Cindy Lovato-Farmer wasn't even out of law school when she won her first case and ended up presenting oral argument before the New Mexico Supreme Court. She had taken on a quiet title action stemming from the purchase of land at a property tax sale during her clinical rotation.
After winning summary judgment at the district court, the case was appealed and with the support of Professor Chuck DuMars, she completed the appellate work along with a fellow student and took the case to the Supreme Court as an independent study.
"I argued before the Supreme Court one week, graduated from law school the next week and got married the following week," she says. "Arguing before the Supreme Court a week before graduation was such an incredible experience."
Lovato, who was born and raised at San Juan Pueblo, had been planning a career in journalism until she spent a summer working for the Associated Press in Albuquerque. She found that rather than remain neutral at meetings, she wanted to jump up and voice her opinion.
The following year, she enrolled at the UNM School of Law. Throughout law school, she focused on water law, earning her J.D. in 1993. She spent the next two-and-one-half years clerking for U.S. District Judge Martha Vasquez, during which she discovered how much she enjoyed employment law.
She joined the Albuquerque firm of Dines, Wilson & Gross, where she developed an employment law practice, which she continued to build at the Narvaez Law Firm.
"I found it incredibly interesting and complex, very challenging," she says.
Shortly before her daughter was born in 2002, Lovato-Farmer joined Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Employment Law and Litigation group, which she now heads.
Three years ago, she joined the Board of Directors of the UNM School of Law Alumni/ae Association and enjoys being reconnected to the school.
Throughout her career, Lovato-Farmer has received support from law professors and mentors in the profession, helping her develop as a lawyer. Now, whenever possible, she returns the support to students in northern New Mexico seeking advice on law school.
"Their enthusiasm is catching," she says. "And building relationships at an early level only adds to the state's small legal community. After all, students today are lawyers tomorrow."
Q: What was your favorite class in law school?
A: Property; it made sense to me. The reason why was Em Hall. I loved his teaching style and he was always positive and supportive.
Q: Who was your favorite teacher?
A: Em Hall and Chuck DuMars. They were both very supportive and encouraging.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: LISEY'S STORY by Stephen King.It was a book on tape, which is all I have time for; I listen during my commute to Los Alamos from Santa Fe.
Q: If you weren't a lawyer, what would be your dream job?
A: I love being a lawyer. My dream job would be having no commute.
Q: What do you do in your spare time?
A: I spend time with my husband and 5-year-old daughter and run. I'm training for my first half marathon.
Q: What do you like best about being a lawyer?
A: I have never been bored. I find the work challenging and interesting.