Mary Pareja

Contact Information

Ph.: 505-277-2268
Fax: 505-277-1597
Office: 3413

Mary Pareja

Lecturer III
A.B., 1991, Smith College
J.D., 1996, Georgetown University of Law Center


Mary Pareja has been teaching at the UNM School of Law since the fall of 2005. Before moving to Albuquerque, she spent nearly nine years in private practice. Most recently, Pareja was a partner at a large Denver law firm. While in private practice, she specialized in employee benefits law, and worked primarily on issues related to pension, retirement, and health plans.

At the UNM School of Law, Pareja primarily co-teaches in the Business & Tax Clinic. She supervises students who represent taxpayers who are in disputes with the IRS and the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. Her work is supported by a federal Low Income Taxpayer Clinic grant. She also has taught Employee Benefits Law, Estate and Retirement Planning, and Sales of Goods. In addition, she travels to Madrid, Spain each summer as part of UNM’s Madrid Summer Law Institute and teaches Spanish law students about US law and the common law legal system.

Pareja's research interests currently include economic justice issues related to social welfare programs administered through the federal tax code, including the earned income tax credit (or EITC).

Pareja speaks Spanish fluently.


Business and 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.


Earned Income Tax Credit Portability: Respecting the Self-Determination of American Families (in progress) (working draft available on request)

HIPAA Privacy and Security: Issues for Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, The Colorado Lawyer, October 2004

Significant New Requirements for Group Health Plans, Indiana Constructor, Associated General Contractors of Indiana, October/November 1997 (co-author)

Portability Law Changes Health Insurance, Issues IN Business, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, September 1997 (co-author)

Speaking Engagements

(Complete list available upon request)

Handling a Federal Income Tax Controversy, Albuquerque Bar Association, Albuquerque, NM, March 1, 2011 (see

Health Savings Accounts under the New Medicare Act, Western Pension & Benefits Conference Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 1-4, 2004

Minimum Required Distributions Under Code § 401(a)(9), Accountants' Tax Seminar, Denver, CO, November 5, 2003

HIPAA Privacy: An Employer's To Do List, Western Pension & Benefits Conference Annual Meeting, Monterey, CA, June 22-25, 2003

Cafeteria Plan Update, Western Pension & Benefits Conference, Denver Chapter, Winter Conference, Denver, CO, March 19, 2002

The IRS's Latest Word on COBRA, Mid-America Human Resources Symposium, Cincinnati, OH, June 10-11, 1999

Welfare Issues on the Horizon, Circle City Seminar, Indianapolis, IN, March 5, 1999

HIPAA, COBRA, Mental Health Parity Act, Newborns’ and Mothers’ Health Protection Act, Indianapolis Ass'n of Health Underwriters, Indianapolis, IN, November 10, 1998