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Professor G. Emlen Hall

G. Emlen Hall

Emeritus Professor of Law
A.B. 1965, Princeton University
J.D. 1969, Harvard University
Member of the New Mexico Bar

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-2866
 Office: 3246


Em Hall became an emeritus professor of law in 2007. He has focused his research and writing on the history of land and water in the Southwest in general and New Mexico in particular. He has written three books on the topic: Four Leagues of Pecos: A Legal History of the Pecos Grant from 1800 to 1936 (1984); High and Dry: The Texas-New Mexico Struggle for the Pecos River (2002), and Reining in the Rio Grande (with Phillips and Black) (2011).

Prior to joining the UNM law faculty in 1983, he spent seven years at the State Engineer's Office. During his time there, he wrote an administrative history of the Pecos River Compact from its inception in 1949 to 1974. This was the beginning of his research for "High and Dry."

When Hall first arrived in New Mexico in 1969, he wrote for and edited the New Mexico Review, a monthly investigative journal. He also practiced law in Pecos, where he lived, and served as village planner, attorney and municipal judge for the Village of Pecos. He has worked for Northern New Mexico Legal Services and the New Mexico Land Grant Demonstration Project.

Hall brings a background in water law and public land law, along with a lifetime interest in writing, to his teaching.

Courses Previously Taught

  • Advanced Writing in Natural Resources
  • Comparative & Historical Legal Perspectives
  • Federal Public Lands
  • Middle Rio Grande Water Resources
  • Natural Resources Journal
  • New Mexico Grants and Acequias
  • Property I
  • Water Law


Reining in the Rio Grande (with Fred Phillips and Mary Black)(UNM Press, 2011).

High and Dry: The Texas-New Mexico Struggle for the Pecos River (Univ. N.M. Press 2002).

Four Leagues of Pecos: A Legal History of the Pecos Grant from 1800 to 1936 (Univ. N.M. Press 1984).

Monographs and Chapters in Books

“A Dog of a Lawsuit: Texas v. New Mexico” in Catherine T. Ortega Klett, One Hundred Years of Water Wars in New Mexico, 1912-2012 (Sunstone Press: Santa Fe, 2012).

Oral Argument in United States v New Mexico” in Barbara Cosens and Judith Royster eds. The Future of Indian Water Rights: The Winters Centennial (UNM Press: Albuquerque, 2012).

“The Tangled History of New Mexico Water Law” chapter 5, pp 73-85 in Brookshire, et al. eds, Water Policy in New Mexico (Resources for the Future Press Water Policy Series (2012)

Analysis of Potential Water Conservation Incentives for New Mexico (N.M. State Eng'r Office, Santa Fe, N.M. 1996) (co-authored with Bill Fleming).

Landholding: The Spanish Borderlands, in Encyclopedia of the North American Colonies 669 (Bain ed., Charles Scribner Son's 1993).

Community Land Grants and the Forest Service as Watershed Managers: The Example of Santo Domingo de Cundiyo, in Making Sustainability Operational, GTR-RM 240 (Forest Service, Fort Collins, Colo. 1993).

Pueblo Labyrinth, in Land, Water and Culture: New Perspectives on Hispanic Land Grants 65 (Briggs & VanNess eds., Univ. N.M. Press 1987).


Historical and Physical International Boundaries in Borderlands Water Conflicts: A Commentary, 40 Nat. Resources J. 865 (2000).

Tularosa and the Dismantling of New Mexico's Community Ditches, 75 N.M. Hist. Rev. 1 (2000).

Steve Reynolds: Portrait of the State Engineer as a Young Artist, 38 Nat. Resources J. 537 (1998).

Peonage for a Postage Stamp, Bar J. (State Bar of N.M.), July-Aug. 1998, at 20. (co-authored with Robert Nordhaus).

A Brief History of New Mexico Water Rights Administration since 1907, CLE Int'l (Denver, Colo.), Aug. 1997, at 1.

The Mismeasure of the Pecos River: Royce Tipton and the Pecos River Compact of 1948, 9 W. Legal Hist. 55 (1996).

Fundamental Principles of New Mexico Water Law, CLE Int'l (Denver, Colo.), Aug. 1996, at 1.

An Interview with New Mexico's New State Engineer: Eluid Martinez, 6 N.M. Nat. Resources Rep. 28 (1991).

San Miguel del Bado and the Common Lands of New Mexico Land Grants, 66 N.M. Hist. Rev. 4 (1991).

Shell Games: The Continuing Legacy of Rights to Mineral and Water on Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in the Southwest, 36 Rocky Mtn. Min. L. Inst. 1 (1990).

Land Litigation and the Idea of New Mexico Progress, 27 J.W. 48 (1988), reprinted in Spanish and Mexican Land Grants and the Law (Ebright ed., Sunflower Univ. Press 1989).

Tierra y Agua: Statehood Fails to Resolve Claims Over Land, Water Rights, N.M. Mag., Sept. 1987, at 57.

Mexican Liberals and Pueblo Indians, 1821-1829, 59 N.M. Hist. Rev. 1 (1984) (co-authored with David J. Weber).

Water: New Mexico's Delicate Balance, N.M. Mag., May 1983, at 15.

Juan Estevan Pino, Se Los Coma: New Mexico Land Speculation in the 1820s, 57 N.M. Hist. Rev. 27 (1982).

Giant Before the Surveyor General: The Land Career of Donaciano Vigil, 19 J.W. 64 (1980), reprinted in Spanish and Mexican Land Grants and the Law (Ebright ed., Sunflower Univ. Press 1980).

Book Reviews

Book Review, 9 Colonial Latin Am. Hist. Rev. 302 (2000) (reviewing Uribe-Uram, Honorable Lives: Lawyers, Family and Politics in Colombia, 1780-1850).

Book Review, 71 N.M. Hist. Rev. 279 (1996) (reviewing Charles Cutter, The Legal Culture of New Spain).

Book Review, 69 N.M. Hist. Rev. 426 (1994) (reviewing Miller, Flooding the Courtrooms: Law and Water in the Far West).

Book Review, 64 N.M. Hist. Rev. 470 (1989) (reviewing Langhum, Law and Community on the Mexican California Frontier).

Book Review, 28 Nat. Resources J. 637 (1988) (reviewing Leshy, The Mining Law: A Study in Perpetual Motion).

Book Review, Hispanic Am. Hist. Rev. (1985) (reviewing Michael Meyer, Water in the Hispanic Southwest), reprinted in 25 Nat. Resources J. 551 (1985).

Book Review, BN.M. Mag., Jan. 1984 (reviewing Fred Powledge, Water).

Book Review, 22 Nat. Resources J. 718 (1982) (reviewing Loren L. Mall, Public Land and Mining Law).

The Trouble with Pueblo History, Hispanic Am. Hist. Rev., Feb. 1981 (reviewing Kessell, Kiva, Cross and Crown).

Expert Historical Witness Reports

Bringing Water Law to the GAllinas River (Feb. 1986), cited in City of Las Vegas v. Oman, 110 N.M. 425, 428-29, 796 P.2d 1121, 1124-25 (1990).

Administering the Pecos River Compact Between 1948 and 1976 (Nov. 1978), cited in Texas v. New Mexico, 421 U.S. 927 (1975), 482 U.S. 124 (1986).


Taos: Adjudicacion de Derechos de Agua (G. Emlen Hall trans., Agosto 1986).