As an undergraduate at the University of New Mexico, Lynn Slade envisioned himself as an economics professor. He majored in economics and minored in political science. When he finally admitted that he was terrible at math, he shifted his direction and headed to law school.
"Law struck me as interesting and open-ended," he says. "I'm sure my eighth-grade civics teacher at Jefferson Middle School, who first exposed me to law, also played a role."
After graduating from the UNM School of Law in 1966, Slade joined the firm of Modrall, Sperling, Harris, Roehl & Sisk and has remained there ever since. Having been a member of the National Moot Court team in school, he looked forward to a career as a litigator.
Through the years, his practice has focused on natural resources, environmental, water, oil and gas and Indian law. Most recently, he has increased his work in Indian law, an area that he personally finds fascinating. He chairs the firm's 10-member Indian law group.
"Early on, I researched a fascinating and insoluble case that involved litigation with the Jicarilla Apaches and Navajos and discovered there were a lot of unresolved issues in Indian law," he says. "Tribes were just beginning to change the conception of what they were."
He has been involved in six cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, most concerning tribal jurisdiction over new members.
"I have enjoyed the complex transactions, being able to reconcile tribes' desire for sovereignty with my clients' interests," he says.
Q: What was your favorite class in law school?
A: Federal jurisdiction with Ted Occhialino. It tied together a lot of things from different classes and definitely has done me the most good in practice.
Q: Who was your favorite professor?
A: Joe Goldberg. He was interesting, provocative and entertaining.
Q: What law would you like to see thrown out?
A: The laws defining detainees' rights at Guantanamo Bay.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: FOUNDING BROTHERS by Joseph Ellis.
Q: If you weren't a lawyer, what would be your dream job?
A: An architect. People, aesthetics, function.
Q: What do you like best about your job?
A: I've never been bored a day. The work changes constantly and I'm dealing with problems that are interesting to me.