.

Sovereign Hager

Ms. Hager has more than 10 years of experience working to advance economic and social justice. In the last five years, as an attorney at the Center, she worked extensively to increase access to public benefits in state and federal court, as well as in community, administrative, and legislative forums. She is an established expert in New Mexico on the complex regulatory framework for public benefits programs, eligibility for families that include immigrants and frequently provides expert testimony to the legislature. Ms. Hager has secured major court victories on behalf of her clients to increase access to food and medical assistance, drivers’ licenses, and other programs.

Before joining the Center, Ms. Hager worked for two years on the Navajo Nation for DNA People’s Legal Services’ Medical Legal Partnership, where she handled a broad range of legal issues impacting the health of patients at an Indian Health Service facility. Her advocacy included public benefits, domestic violence, special education, housing, consumer and workers’ rights. Ms. Hager has past advocacy experience working to improve farmworker pay and living conditions and enforcing fair housing laws.

J.D. and MA from Syracuse University in 2011.