Emeritus Professor of Law
A.B. 1965, Oberlin College
J.D. 1968, Washington University
LL.M. 1972, Georgetown University
Member of the New Mexico and District of Columbia Bars
Professor Leo Romero, former dean and current Keleher & McLeod Professor of Law, has been a member of the UNM law faculty since 1972. He teaches primarily in the area of criminal law and procedure, sharing with students a fascination with the theory underlying doctrine, as well as the practical application of the law. His scholarship has focused mostly in the area of criminal law, but recent publications have dealt with judicial selection issues, a subject with which he became familiar when he served as chair of the judicial nominating commissions for all courts in New Mexico.
Romero has served the law school as associate dean for academic affairs and then as dean. During his six years as dean, Romero focused his efforts on expanding the Indian Law Program and the school's International Law course offerings. His efforts led to the establishment of an Indian Law Certificate program and the Southwest Indian Law Clinic. His focus on international law led to the creation of the U.S.-Mexico Law Journal, an exchange program with the University of Granada in Spain, and an exchange program under NAFTA with law schools in Mexico and Canada.
During his term as dean, as mandated by the New Mexico Constitution, Romero chaired the New Mexico Judicial Selection Commission. Because the commission system for selecting judges was relatively new when he became dean, he drafted the "Rules of Procedure Governing Judicial Nominating Commissions" and generally oversaw the development of this process for selecting judges in New Mexico. Based on this experience, he published two articles on judicial selection--"Proposal for an Alternative System of Judicial Selection Combining Commission Nomination and Election Methods," in the Government, Law, and Policy Journal of the Albany Law School (2001) and "Judicial Selection in New Mexico: A Hybrid of Commission Nomination and Partisan Election," in the New Mexico Law Review (2000).
Before joining the University of New Mexico Law School, Romero practiced criminal law in Washington, D.C., and began his teaching career at the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law as director of clinical studies. In addition to his service at the University of New Mexico, Romero has taught at a number of other law schools. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Oregon, George Washington University, Washington University at St. Louis, Roger Williams University, and most recently, at the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
Active in legal education at the national level, Romero has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools and on the Board of Trustees of the Law School Admission Council, including a two-year term as chair. He currently serves on the board of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and the National Council of Washington University, St. Louis, School of Law. He recently finished a six-year term as Trustee of Oberlin College.
A graduate of Oberlin College, he received his law degree from Washington University at St. Louis, and earned a Masters in Law from Georgetown University Law Center (E. Barrett Prettyman Fellow).