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November/December 2022
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visits UNM School of Law to deliver the Sen. Dennis Chavez Lecture

In September, the Law School was honored to welcome alumna U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland as the featured speaker of the 2022 U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez Lectureship in Law and Civil Rights. Jorge Tristani, the grandson of the late senator, kicked off the event with a speech honoring his grandfather.
The Chavez/Tristani family established the lecture series to celebrate and keep alive the extraordinary legacy of Dennis Chavez, one of New Mexico’s most influential U.S. Senators during the mid-20th century. Sen. Chavez is remembered as a pivotal and early advocate of civil rights legislation.
Secretary Deb Haaland has many firsts in her political career. She was the first Native American to serve as a cabinet secretary, the first Native American woman to be elected to lead a State Party, and one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress.
A special thanks to the Chavez/Tristani family for their continued support of the UNM School of Law and to Madame Secretary for giving back to her alma mater. If you missed the lecture, watch it on YouTube.
The Border Justice Initiative Launches its Inaugural Border Justice Fellowship
The UNM School of Law has launched its inaugural Border Justice Fellowship Program, a key component of the school’s Border Justice Initiative focused on ensuring the legal system’s just treatment of immigrants at the U.S. southern border. Jorge Rodriguez, a recent UNM School of Law graduate, was selected to serve as the program’s first fellow and will be working with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas. The two-year Border Justice Fellowship is the result of a partnership between the UNM School of Law and the Jacqueline Marie Leaffer Foundation. Professor April Land calls the Fellowship an “excellent example of a public-private partnership for the benefit of those in greatest need.” She explains, “We are excited to have the chance to expand the quantity and quality of legal services to people in underserved immigrant communities as a result of the generous donation of the JML Foundation, the hard work and commitment of our graduates who work and supervise in this area, and the support of our Law School community.”  

To read more about the Fellowship Program and the Border Justice Initiative, visit
Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project for 2022-23
Our law school alum and former Marshall-Brennan participant Lalita Moskowitz (’18) is directing the program this year and teaching the fall seminar Public Education and the Constitution. Moskowitz is the Litigation Manager at the ACLU of NM.
This year the program has 17 upper-level law students teaching in seven area high schools (Atrisco Heritage, Belen, Bernalillo, Highland, South Valley Academy, Valley, and West Mesa) for the entire fall semester. Several of the fellows are either teaching at their own high schools or at high schools in the communities where they grew up. This year's fellows include:
Sophia Bunch
Alexandria Charney
Lauren Earls
Alejandria Gallegos
Holly Gallegos
Shylah Gonzalez
Carson Thornton Gonzalez
Diego Guerrerortiz
Justin Lauriano
Isabelle Lopez
Abby Lutz
Mary Helen Pavlides
Miguel Quintana
Alexis Salas
Sage Wagner
Jordan Velasquez
Grace Wilmeth
Thank you to our fellows for educating high school students about constitutional law and providing them a glimpse at advocacy and career possibilities in the law.
UNM Law Students Take 3rd Place in UNM Tech Navigator Challenge

Aaron Goodshore (3L) and William Hancock (3L) competed in the Spring 2022 Tech Navigator Competition. 

Their project focused on a coal ash cleaning process to extract rare earth metals. This method is cleaner because it uses citric acid and high pressurization, as opposed to previous methods that relied on incredibly toxic chemicals. They pitched the project as turning coal ash into coal cash. They cited their knowledge of EPA regulations and environmental laws as the edge that would allow them to make the model profitable. Moreover, they discussed environmental justice, citing the massive amounts of coal ash and mining dumps foisted onto native lands.
The duo won third place overall and were the winners of $3,000. Congratulations to Aaron and William!
UNM Law Students Will Be First Participants in the Community Governance Attorney Program

3Ls Victoria Lovato and Elisabeth Gutierrez have been selected to participate in the Community Governance Attorney Program after graduation. The program, established through legislation in 2019, provides students with a tuition waiver for their third year when they commit to work for Legal Aid after graduation. Lovato will clerk for NM Supreme Court Justice David K. Thomson prior to starting the program. At Legal Aid, Gutierrez and Lovato will provide legal services for acequias, land grants, and low-income residents of colonias. Both have a history with land grants and acequias and are looking forward to working in the field after graduation.

Congratulations to Elisabeth and Victoria!

