Keith Wattley, Founder and Executive Director, received his B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University and his J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law. He has been advocating for the rights of people in prison and parolees for nearly twenty years. Prior to launching UnCommon Law in 2006, Keith was a staff attorney at the Prison Law Office, a nonprofit law firm in Berkeley. He has represented thousands of people in prison in impact litigation and individual matters involving mental health care, gang validation, religious freedom, prison infirmaries, medical care, excessive force, visitation, parole consideration and parole revocation. He has also trained hundreds of lawyers, law students and others in prisoner and parole advocacy.
Keith is co-chair of the Institutional Review Board (human subjects committee) for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. He was also a member of the Founding Board of Directors for the Prison University Project (San Quentin’s College Program) and a member of the Board of Directors for Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. Keith is currently a Lecturer in Law at UCLA School of Law and UC Berkeley School of Law, where he supervises the Post-Conviction Advocacy Project. Keith was a co-recipient (with California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno) of Santa Clara University School of Law’s 2009 Social Justice and Human Rights Award, and was awarded the 2016 Kathi Pugh Award for Exceptional Mentorship from UC Berkeley School of Law. In 2018, Keith was selected as one of the Obama Foundation’s inaugural Fellows, recognizing his unique legal model and vision for representing people convicted of violent crimes in their parole hearings.