Professor Nathalie Martin

Contact Information

Ph.: 505-277-2810
Fax: 505-277-1597
Office: 3123

Nathalie Martin

Frederick M. Hart Chair in Consumer and Clinical Law
B.A. 1983, St. Olaf College
J.D. 1986, Syracuse University
L.L.M. 1998, Temple University
Member of the Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Bar

SSRN Personal Wellness

Profile

Nathalie Martin joined the UNM law faculty in 1998. Her research focuses on consumer law and bankruptcy, as well as elder law. Most recently, she has studied predatory lending products such as payday loans and title loans, as well as products and services offered to the elderly. Her projects include several empirical studies funded by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, including one that funded curbside interviews of payday loan customers and an ongoing study of the credit habits of undocumented New Mexicans.  The author of several books and dozens of law review articles, she holds what is thought to be the only endowed chair in the country dedicated to consumer law issues.

She teaches commercial and consumer law, as well the Economic Development (Business and Tax) Clinic at the UNM School of Law. In addition to her other courses, she runs a program promoting financial literacy in New Mexico high schools, and teaches a two-day financial literacy course for law students and undergraduates.

She is a regular blogger at Credit Slips, the nation's leading blog on debt and credit issues.  She also is a former resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute. In that capacity, she has appeared on CNN, ABC, CNBC and other television networks. She has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and many other newspapers.

Professor Martin's passions include three long-term life goals: first, helping small businesses get started in New Mexico, and thus improving the State's overall economy; second, helping consumers avoid the many traps and pitfalls created by the current consumer credit world; and third, helping lawyers maintain balance in their lives.

She routinely advises law students on managing stress while practice law in a healthy and productive way, and invites students to visit her personal wellness page.

Financial Literacy Program

Courses

Advanced Commercial and Consumer Law

Advanced Commercial and Consumer Law

Prerequisite: One course in either Consumer Law or Commercial Law is a required prerequisite unless waived by one of the teachers.

This course will is a seminar limited to 18 students. Papers and presentations will be required, and the class is designed to meet the advanced legal writing requirement.

Topics covered will depend significantly on student interests. They may include subjects covered in the consumer law class, such as payday loans, regulation of credit cards, and payment methods, topics covered in secured transactions, sales, negotiable instrument or by any of the Article of the Uniform Commercial Code, or possibly topics involving tax issues, patents and trademarks, or other current topics related to commerce.

Students are encouraged to begin work on a paper during the Fall semester and those who do will be guaranteed a place in the course. Please Professor Martin or Professor Hart if you wish to start in the Fall.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy

This course explores the role of debt, credit, and debt forgiveness in a capitalist society. It begins with an overview of the state court collection procedures, and then teaches the main provisions of the three primary chapters of the Bankruptcy Code: Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 13 wage-earner rehabilitation, and Chapter 11 reorganization. The course is taught through the problem-based teaching method, which helps students learn both the theoretical underpinnings of the materials, as well as its direct application to the practice of law.

Business Associations I

Business Associations I

This course will explore the various types of business relationships and organizations. Brief coverage is given to factors bearing on choice of organization, including partnership attributes, process of corporate formation, corporate privileges and powers, corporate capital structure, and limited liability. This part of the course will include an introduction to agency law, and the management and transfer of ownership interests in partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations.

Business & Tax Clinic

Business and Tax Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum. Pre- or co-requisite: Ethics.
Preference: Completion of Federal Income Tax and any Business Law courses.

Summer 2013--Prof. Nathalie Martin, Prof. Grace Allison
Fall 2013--Prof. James Butler, Prof. Mary Pareja
Spring 2014--Prof. James Butler, Prof. Mary Pareja

This clinic section is part of the law school's Economic Development program.  Although specific types of client matters cannot be guaranteed, the Business and Tax Clinic will emphasize the following:

  • student representation of low-income taxpayers in disputes before the IRS and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, including Tax Court litigation, audit defense, and collections matters;
  • assistance to startup and established nonprofit organizations seeking IRS recognition of tax-exempt status and other operational assistance;
  • support of community-based efforts to promote economic development; and
  • legal services to low-income, small-business clients who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

Small-business cases will likely include the following:

  • giving advice on the choice and formation of business entities;
  • drafting organizational documents;
  • reviewing and drafting leases, purchase and licensing arrangements and other contracts; and
  • resolving business disputes.

Cases and instruction will also include matters of personal interest to a new lawyer seeking to open his or her own practice.  We strive to provide a broad-spectrum experience, including pure transactional practice (small business startup, contract drafting), dispute resolution (IRS controversy, small case business controversies) and consumer protection (bankruptcy, foreclosure defense and consumer credit dispute resolution).  

Clients of the law school’s Clinical Law Program include individuals and organizations that have multiple legal and non-legal needs and objectives.  Students of the Business and Tax Clinic often collaborate with students of the Community Lawyering Clinic or Southwest Indian Law Clinic in providing services to these clients.

