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Professor Marsha Baum

Marsha Baum

Emeritus Professor of Law
Pamela B. Minzner Chair in Professionalism

B.A. 1979, University of Rochester
M.S. in Library Service 1982, Columbia University
J.D. 1985, SUNY at Buffalo
Member of the New York Bar


Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-5653
 Office: 3213


Marsha Baum teaches a broad range of first-year and upper-level courses in intellectual property and commercial law including Copyright Law, Information Technology and the Law, Sales, and Payment Systems, as well as teaching Ethics and two courses which relate directly to her scholarship, Animal Law and Weather in U.S. Law and Society. She also oversees the Animal Law Moot Court team. She previously has taught Advanced Legal Research, Legal Research I and II, and Legal Writing. 

Baum joined the faculty in 1997 as UNM Law Library Director, bringing with her nearly 20 years of experience gained from working in academic law libraries across the country. In 2003, she stepped down to return to full-time teaching. She came to the UNM law school from the University of South Carolina where she served as director of its law library and was an associate professor. Her career in the legal academy also included positions at the University of Connecticut, University of Minnesota, and SUNY at Buffalo.

Baum's publications include two award winning books: Internet Surf and Turf (with Barbara Waxer), an undergraduate text on copyright and multimedia, and When Nature Strikes: Weather Disasters and the Law, which is recognized as the first monograph to connect weather and American jurisprudence.

Baum’s research interests, which include legal treatment of animals as well as weather and the law, have taken her to Australia to perform comparative research. Her work has led to invitations to speak at conferences and symposia in Brisbane, Sydney, and Hobart, Tasmania. Baum has presented papers at various conferences in the U.S. and abroad and has provided training on various topics including legal ethics for the New Mexico Bar and law and weather for the American Meteorological Society.

Baum has helped to maintain the UNM School of Law’s exchange program with the University of Tasmania Faculty of Law by teaching a comparative Concepts of Property class in summer school sessions.

She is active in the American Bar Association, the Association of American Law Schools, and the American Meteorological Society.


Animal Ecosystems: Urban, Rural and Wild

In this seminar, students will discuss a series of topics that relate to animals and law in various environments.  The course will cover a wide array of animal law issues, including the legal classification of animals as property, constitutional standing to sue on behalf of animals, environmental impact of legal treatment of animals under the Endangered Species Act and similar federal and state legislation and regulation, laws and enforcement relating to commercial uses of animals, and criminal and civil action that affect animals such as animal anti-cruelty laws and private causes of action such as loss of companionship/emotional distress.  We will address the extent to which the legal system, specific cases, legislation and background cultural values have affected, and will continue to affect, the ways in which judges, administrators, politicians, lawyers, law students, legal scholars, and lay people see, speak about, and treat animals other than humans. This course will focus on the evolution, interpretation, and enforcement of laws relating to the use and treatment of animals in our society, evaluation of whether, how and why such laws should be modified, the possible ramifications of such change, and the practical impact that lawyers can have in representing clients on animal-related issues.  

The course grade will be based on a combination of experiential and research projects and either an exam or a paper.  In the past, experiential projects have included working with local attorneys or organizations on animal-related cases, policies, or legislation.

American Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition

The Giles Sutherland Rich Moot Court Competition of the American Intellectual Property Law Association is an annual competition presenting problems in intellectual property, such as patent appeals.

Web Site

Attorney Barry Berenberg (`07)

Students who are eligible
2L and 3L students only

Dates and timeline overview
Application packets come out in mid-October and will be due a month later.
The regional competition is usually held the third week in March. The team will choose one of the four regional locations – Houston, Chicago, Boston or Silicon Valley.

Try out details
The application will require writing a memo of no more than seven pages and then giving a five-minute presentation based on the memo. Selection will be made based on the combination of these items and will be complete by the end of November.

What to expect
Two teams of two people each will be selected for the competition. Both teams will prepare briefs based on the competition problem. They will meet once or twice a week in January, but students should plan to work on their briefs during December. Briefs must be substantially completed by the fourth Friday in January, when the Notice of Intent to Participate must be submitted to the competition organizers.

Final briefs will be due around the first of February. After the briefs are submitted, practice rounds will begin. Students should plan on at least two rounds per week, with more frequent practices as the competition approaches. Only one team may participate in oral arguments at the regional competition. The team members may decide among themselves who will participate, or the coach will pick a team around mid-February based on performance during the practice rounds.

American Intellectual Property Law Journal

The AIPLA QJ is a publication of the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), one of the largest private bars of intellectual property attorneys in the world, and is designed to promote an exchange of intellectual insight and debate on issues of intellectual property law.