  • Quoted in an article by the L.A. Times on the Alec Baldwin case
  • Interviewed for an episode of Young Lawyer Rising titled “Breaking Barriers: Women in Criminal Law”
  • Coordinated and moderated a panel for the ABA Criminal Justice Section titled “How to Leverage Courtroom Experience in Criminal Law into Reform Work”
  • Taught an audience of 60 prospective law students discussing Students for Fair Admissions v. UNC.
  • Served on a panel at the SALT Law Annual Conference in Chicago titled “Teaching Dobbs Across the Curriculum."
  • Participated in the “Conference on Values, Ethics, and Shared Decision-Making"

  • Quoted by KUNM in a news article and a radio broadcast about rent control
  • Taught a clinical class for law students and professors in Ukraine on how to use facts in client representation
  • Presented to the Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing working groups of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness about landlord-tenant law
  • Participated in the “Conference on Values, Ethics, and Shared Decision-Making"

  • Mentioned in a New York Times article on affirmative action
  • Attended oral arguments in the two affirmative action cases in the Supreme Court
  • Coauthored an op-ed in the Boston Globe Emancipator about affirmative action cases
  • Spoke at the “Race and the Public Intellectual Series” at Fordham University
  • Interviewed on WNCU Legal Eagle podcast regarding the affirmative action cases coming before the Supreme Court
  • Spoke about the upcoming affirmative action cases at a conference sponsored by the Society of American Law Teachers and the National Lawyers Guild 
  • Spoke about affirmative action in higher education at the University of Kentucky College of Law
  • Spoke at UNM’s Main Campus at the Asian American Pacific Islander Resource Center about Critical Race Theory

  • Interviewed by KRQE about whether the federal government could take land through eminent domain for the construction of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project

  • Interviewed by Yahoo! Finance about how AI technology has unintentionally codified existing racial bias
  • Her scholarship was highlighted by the Stanford University Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence Law, Policy, and AI Briefing of 2022
  • Guest lectured at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville for a course entitled “Intro to Machine Learning”
  • Her article, “The Midas Touch: Atuahene’s ‘Stategraft’ and the Implications of Unregulated Artificial Intelligence,” was accepted for publication by the NYU Law Review Online

  • Recently published “Commander-in-Chief Authority and the Religious Rights of Service Members in Crisis Times” in the Louisiana Law Review
  • Interviewed by news radio KKOB about the Gubernatorial race in New Mexico

  • Interviewed by KOB regarding a Santa Fe moratorium on new short-term rentals that are offered through Airbnb 
  • Served on a panel at the SALT Law Annual Conference titled “Teaching Dobbs Across the Curriculum"

  • Presented to the Rapid Rehousing and Permanent Supportive Housing working groups of the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness about landlord-tenant law

  • Authored an op-ed for the Writers on the Range syndicate examining the stream access rulings in the Rocky Mountain states, which has been published by several newspapers  
  • Has an article that will be featured in American Law Institute for its ALI Adviser Blog
  • Serving as Co-Chair of the Foundation for Natural Resources and Energy Law’s annual Water Law Institute  

  • Quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican about the ongoing opioid lawsuit against Walgreens in New Mexico

  • Assembled a panel discussion at the Tenth Circuit Bench and Bar Conference entitled “Credit, Class, Race, and Bankruptcy”

  • Served as a panelist for the Mercer Law Review symposium, “Past is Prologue: Legal Narratives and the Law’s Potential for Justice and Injustice”

  • Presented “Supporting a Just Transition to a Zero-Carbon, Climate Resilient Economy” in the UNM Faculty Lightning Lounge

  • Cited in an article published in volume 75 of the Florida Law Review 

  • Presented a work-in-progress at the faculty workshop series at the University of Wisconsin Law School titled “The Enigma of the Pro-Trump Mexican American”
  • Quoted in Kyle Paoletta’s article, “How the Border Went MAGA” in New York Magazine 

  • Appointed to the ABA Committee on Tribal Lands which "explores issues related to indigenous peoples and the intersection of justice and sovereignty, tribal lands, political status, and individual rights”

  • Appointed to the ABA Committee on Tribal Lands which "explores issues related to indigenous peoples and the intersection of justice and sovereignty, tribal lands, political status, and individual rights”
Peter Kierst (‘84)
The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico commended retiring professor Peter Kierst during their full senate meeting on Wednesday, Oct 26. The senate unanimously passed a commendation officially honoring Kierst, a political science professor, for his accomplishments at UNM and in New Mexico. Kierst will retire at the end of this semester after 17 years of being a full-time faculty member, according to the commendation.
Congratulations on this recognition and your retirement, Professor Kierst!
Denali Wilson (’20)

Alumna Denali Wilson (’20) was quoted in the Las Cruces Sun article 'Hear me out'
and featured on the Sun's podcast along with fellow alumna & ACLU colleague Lalita Moskowitz ('18). Wilson discussed the clients she represents through the ACLU who seek hearings to determine whether they may be eligible for early release after serving many years for crimes they committed as children. This is a continuation of work Wilson began during her time as a student at UNM Law.
Photo by Meg Potter, Sun-News.
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John Field Simms, Sr.
Memorial Lectureship in Law
Featured Speaker: Yale Law Professor Cristina Rodriguez
Post-Lecture Reception

Registration available soon.