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 Business and Tax Clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Allison, Butler, Martin, or Pareja.

Consumer Law

Consumer Law

This course will focus on the practical application of federal and state general consumer laws, and will cover primarily the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act.

Some of the topics to be addressed in this course include:

  1. Credit and Collections
  2. Contracts, Warranties and Legal Rights
  3. Automobile and Mobile Home Sales
  4. Door-to-Door Sales
  5. Home Improvements and Related Services
  6. Household Products
  7. Future Service Contracts
  8. Opportunity Schemes and other "Non-sale" Transactions

Based on these topics, other federal and state laws will most likely be reviewed such as the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Debt Collection Act, the Door-to Door Sales Act, the Home Loan Protection Act and Motor Vehicle Quality Assurance.

These interesting facets of consumer law in New Mexico will be learned, by reading New Mexico and Federal case law and by analyzing on-going consumer matters presented to public enforcement authorities and to the private bar. Our studies will focus on the causes of action and the remedies available, including attorney fees and treble damages.

The practical application of consumer law will include the development of a client-interview form to address the pertinent issues, the preparation of several model pleadings, and Power Point presentations on specific areas of consumer law. These projects, and others, will provide both a product to be used in the practice of law and a basis for grading. There will be no classroom examination.

Contracts I

Contracts I

In an industrial society characterized by a "free enterprise" system and notions of individual freedom, "contract" is one of the primary means by which private individuals order their affairs. The contracts course inquires into why promises are enforced as contracts, which promises are enforced, and how they are enforced. The course places emphasis on close and critical analyses of court decisions.

Economic Development Clinic (Business & Tax)

Business and Tax Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum. Pre- or co-requisite: Ethics.
Preference: Completion of Federal Income Tax and any Business Law courses.

Summer 2013--Prof. Nathalie Martin, Prof. Grace Allison
Fall 2013--Prof. James Butler, Prof. Mary Pareja
Spring 2014--Prof. James Butler, Prof. Mary Pareja

This clinic section is part of the law school's Economic Development program.  Although specific types of client matters cannot be guaranteed, the Business and Tax Clinic will emphasize the following:

  • student representation of low-income taxpayers in disputes before the IRS and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, including Tax Court litigation, audit defense, and collections matters;
  • assistance to startup and established nonprofit organizations seeking IRS recognition of tax-exempt status and other operational assistance;
  • support of community-based efforts to promote economic development; and
  • legal services to low-income, small-business clients who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

Small-business cases will likely include the following:

  • giving advice on the choice and formation of business entities;
  • drafting organizational documents;
  • reviewing and drafting leases, purchase and licensing arrangements and other contracts; and
  • resolving business disputes.

Cases and instruction will also include matters of personal interest to a new lawyer seeking to open his or her own practice.  We strive to provide a broad-spectrum experience, including pure transactional practice (small business startup, contract drafting), dispute resolution (IRS controversy, small case business controversies) and consumer protection (bankruptcy, foreclosure defense and consumer credit dispute resolution).  

Clients of the law school’s Clinical Law Program include individuals and organizations that have multiple legal and non-legal needs and objectives.  Students of the Business and Tax Clinic often collaborate with students of the Community Lawyering Clinic or Southwest Indian Law Clinic in providing services to these clients.

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 Business and Tax Clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Allison, Butler, Martin, or Pareja.

Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

This is a one credit course designed to teach students the basic rights of consumers in various forms of consumer transactions. The course focuses on money law, money management, and the regulation of consumer credit and credit reporting.

Specific topics covered include the bank-customer relationship and the legal rights of bank customers, the legal issues surrounding credit and debit cards, predatory lending such as payday loans, rent-to own, title loans, furniture store scams, yo-yo car sales, and other high-rate consumer credit. It also covers identity theft, credit reporting and scoring, mortgage lending, investing and compounding, and retirement planning. It is designed to help students and their future clients become more educated about consumer credit, saving, investing, and overall financial health.

Practicum

Practicum

One-hour Practicum Course accompanying the Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law Courses

The Practicum Course is not really a separate course; rather, it is a hands-on, practice-based extension of the Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law courses. Students explore the theoretical connections among the three courses in the context of resolving simulated but realistic client problems. The course stresses practical and analytical skills through writing exercises while also exploring substantive law questions that are addressed in other first semester courses.

Real Estate Planning

Real Estate Planning

See Professor Martin for Course Description.

Sales of Goods

Sales of Goods

In this course we will study Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, which covers the Sale 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, the parole evidence rule, etc. In addition, we will look briefly at the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. Because the United States is a signatory to that Convention, it is the law in New Mexico governing the sale of goods to Canada and Mexico, and in some circumstances, it overrides the Uniform Commercial Code.

The focus of this course will be practical and we will spend time drafting contracts for the sale of goods. The skills you learn in this context will be useful for drafting all types of contracts.

There will be a final exam.