The AIPLA Quarterly Journal enrollment is limited to those students who have successfully competed in the annual national writing competition conducted by the Journal and who have been selected as members of the Journal’s Publication Staff for their second and third years of law school. While the Journal is housed at George Washington’s law school in Washington, D.C., the competition is open to any 1L in any law school in the U.S. Any student from UNM who is selected for the Journal’s Publication Staff must work with a faculty advisor on site at UNM and must complete editing assignments as well as complete an article for publication. For additional information about the competition and the journal, see American Intellectual Property Law Association.

Note that only 1Ls can participate in the competition to serve on the staff of this national journal and that selections of staff members for the AIPLA QJ are made by the Journal’s editorial staff at George Washington University.

See Professor Marsha Baum if you have any questions.

Animal Law

In this course, we will focus on a series of topics that relate to “animal law.” We will address the extent to which the legal system, specific cases, legislation and background cultural values have affected, and will continue to affect, the ways in which judges, administrators, politicians, lawyers, law students, legal scholars, and lay people see, speak about, and treat animals other than humans. This course will focus on the evolution, interpretation, and enforcement of laws relating to the use and treatment of animals in our society, evaluation of whether, how and why such laws should be modified, and the possible ramifications of such change. The course will cover a wide array of animal law issues, including the legal classification of animals as property, loss of companionship/emotional distress, veterinary malpractice, anti-cruelty laws, constitutional standing to sue on behalf of animals, and the development of laws relating to commercial uses of animals.

The course grade will be based on a combination of experiential and research projects or an exam.

Animal Law Moot Court

The Animal Law Moot Court is part of the National Animal Law Competitions. The purpose is to provide law students an opportunity to develop an expertise in animal law and to hone their persuasive abilities as well as their written and oral advocacy techniques in an appellate setting. Previous experience in animal law is not required. The broad subject area of animal law has offered the opportunity for previous teams to consider problems with a focus on administrative law, environmental law, and international law.

The National Animal Law Competitions include a separate closing arguments competition. UNM has fielded a team that competed in both the oral argument and the closing argument competitions in the same year.

Each law school is able to field two teams for the competition. Depending on the level of student interest, an internal competition for selection of the teams may be held.

CALS Center for Animal Law Studies

Coach-Professor Marsha Baum

Eligible Students-2Ls and 3Ls

Dates and Timeline
Mid- to late-September – Solicitation of names of interested students by email from the coach. Interested students will be contacted about an internal competition/team selection process which must be completed prior to the opening of registration. The competition is limited to the first 20 teams to register and fills up quickly so team selection deadlines are critical to ensuring that UNM is awarded slots for the competition.

November – Problem is released.

November-January – Teams must complete briefs for submission.

February – Oral arguments competition at Harvard (This was in early February in 2010 but will be late February in 2011.)

What to Expect
Up to two teams of two people each will be selected to represent UNM at the competition. Each team will prepare a brief based on the competition problem. The brief must be researched, drafted, finalized, properly formatted, printed and submitted by the team without outside guidance. Briefs must be completed by the deadline, which has been early January, meaning that winter break may be needed for work on the brief. Since the brief is a weighted factor in determining if teams move to the semi-finals, the brief is a critical part of the competition.

After submission of the brief, the coach will review the briefs drafted and provide feedback. As soon as the briefs for the competition teams are made available, each UNM team will be required to read all of the briefs submitted by the other teams and to develop counterarguments, outline possible new arguments to include in oral arguments, and critique the arguments on both sides of the issue. Additional research may be required to hone the arguments.

In the first week of classes, the team(s) will begin practice rounds for oral arguments. Practice rounds will be held 4 times per week, times and days dependent on team member schedules. Initial weeks will be practice rounds between the two teams with team members and coach serving as judges. This practice helps to develop arguments and to increase confidence in oral advocacy skills. The final two weeks of practice rounds will be held before panels of lawyers, judges, law professors, and upper level law students who are knowledgeable about the oral advocacy and/or the subject matter at issue. For team members, these final practice rounds focus on knowledge of the relevant law, ability to field questions from a range of judges, and improvement of presentation skills.

Chicago Bar Moot Court Competition

The Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section is hosting its 24th Annual CBA Moot Court Competition in Chicago on November 3, 4 and 5, 2005. Two teams can attend from UNM. All teams prepare a brief by the beginning of October and argue at least four rounds during the competition. The problem topic varies from year to year. The 2004 problem dealt with privilege for a news reporter not revealing a source.

Disabilities Law

This course will provide a general introduction to legal protection of the rights of people with disabilities. The course will focus primarily on federal statutes including the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Fair Housing Act Amendments Act of 1988, but will also consider state protection for the people with disabilities.

Course discussion will concentrate on analysis and application of the law and underlying policies.


