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University of New Mexico School of Law

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Title: University of New Mexico School of Law  
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Subject: University of New Mexico, Clarence Bass, Hector Balderas, Kim Coco Iwamoto, Nate Gentry
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University of New Mexico School of Law

University of New Mexico
School of Law
Established 1947
School type Public
Dean David J. Herring
Location Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Enrollment 347[1]
Faculty 34[2] (full time)
USNWR ranking 69[3]
Bar pass rate 92%[4]
ABA profile UNM School of Law Profile
Bratton Hall

The University of New Mexico School of Law is the law school of the University of New Mexico, located in Albuquerque. It is the only law school in the state of New Mexico. Approximately 350 students attend the school, with approximately 115 enrolled in the first-year class. By design, the school has remained this size in order to provide students more hands-on learning and individual attention from professors.[5] Its student-to-faculty ratio of 10.0 is one of the best in the nation.[6] It also has one of the highest student diversity indexes of any law school in the country, with Hispanics as the largest minority group.[7] The National Jurist legal magazine ranked UNM the 6th Best Value among law schools, a ranking based on several criteria including students' average indebtedness after graduation, student employment rates, and tuition costs.[8]

The school is currently ranked 69th by U.S. News & World Report and boasts the 7th ranked Clinical Law program in the country.[9] UNM Law School is one of only 80 law schools nationwide to have a chapter of the Order of the Coif. According to New Mexico's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 72.8% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[10]


Notable Programs

Highly regarded educational programs at the law school include clinical education, Indian law, and natural resources and environmental law. The in-house Clinical Law Program has been consistently recognized as among the country’s best. Though clinical education is optional at most law schools, participation in the clinic is required of all UNM law students.[11] The Indian Law Program includes a specialized program of study leading to a certificate in Indian Law, the Southwest Indian Law Clinic, and the faculty-edited Tribal Law Journal. The Natural Resources and Environmental Law Program includes a specialized program of study leading to a certificate in the field and the student-edited Natural Resources Journal.

The School of Law has a unique relationship with the state government. Under the terms of the Constitution, the Dean of the School of Law has the responsibility of chairing the state's judicial selection process. The Dean also has the statutory responsibility of chairing the state's Judicial Compensation Commission and serving on numerous other boards, committees and commissions. Moreover, the School of Law has the primary responsibility for all judicial education within the state.

Exchange and Study Abroad Programs

Study abroad opportunities are available with special UNM exchange programs in Mexico, Canada, and Tasmania. The law school also has an exchange program with the University of New Hampshire School of Law, which allows UNM students to study patent and intellectual property law at that school.[12]

Joint Degrees

The school offers the following joint degrees:

  • J.D./Master of Public Administration,
  • J.D./M.B.A.,
  • J.D./M.A. in Latin American Studies, and
  • J.D./ M.A. in Accounting

Students may seek other dual programs with permission of the relevant graduate or professional school at the University of New Mexico and the law school.[13]


The School of Law describes its admissions process as follows: A five-member Admissions Committee reviews all applications and makes final decisions on acceptance for admission into the next fall’s entering class. The Committee is three full-time faculty members, the Assistant Dean for Admissions, and one third-year law student elected by the student body. The Committee begins reviewing files near the end of the Fall semester; however, in many instances, a final decision is not made until late April. The Admissions Committee considers quantifiable factors (LSAT and grade point average) and non-quantifiable factors (letters of recommendation, personal statement, and extracurricular activities) in making decisions. A substantial preference is given to New Mexico residents. The Committee also recognizes that special pre-law programs for minority and disadvantaged applicants provide valuable information about an applicant’s ability to succeed in law school, and participation in such programs is taken into account. Applicants will receive email notification when their applications have been received and again when they are complete and ready for review. Applicants will receive decision letters by email.[14]

Centers and Institutes

  • American Indian Law Center, Inc.: an independent center based at the law school that is the oldest existing Indian-controlled and operated legal and public policy organization in the country
  • Guanajuato Summer Law Institute:
  • UNM Mediation Training:
  • UNM Institute of Public Law: a think tank devoted to the development of informed public policy and law for the state of New Mexico.
  • The Utton Transboundary Resources Center: a center specializing in transboundary resource disputes
  • Pre-law Summer Institute: an intensive two-month program run by the AILC at the law school, which prepares American Indian and Alaska Native individuals for the rigors of law school by essentially replicating the first semester of law school.