Secured Transactions

Secured Transactions

The aim of this course is to introduce students to what is sometimes called "Code Methodology." The main purpose of the course is to help you understand various techniques in reading and interpreting the Uniform Commercial Code. The course will cover Article 9, Secured Transactions. Article 9 is, in some ways, the most difficult part of the Uniform Commercial Code. It is likely to be the only exposure most students will have to the concept of security for debts. Another advantage of working with Article 9 is that the Article is more or less self-contained and presents a system within itself.

Books

Inside Bankruptcy (with Ocean Tama) (Aspen 2008).

When Worlds Collide: Bankruptcy and Its Impact on Domestic Relations and Family Law (American Bankruptcy Institute 3rd ed. 2005). (with MICHAELA M. WHITE and MARIANNE B. CULHANE)

The New Bankruptcy Law and You (with Stewart Paley) (Wiley 2005).

The Glannon Guide to Bankruptcy (Aspen 2005).

Counseling Older Americans, ALI/ABA Book (with Alison Barnes and A. Frank Johns) (2005).

Articles

High-Interest Loans and Class:  Do Payday and Title Loans Really Serve the Middle Classes, 24 Loyola Consumer L. Rev. 524 (2012) (with Ernesto Longa).

The Alliance Between Payday Lenders and Tribes: Are Both Tribal Sovereignty and Consumer Protection at Risk? 69 Wash & Lee L. Rev.751 (2012) (with Joshua Schwartz).

Grand Theft Auto Loans: Repossession and Demographic Realities in Title Lending, 77 Missouri Law Rev. 41 (2012) (with Ozymandias Adams).

Regulating Payday Loans: Why This Should Make the CFPB'S Short List, 2 Harv. Bus. L. Rev. Online 44 (2011), available at: http://www.hblr.org/?p=1595.

Testing Materiality Under the Unfair Practices Acts: What Information Matters When Collecting Time-Barred Debts? 64 Consumer Fin. L. Q. Rep. 372 (2010) (with Timothy Goldsmith).
Available at: SSRN

Double Down-and-Out: The Connection Between Payday Loans and Bankruptcy, 39 Southwestern L. Rev. 789 (2010) (with Koo Im Tong).

1,000% Interest—Good While Supplies Last: A Study of Payday Loan Practices and Solutions, 52 Arizona Law Review 563 (2010).
Available at SSRN

Consumer Scams and the Elderly: Preserving Independence through Shifting Default Rules, 17 Elder Law J. 1 (2009).

Winners and Losers in Bankruptcy Reform: Do Women and Children Really Come out on Top, 49 Fam . L. Quar. 219 (2007).

Mind Games: Rethinking BAPCPA's Debtor Education Provisions, 31 S. ILL. U. L.J. 517 (2007).
Available at: SSRN

The Role of History and Culture in Developing Bankruptcy and Insolvency Systems: The Perils of Legal Transplantation, 28 B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (2005).
Available at: SSRN

Poverty, Culture and the Bankruptcy Code: Narratives from the Money Law Clinic, 12 Clinical L. Rev. 203 (2005).
Available at: SSRN

American Bankruptcy Laws: Encouraging Risk-Taking and Entrepreneurship, (U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, Entrepreneurship and Small Business), available at http://usinfo.state.gov/journals/ites/0106/ijee/ijee0106.htm.

The Role of History and Culture in Developing Bankruptcy and Insolvency Systems: The Perils of Legal Transplantation, 28 B.C. College Int'L & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (2005), also available at http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/172.

Common Law Bankruptcy Systems: Similarities and Differences, 11 Amer. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 367 (2003).

Explorations in the Classroom: A Book Review of Secured Credit: A Systems Approach, 26 Seattle L. Rev. 13 (2002).

Que es la Diferencia: A Comparison of the First Days of a Chapter 11 Reorganization Case in the United States and Mexico, 10 U.S.- Mexico. L.J.85 (2002).

Funding Long Term Care: Is There a Way to Ensure That Our Assets Will Last Longer Than We Will?, 3 Elder's Advisor 66 (2001).

Les Jeux Ne Sont Pas Fait: The Right to Dignified Long-Term Care in the Face on Industry-Wide Financial Failure (with Elizabeth Rourke), 10 Cornell J. L. & Pub.Pol. 129 (Fall 2000).

Funding Long-Term Care: Some Risk-Spreaders Create More Risk Than They Cure, 16 J. Contemp. Health L. & Pol'y 335 (2000).

The Insolvent Life-care Provider: Who Leads the Dance Between State Continuing-Care Statutes and the Federal Bankruptcy Code, 61 Ohio St. L.J. 267 (2000).

Noneconomic Interest in Bankruptcy: Standing On The Outside Looking In, 59 Ohio St. L.J. 429 (1998).

Fee Shifting in Bankruptcy: Deterring Frivolous, Fraud Based Objections to Discharge, 76 N.C. L. Rev. 97 (1997).

Note, Fathers and Families: Expanding Men's Familial Rights, 36 Syracuse L. Rev. 1265 (1986).