We will study the rules governing the professional conduct of lawyers and explore the values of the legal system which justify and explain those rules. Specific subject matter includes: the duties of competence, confidentiality, and loyalty; acquisition and retention of clients (including undertaking representation, advertising, solicitation, and withdrawal from representation); and problems concerning the manner of representation (the "Principle of Professionalism" and "zealous advocacy within the bounds of the law"). Concepts will be illustrated through application of the rules to problems, use of video and audio clips for discussion, supplementary readings, and student presentations of rules and cases related to assigned fact patterns. In addition to the traditional final essay examination, quizzes on various topics, using questions taken directly from the MPRE practice exams, will be given throughout the semester.

Information Tecnology and the Law

This course will include discussion of all aspects of law related to information technology and dissemination of electronic information. Issues such as security of networked information privacy rights in electronic messages, copyright, patent and trademark questions specific to electronic dissemination, computer software protection, licensing agreements, censorship on electronic bulletin boards, and government interests in electronic information systems will be covered.

Intellectual Property Law

This course surveys the law of intellectual property, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, trade secrets, right of publicity, and the common law of ideas. The course will cover the basic principles of each area of law by discussion and application of relevant cases and statutes. International treaties and foreign law will be considered briefly but will not be the focus of the course. The course will include three brief drafting exercises for documents such as a copyright registration, a licensing agreement, or a non-disclosure agreement as well as a final examination.

Intellectual Property Moot Court

See Professor for course description.

Payment Systems

This course studies written instruments which represent money, such as promissory notes and drafts (e.g., checks), as well as guaranties and letters of credit. If certain requirements are satisfied, the person in possession of a note or draft may have superior rights to the transferor and may be able to enforce payment even though the obligor has defenses which would have been effective under contract law. The law with respect to notes and drafts is codified in Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and the course emphasizes problem-solving under these provisions.

The course examines the formal requirements that a note or draft must meet to be deemed negotiable, how the negotiable instrument is negotiated to a holder, and the requirements which the holder must satisfy to be deemed a holder in due course, the bona fide purchaser of commercial paper. The focus then shifts to the various types of liability which may arise on commercial paper: contract, warranty, and tort. The course examines the rights and liabilities of various parties when commercial paper contains forgeries or alterations.

The course also examines the checking account payment system, the bank collection process, and the rights and liabilities of banks and their customers. The course will consider the evolution of alternative payments systems, including the credit-card system, debit cards, wire-transfers, stored-value cards, and electronic money and commerce on the internet, as well as various closed, locally-based payment systems.

Property I

This first year course is an introduction to the basic concepts of property law, focusing on the role of possession in allocating the various rights and responsibilities connected with personal and real property. The course covers acquisition of initial property rights, adverse possession, donative transfers, the evolution and nomenclature of interests in estates in land and future interest, concurrent property rights, and takings.

Sales of Goods

In this course, we will study Articles 2 and 2A of the Uniform Commercial Code, which cover the sale and leases of goods. In your contracts class, you have already looked at some of the sections governing warranties and contract formation. We will expand on these topics and look at such questions as the obligations of the seller and the buyer, remedies, anticipatory breach, conditions, and the parol evidence rule. In addition, we will consider the CISG (the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods), which can override the UCC as adopted by U.S. states. The focus of this course will be practical and problem-based. Class-time will be spent applying the UCC provisions and interpreting caselaw to specific fact patterns. There will be graded written problems or drafting exercises throughout the semester in addition to a final exam.

Trademark Law

This course covers U.S. trademark and unfair competition law (other than antitrust law), focusing on the Lanham Act, federal registration, and international conventions for trademark protection as well as the fundamental policies underlying unfair competition. The three-credit version of the course will also include detailed coverage of state trademark and unfair competition laws. In addition to these basic issues, the course will address issues of current interest, such as: protection of Internet domain names; trademarking celebrities; conflicts between trademark protection and the copyright and patent laws; and trademark dilution. The course grade will be determined by performance on written exercises and the final examination.

Weather in U.S. Law and Society

How do weather and the law interrelate? Mark Twain is claimed to have said, “Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” In reality, humans have been trying to affect the weather or at least address the impact for all of known history. Recent events such as Hurricane Katrina and the current drought conditions throughout the Southwest have brought the weather and disaster relief to the forefront of national attention. However, federal disaster relief and its development since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s are but one aspect of the relationship between law and weather. Insurance coverage or lack thereof, regulation of businesses and agencies which depend on disasters, crimes such as looting and murders using the weather as the weapon, the development of the National Weather Service and warning systems and the legal support for those systems, environmental concerns such as forest fires or global warning and the Kyoto Protocol, and liability for inaccurate weather forecasts or for failure to keep sidewalks clear are all legal topics with a weather focus. This course will explore the various areas in which weather and the law intersect in the United States, including both current laws and the development of legal theories and protections as a result of historical events such as farmers rioting in Kansas in the 1930s, the Donora Fog of 1948, the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, and the Blizzards of 1878. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Students will view at least two weather-related films outside of class time and prepare 3-5 page papers assessing the legal ramifications of the weather events in the films. Each student will select a research topic with approval of the instructor and will perform the required research to prepare a well-constructed and well-reasoned analysis of the legal issue(s) presented by the topic. Students will also present their research findings to the class during a class meeting to share findings and to solicit feedback and suggestions from classmates.



