Yulise Reaves Waters, Esq.
Assistant City Attorney and Community Courts Prosecutor
Yulise Reaves Waters, Esq., is an Assistant City Attorney and Community Courts Prosecutor for the City of Dallas. In this capacity, Waters works to “proactively improve public safety and the quality of life within the City of Dallas.” She is also co-founder and lead planner of the Second Chance Community Improvement Program Court (S.C.C.I.P.), the first-ever felony community court in Dallas County awarded a 2016 Community Court Grant Program Award from the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance in partnership with the Center for Court Innovation. Prior to assuming her role with the City of Dallas, she was partner in Cox Waters, P.L.L.C., a boutique Dallas law firm specializing in family law, collaborative practice and mediation. A frequent speaker, Waters has delivered numerous presentations before church, civic, collegiate, corporate, and legal bodies on topics of interest ranging from models for effective communication to restorative justice.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas, Waters earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English (magna cum laude) and in Spanish (magna cum laude) and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior and Business Policy (magna cum laude). As a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, SMU’s highest academic scholarship, Waters lived in Madrid, Spain, and studied at La Fundacíon de José Ortega y Gasset. Waters is a proficient Spanish speaker. She was awarded the SMU Department of English’s Shakespeare Prize, and she was named the Senior Woman of the Year of the Cox School of Business and Senior Woman of the Year of SMU (Overall).
Waters earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the Dedman School of Law at SMU. At Dedman, she served as Vice President of the SMU Black Law Students Association during which time the chapter was named Chapter of the Year by the National Black Law Students Association. She holds memberships in the American Bar Association, the State Bar of Texas, and the Texas Association of Drug Court Professionals. Waters holds certifications in Texas Risk Assessment System and in Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED), and she has completed additional training at the Caruth Police Leadership Institute.
A committed community servant, Waters is the former project manager of the City of Dallas’ Child Protective Service Collaborative Project. With her former law partner, the late Gay G. Cox, she co-authored the ground-breaking article “Penetrating the Walls: Overcoming Barriers to the Proliferation of Collaborative Practice in Underserved Communities” in The Collaborative Review: Journal of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Her keen insights on the American justice system have been featured in interviews with national media and in commentary in the Dallas Morning News.
A Dallas Public Voices Fellow, Waters was named to the Dallas Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Class of 2016 of young professionals representing “innovation and excellence in their fields”. Waters’ name has twice been added to the City of Dallas’ Wall of Honor for meritorious service to the citizens of Dallas. She has been named “One-to-Watch” by SMU Magazine, listed as a “Featured Graduate” of SMU Dedman Law by The Quad Magazine, and she is a recipient of the History Maker Award of the Black Alumni of SMU, their highest honor. The founding organizer of the Jefferson Boulevard Business Alliance, Waters has also been recognized by the Oak Cliff Community Development Corporation for her efforts to revitalize the Oak Cliff community of Dallas.
Waters is married to the Reverend Dr. Michael W. Waters, founder and Senior Pastor of Joy Tabernacle A.M.E. Church in Dallas, Texas. They are the proud parents of three children: Michael Jeremiah, 10, Hope Yulise, 7, and Liberty Grace, 5.