  • Natural Resources Journal
  • New Mexico Law Review
  • Tribal Law Journal

Competitions and Moot Courts

Students may participate in the following competitions and moot courts at the law school:

  • ABA Negotiation Competition
  • American Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition
  • Animal Law Moot Court Competition
  • Environmental Moot Court Competition
  • Health Law Moot Court Competition
  • Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition
  • Jessup International Moot Court Competition
  • National Mock Trial Competition
  • National Moot Court Competition
  • National Native American Moot Court Competition [15]


In 1971, the law school moved into its current building, designed by the architect [16] In 2002, the law school opened the Fred Hart wing, designed by architect Edward Mazria.[17] [18] The New Mexico Court of Appeals is located on campus, next door to the School of Law. The Court of Appeals and the School of Law have a symbiotic relationship with the judges using the law school's library and the students using the Court of Appeal's formal courtroom. Indeed, the Court of Appeals was designed for this use, with classrooms for law students adjacent to the formal courtroom.[19]


According to New Mexico's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 72.8% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[20] New Mexico's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 23.7%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[21]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at New Mexico for the 2013-2014 academic year is $31,358 or $49,628 for nonresidents.[22] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $120,833 for residents or $192,655 for non-residents.[23]

Notable alumni

  • Judges
    • M. Christina Armijo (Class of 1975), Judge, USDC-NM 2001–present
    • Robert C. Brack (Class of 1978), Judge, USDC-NM 2003–present
    • Juan Guerrero Burciaga (Class of 1963), Judge, USDC-NM 1979-1995, Chief Judge 1989-94
    • Santiago E. Campos (Class of 1953), Judge, USDC-NM 1978-2001, Chief Judge 1987-89
    • Celia Foy Castillo, Chief Judge, New Mexico Court of Appeals
    • Edward L. Chavez, Justice, New Mexico Supreme Court
    • Charles W. Daniels, Chief Justice, New Mexico Supreme Court (also former faculty member)
    • Curtis LeRoy Hansen (Class of 1961), Judge, USDC-NM 1992–present
    • Petra Jimenez Maes, Justice, New Mexico Supreme Court
    • Jimmie V. Reyna (Class of 1978), Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit 2011-present

Notable faculty

  • Dean
    • David Herring
  • Current Faculty
    • George Bach
    • Norman Bay
    • Reed Benson
    • Barbara Bergman
    • Sherri Burr
    • Yael Cannon
    • Camille Carey
    • Jim Ellis
    • Christian G. Fritz
    • Eileen Gauna
    • Laura Gomez
    • Frederick Hart
    • Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
    • Nathalie Martin
    • Max Minzner
    • Margaret Montoya
    • Alex Ritchie
    • Leo M. Romero
    • Rob Schwartz
    • Dawinder S. Sidhu
    • Carol M. Suzuki
    • Kevin Tu
    • Lu-in Wang
    • Peter A. Winograd
    • Christine Zuni Cruz


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ UNM Law website
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ ABA Data for first time takers in New Mexico, Winter 06 and Summer 07
  5. ^ UNM Law School
  6. ^ USNews: America's Best Graduate Schools 2008: Law: New Mexico
  7. ^ USNews: America's Best Graduate Schools 2008: Law
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ "Employment Statistics". 
  11. ^ About the Clinical Program - Clinical Law Programs | UNM School of Law
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ About Admissions - Admissions | UNM School of Law
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Unm Law School Earns Merit Award For Building Addition
  19. ^ Harbert, Nancy (October 1, 2011). "Moot Courtroom Turned into Classroom". UNM Law 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Employment Statistics". 
  21. ^ "New Mexico University Profile". 
  22. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". 
  23. ^ "New Mexico University Profile". 
  24. ^ a b "Chickasaw Nation Ambassador Charles W. Blackwell – a Man of Vision".  
  25. ^ Martin, Douglas. "Paul L. Bloom, Who Tackled Overcharging by Oil Companies, Dies at 70", The New York Times, October 13, 2009. Accessed October 27, 2009.
  26. ^ Pogrebin, Robin (21 January 2008). "Undaunted Director at Indian Museum". The New York Times. 

External links

  • University of New Mexico School of Law
  • UNM Clinical Law Programs

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