Internet Surf & Turf Revealed: The Essential Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Finding Media (with Barbara Waxer) (Thomson-Course Technology 2005).

When Nature Strikes: Weather Disasters & the Law (Praeger/Greenwood 2007).

Copyright on the Internet Illustrated: Essentials (with Barbara Waxer) (Thompson Course Technology 2006).


The World of Legal Information: Sources and Strategies (edit and write for column on legal research and technology issues published in New Mexico Bar Journal, (2001-2003).

Teachable Moments for Students … Ten Tips for Moving Beyond the Brick Wall in the Legal Research Process, 10 Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing 20 (2001).

Law on the Internet: Unauthorized Practice or Public Access? published in Proceedings of the IASTED International Conference Law and Technology LawTech 2000 (San Francisco, CA: October 2000). With Antoinette Sedillo Lopez.

American Constitution-Making: The Neglected State Constitutional Sources, 27 Hastings Const. L. Q. 199 (2000). With Christian G. Fritz.

A Partnership with the Bar: A Law Library's Experience in Taking a Leadership Role in CLE Training on Legal Research, 10(3) Trends in Law Libr. Mgmt. 1 (Aug. 1999).

Legal Ethics and the Internet, 5 Bar J. (State Bar of N.M.), Fall 1999, at 27.

Research on the World Wide Web for Lawyers, 5 Bar J. (State Bar of N.M.), Fall 1999, at 16 (co-authored with Robert A. Mead).

The UNM Law Library in Transition: Into the 21st Century, 5 Bar J. (State Bar of N.M.), Fall 1999, at 11.

Why Should I Go Onto the Internet?5 Bar J. (State Bar of N.M.), Fall 1999, at 13.

Unsolicited Merchandise: Gift or Sale?20(3) Libr. Acquisitions: Prac. & Theory 301 (1996).

Prospects and Problems for Developing a South Carolina Legal Information Network: A Report and Recommendations, S.C. Att'y Gen. & S.C. Budget & Control Board (Aug. 1995) (co-authored with Robert V. Williams).

Baum on Copyright-Fair Use: Some Thoughts, 6 Against the Grain 13 (Nov. 1994).

AALL Government Documents, SIS Report on Depository Library Program Restructuring (Aug. 20, 1993) (primary drafter).

Federal Sentencing Guidelines: A Selective Bibliography, 26 Crim. L. Bull. 84 (Jan.-Feb. 1990).

The Index to Legal Periodicals on CD-ROM, Wilsondisc, 1 Trends in L. Libr. Mgmt. & Tech. 4 (Nov. 1987).

Guide to Minnesota State Documents and Selected Law-Related Materials, AALL Government Documents SIS State Documents Bibliography Series (1986) (prepared with Mary Ann Nelson).

CIS U.S. Serial Set, 1789-1969: What it is and How to use it, 6 UMLL in a Nutshell 3 (Apr.-May 1986).

Selected Law Associations in Minnesota, 12 MALL Newsl. 12 (Mar.-Apr. 1986) (co-authored with Susanne Nevin).

U.S. Documents: Access to a Valuable Resource, 6 UMLL in a Nutshell 3 (Feb.-Mar. 1986).

Book Reviews

Book Review, 7 UMLL in a Nutshell 2 (Oct.-Nov. 1986) (reviewing recent acquisitions).

Published Presentations

Connecting Digitization and Reorganization: Restructuring the Documents Department to Accommodate Electronic Digitization/Preservation Projects [audiotape] (Orlando, FL: American Association of Law Libraries, duplicated by Mobiltape, 2002). Taped presentation at AALL 95th Annual Meeting.

Audio tape: The Tension Between Librarians and Legal Writing Instructors, 88th Annual Meeting of American Association of Law Libraries, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Mobiltape 1995).

Audio tape: State Documents: The Ignored Element of Law Library Collection Development, 85th Annual Meeting of American Association of Law Libraries, San Francisco, Cal. (Mobiltape 1992).


  • Pamela B. Minzner Chair in Professionalism
  • Dean's International Fellowship