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Professor Barbara Blumenfeld

Barbara Blumenfeld

Emeritus Professor of Law
B.A. 1971, J.D. 1980, Wayne State University
Member of the Michigan and New Mexico Bars

Contact Information


Barbara Blumenfeld joined the UNM law faculty in 1995 to lead the school's legal writing program. As director, she designs materials for the first-year Legal Reasoning, Research and Writing and Advocacy courses. She established the New Mexico Court of Appeals Annual Appellate Advocacy Tournament for first-year students. Judges for the competition include members of the New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Before retiring in July, 2013, Blumenfeld also helped second- and third-year students prepare and write research papers. She diagnosed student writing problems and designed special programs and worked with students who needed remedial assistance in that area. From 1996 - 2003, she served as director of the law school's Pre-Enrollment Preparatory Program and developed the curriculum for the summer program. She has also taught in the PLSI Program.

In her teaching, Blumenfeld builds methodically on the basics, with the goal that at the end of the first year, students will have the writing skills necessary to successfully perform in summer clerkship jobs. She concentrates on thinking and reasoning skills, with the belief that good writing naturally flows from good thinking. She also encourages students to become self-critical writers and retain their own writing style within the confinements of composing a legal document.

Blumenfeld came to the UNM law school from Wayne State University Law School where, for eight years, she taught basic and advanced legal writing and analysis. She also designed many teaching materials that are now used by a number of other law schools.

Her interest in legal writing began as a law student at Wayne State University, where she was associate editor of the Wayne Law Review, and continued into a five-year practice focusing on trial and appellate work. She then joined the faculty at her alma mater.

The Electronic Authors Press honored her with an award for innovative teaching materials in the legal writing field.

Courses Previously Taught

  • Advanced Legal Writing (Persuasive Writing)
  • Advocacy
  • Argumentative and Persuasive Writing
  • Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing (LRRW)


An Introduction to Fact-Based Legal Analysis And Its Use In Preparing for Trial; The Theory of the Case and the Trial Notebook, Chapter Materials, Curso De Capacitación Para Capacitadores1ERConsurso Nacional De Juicios Orales (Training for Trainers, First National Oral Trial Competition) Mexico City, Mexico, January, 2005.

Materials for PLSI Advocacy (Textbook for summer program for Native American law students).

Legal Research, Reasoning, Writing (Textbook for first semester writing course at UNM)(1995, Revised ed. 2000).

Advocacy (Textbook for second semester writing course at UNM) (1995, revised ed. 1999).


Rhetoric, Referential Communication, and the Novice Writer, 9 Legal Comm. & Rhetoric: JALWD 207, Fall 2012.

Teaching Thinking and the Legal Creative Process, The Law Teacher, Vol. 18, No. 1, Fall 2011

Legal Writing is a Creative Endeavor, New Mexico Lawyer, Vol. 6, No. 3 (August 2011) 8-11.

Can Havruta Style Learning Be a Best Practice in Law School?, 18 Willamette J. Int'l L. & Disp. Resol. 109 (2010)

Integrating Indian Law into a First Year Legal Writing Course, 37 Tulsa L. Rev. 503 (Winter 2001).

A Photographer's Guide to Legal Writing, Perspectives, Jan. 1996.

Why IRAC Should Be IGPAC, Second Draft, Fall 1995.

Write On! A Column on Legal Writing for the Practitioner, N.M. Verdict, 1995-1996 (monthly column).

Freedom of the Press & A Reporter's Ability to Gather News, 26 Wayne L. Rev. 75 (1979).

Workers' Compensation Insurance Carrier as Third Party Tortfeasor, 25 Wayne L. Rev. 1165 (1979).


Engaging Students With Havruta Style Learning, Presentation to Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, Summer Conference on Engaging and Assessing Students, June, 2011.

Using a Montana Problem as a Basis for Writing Assignments - Materials for Panel Discussion, Teaching the Third Sovereign: How and Why to Include Tribal Nations and Courts in Legal Writing Courses, 14th Biennial Conference of the Legal Writing Institute 2010 Biennial Conference, June, 2010

An Alternate Approach to Case Briefing - A System of Becauses, Presentation to Ninth Annual Rocky Mountain Legal Writing conference, Tempe, Arizona, March 2009.

The Three Rs of Revision, Presentation to Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 2002.

Panel Member, Incorporating Indian Law Into Other Law School Courses, AALS Annual Meeting, Jan. 4, 2002, New Orleans, LA.

Using IGPAC instead of IRAC as an Organizational Tool, Presentation to Rocky Mountain Legal Writing Conference, March 2001.


  • Flickinger Award for Faculty Excellence