Professor April Land
Professor of Law
B.A. 1983, Reed College
J.D. 1987, University of Wisconsin, Madison
L.L.M. 1997, Georgetown University
Member of the District of Columbia and Maryland Bars
April Land joined the UNM law faculty in 1997 after devoting most of her career to community lawyering. She teaches primarily in the community lawyering clinic, bringing 12 years of expertise to the position.
She spent five years as a staff attorney with the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in Washington, D.C. and as part of her job she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about the difficulty political refugees, especially children, have obtaining health-care benefits. Land then received a teaching fellowship at the Georgetown University Law Center's Harrison Institute for Public Law. There, she counseled tenants' associations, micro enterprises and other community development organizations, along with teaching students skills and substantive areas of the law in seminars and a clinic. After earning a master's in advocacy from Georgetown, she came to the UNM law school.
In addition to community lawyering, Land teaches law practice and criminal law in the clinic and family law. She also initiated the law school's involvement in the New Mexico Innocence and Justice Project, a collaborative effort that revisits capital cases of questionable convictions. Land supervises students who work with defense lawyers around the state reviewing cases.
The purpose of the course is to explore the literature on the developmental needs of children in disciplines other than the law, and then analyze how the legal institutions designed to serve children address, or fail to address, those needs. Guest speakers from other disciplines, including medicine, psychology and psychiatry, will assist our review of the literature, and our development of the analytic framework for evaluating how legal systems can work more effectively towards meeting the developmental needs of children.
The course will include a practical, community service component including, observation of courtroom proceedings, field trips and community service sites.
Credit for the course can be earned by writing a paper, or through a community service project.
Community Lawyering Clinic
Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum. Pre- or co-requisite: Ethics.
Summer 2013--Prof. Aliza Organick, Prof. Sarah Steadman
Fall 2013--Prof. Yael Cannon, Prof. Sarah Steadman
Spring 2014--Prof. Carol Suzuki, Prof. Camille Carey
The Community Lawyering Clinic provides outreach legal services in partnership with local community service providers, including non-legal disciplines. Through the Medical/Legal Alliance for Children (MLAC) the Clinic has entered into a strategic alliance (the nation’s first) with the Pediatrics Department of the UNM Health Sciences Center. MLAC law students represent children, caregivers, and families to address non-biological factors affecting children’s health including food, housing, education, physical safety (domestic violence), caregivers’ relationships and conflicts over custodial rights, immigration status, involvement in the criminal justice system, and availability of healthcare and other benefits. Students represent clients in Family Court, Children’s Court (juvenile delinquency), and other venues as necessary. In addition to the MLAC, the Community Lawyering Clinic collaborates with PB&J Family Services, the NM Public Defender and organizations serving families of incarcerated and addicted individuals, seniors, and HIV-positive people. Students work under law professor supervision and on interdisciplinary teams when appropriate. Clients include speakers of English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.
Students having specific questions about the Community Lawyering Clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Cannon, Carey, Organick, Steadman, or Suzuki.
Criminal Law I
This course considers the general principles of substantive criminal law and evaluates them in terms of the various purposes that justify a system of criminal punishment. It will include an analysis of the doctrines of mens rea attempt, complicity, and conspiracy as well as certain crimes such as homicide and certain defenses such as self-defense.
Family Law I
Course coverage emphasizes the creation of families by formal marriage and unmarried cohabitation, the legal aspects of ongoing relationships, and the dissolution of those relationships. Considerable emphasis is placed on the economic aspects of divorce (property division, spousal support, and child support), the enforcement of divorce decrees and agreements, and jurisdictional questions. New Mexico law is compared and contrasted to general legal principles.
This course concerns the proper place of the federal courts in a federalist system. The nature of federal judicial power, its relationship to federal and state legislative power, and its relationship to state judicial systems are analyzed. The civil rights case is the primary vehicle for this analysis. The course also examines the relationship of tribal judicial systems to federal and state courts.
Children in Poverty: In Search of State and Federal Constitutional Protections in the Wake of Welfare Reforms, 2000 Utah L. Rev. 779 (2000).
Law School News
Open House to Celebrate Remodeled Clinic
September 6, 2012
Clinical Law Faculty Presents at AALS Conference
June 7, 2012
Federal Grant Provides Hefty Boost to Innocence and Justice Project
November 12, 2009
UNM Professors Present Poster at AALS Conference
June 9, 2009