It didn’t take Pam Lambert long to find her career path after earning her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 1984. After clerking for U.S. District Judge Santiago Campos (`53) and then moving to Washington, D.C., where she was a staff attorney with the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, she returned to Albuquerque in 1987 and joined the staff of the Institute of Public Law (IPL). In May 2011, she became interim director.
As an IPL staff attorney, she worked on whatever projects came through the door, which typically involved health law and ethics, the environment and regulations. Among her early assignments, she provided legal services for the State Health Policy Commission, for whom she advised on confidentiality and privacy issues in health legislation. She also addressed the legal issues surrounding the City of Albuquerque’s Groundwater Protection Plan and in partnership with the UNM Counsel’s Office provided legal analysis of conflicts of interest in sponsored research.
After the Rozier E. Sanchez Judicial Education Center of New Mexico (JEC) was established in 1991, Lambert became more involved with its mission of providing education and training to the judges, administrators and other staff of the New Mexico judicial branch. In 2006, she took over as director. At the same time, she became associate director of IPL.
“Training non-lawyer judges and judicial staff across New Mexico is the best job ever,” said Lambert, who continues to lead the JEC, along with heading up IPL. “I enjoy hearing about their educational needs and developing programs in response to that. These people are very dedicated and committed to their jobs and I like working with them.”
Since taking over the leadership at the JEC, Lambert worked to improve the delivery of training to the state’s far-flung judiciary. The JEC sponsors an annual training, but also offers monthly trainings via video conferencing for the state’s magistrates. In an effort to “go green”, supporting materials for most JEC trainings are provided online rather than printed and distributed.
In the past few years, Lambert has brought to Albuquerque semi-annual courses and faculty from the National Judicial College in Nevada. This allows non-lawyer judges in New Mexico to earn credit toward a national certificate from the college.
In her new role as IPL director, Lambert looks forward to continuing the institute’s mission as the public service arm of the UNM School of Law with a renewed emphasis on supporting the law school. She already is working to improve the efficiency of IPL by streamlining its organization into four centers: the JEC, the Children’s Law Center, the Utton Transboundary Resources Center and the Regulatory Programs and Training Center.
“It’s an important service IPL provides to the law school and the state and I look forward to helping us navigate the changes ahead,” she said.