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UNM Law Semester in DC

Alumni in Washington DC

Begun in 2012, the UNM Law Semester in DC has blossomed into an exciting program that allows six UNM Law School students to study and to work in Washington DC for a full semester under the guidance of a law professor who oversees their intern placements and conducts a weekly seminar that brings distinguished lawyers, judges and government officials to share their expertise with the students. The guest speakers in the fall of 2019 included:   Mr. Adam Oler, Professor of Law and Strategy at the National War College; Mr. Omar Ashmawy, the chief ethics counsel to the House of Representatives; Mr. Jameison Greer, the chief of staff and deputy general counsel to the United States Trade Commissioner; and Judge Katherine Oler, the chief special master of U.S. Vaccine Court.

The impetus for the program came from UNM Law grads who now live and work in Washington.  They form a truly wonderful and impressive community in the Washington, DC area, who are eager to give back to the law school by helping our students when they are in the Nation's Capital. Our alumni have been instrumental in ensuring that students participating the DC Program feel welcome, become easily acclimated to the city, and are well- supported. Each student is paired with 2 or 3 mentors who meet periodically with the students and provide invaluable insights and guidance that enhance the students’ educational experience. 

In the past, generous alumni/ae have made annual contributions to the program to help defray the living expenses of students attending the Semester in DC Program. In 2018, an anonymous donor and others endowed an annual partial scholarship for each student enrolled in the Semester in DC program to honor Sally and Professor Ted Occhialino, who were instrumental in supporting the Semester in DC program in its early years.

The law school has a significant presence in the Washington, DC metro area, and our mark on national policies and legal developments there will only increase as our program continues to grow and attract eager students to participate fully in all the program has to offer.  Students returning to the classroom at the end of their DC Semester share their experiences and insights with classmates and professors, enriching the educational experience at the law school.  Many of them will bring the knowledge they gained in the nation’s capital to the state capital where they will serve in the Legislature, the courts or in the executive branch of New Mexico government.