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Professor Carol M. Suzuki

Carol Suzuki

Dickason Professor
J.D. 1991, Columbia University School of Law
A.B. 1986, Stanford University
Member of the California, District of Columbia, and New York Bars

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-1073
 Office: 2530


Carol Suzuki joined the UNM law faculty in 2003, bringing a strong background in clinical law.

After graduating from Columbia University School of Law, she joined the Legal Aid Society in New York City. As part of her workload in the civil division, she represented clients with HIV/AIDS who came into the office. After four years, she joined the HIV Law Project in New York City. As senior staff attorney, she represented women of color and their families. Recognizing the need for additional expertise to most effectively represent her clients, she often would collaborate with social workers to help resolve client problems. By the time she left in 1999, she was Deputy Director.

While at the HIV Law Project, Professor Suzuki taught an annual class on professional responsibility to third-year students at Columbia University School of Law. In 1999, she became a visiting professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia, working in the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic. She then moved to Yale Law School as a Robert M. Cover Clinical Teaching Fellow. Professor Suzuki worked mostly in the immigration clinic, and she also supervised student outreach in the HIV/AIDS community and worked with clinic students to improve prison conditions for incarcerated women.

At the UNM School of Law, her courses include the Community Lawyering Clinic, AIDS and the Law, Bioethics, Refugee Law, and Torts. She has served as the Faculty Advisor to the New Mexico Law Review.

Professor Suzuki co-authors the annual supplement to the family law chapter of Aspen Publisher's “AIDS and the Law.” She has served as Chair of the Association of American Law Schools’ Section on Clinical Legal Education. Professor Suzuki is a founding member of Voices of Women of Color Against HIV/AIDS.

AIDS and the Law

This course will examine laws which impact the rights of people living with AIDS. How do we build a system that enables people living with HIV to live high-quality, productive lives? What laws can be created to help prevent the spread of HIV and increase access to care? We will look at the medical aspects of HIV, self-determination in regard to treatment decisions, access to treatment, participation in drug treatment trials and experimental treatments. We will discuss the effect of a parent's HIV status on the fundamental right to parent and laws created to enable a parent affected by HIV to plan for the children's future. We will explore the impact of HIV status in the areas of confidentiality, insurance, public accommodations, employment, housing, tort law, public benefit programs, immigration law, criminal liability and penalties. We will discuss the government's reaction and international legal efforts to respond to the AIDS epidemic.

Bioethics Writing Seminar

The Bioethics writing seminar will examine legal and ethical issues that arise in health care, medicine, and biological sciences. Students will discuss a range of ethical principles that are applied in healthcare decision making to recognize how those principles are reflected in law. Topics include: human genetics; human subjects research; the physician-patient relationship; informed consent; maternal-fetal decision making; organ transplantation; health care rationing; palliative care; and medically-assisted dying. Students will develop their seminar papers over the semester and fulfill the law school writing requirement. There will be a final examination.

The Fall 2015 course will be co-taught by Professor Suzuki and Dr. Aroop Mangalik, a retired internist and oncologist from UNMH-Health Sciences Center, former Chair of the UNM-BioMedical Ethics Committee, and current member of the UNM Ethics Institute.

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.

Law Practice Clinic

Pre-requisite: Completion of first year curriculum, Pre-or-co-requisite: Ethics

Summer 2013--Prof. Steven Homer
Fall 2013--Prof. April Land
Spring 2014--Prof. Aliza Organick

The Law Practice Clinic will emphasize the development of professional skills and values by assigning students to represent clients in a variety of both civil and criminal cases.  In their casework, students will be individually and closely supervised in their representation of low-income clients.  Each student will be assigned a mix of cases typical of a general law practice in New Mexico with some opportunity for a more specialized type of practice taking into account each student's preferences and career plans, available faculty resources and client and community needs.  Among other practice areas, case matters may involve juvenile delinquency defense, family law, criminal misdemeanor defense, landlord/tenant, contract disputes, wills and immigration.  The Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters will provide more focus in the area of juvenile delinquency and criminal defense.  The emphasis on student casework is to give law students direct experience with live clients and real cases and to provide close individual and collaborative faculty supervision.  In addition to providing real world experience, students are encouraged to develop and explore the professional dimensions of client-oriented problem solving.  Students are expected to develop and assume full professional responsibility for competent, professional and ethical decision-making in helping their clients solve their legal problems.

The classroom component seeks to help prepare students to represent his or her clients competently, to promote professionalism in dealing with clients, lawyers, staff and others; and to provide experience in individual and collaborative problem solving.  Classroom sessions include discussion of pending clinic cases and assigned readings; role-play and simulation; and collaborative planning and evaluation.  The classroom component typically addresses such skills and topics as:  client interviewing and counseling, case evaluation, legal research, fact investigation, drafting documents and correspondence, motion practice, discovery, negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, procedure, case management, law office management, the use of computer technology in the law office, and professional responsibility and ethics.

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 any questions about this clinic are encouraged to visit with Profs. Homer, Land, or Organick.

New Mexico Law Review

New Mexico Law Review I - Fall

This course is limited to second year students who are selected through a writing competition. Coursework includes research, writing, proofing, and preparing materials for publication. Under editorial supervision, staff members are required to write a case note or comment of publishable quality in their first year on the NMLR. Additionally, there is a class room component that focuses on the craft of legal scholarly writing with an eye towards facilitating the completion of the case note or comment. Concurrent enrollment in a Legal Research course is highly encouraged.

New Mexico Law Review II - Spring

The second semester of law review is limited to second year students who enrolled and participated in NMLR I. The course builds on the skills acquired in the first semester and culminates in the submission of a case note or comment to be considered for publication. NMLR II also includes a classroom component.

New Mexico Law Review III - Fall

This course is limited to third year members of the NMLR and includes research, writing, proofing, preparing materials for publication, and the opportunity to be published.

New Mexico Law Review IV - Spring

This course is limited to third year members of the NMLR and includes research, writing, proofing, preparing materials for publication, and the opportunity to be published.


This class introduces you to the work and professional roles of lawyers. It investigates the meaning of professionalism; examines the role of personal and professional values in becoming and being a lawyer; and discusses various aspects of legal practice, including ways to improve your likelihood of success and happiness in your career.

As background, empirical studies show that lawyers who pick their fields carefully based upon their own strengths and needs are happier and do better in the profession overall. Other studies show that multitasking and excessive stress interfere with clear thinking. Indeed, calm focused people are better at what they do, whatever profession they enter. They are also more efficient and work better with others. Calm focused people are also happier and have a better sense of their own priorities and values. This class is designed to:

  • help you learn about the legal system and the professional role of attorneys;
  • help you create space in your life for activities that keep you balanced as a human being;
  • help you control stress and thus enhance your academic and professional success;
  • help you improve your interpersonal skills;
  • allow you to develop a support system at the law school by getting to know some of your peers in an unconventional setting; and
  • allow you to develop a relationship with a faculty member that is supportive both inside and outside the classroom.

Being a lawyer can be all you want it to be and can give you the power to bring about whatever change you want to see. This class will help prepare you to do just that.

Refugee Law

In this course we will explore the laws and policies regarding the protection of persons who flee persecution based on particular grounds. We will discuss the history and principles that provide the framework for modern refugee and asylum law. We will compare U.S. domestic law to international laws and policies applicable to refugees, focusing on bases of persecution that lead to protection.


Torts is an introduction to the system governing civil liability for wrongs. Unlike contract law, in which persons establish standards governing their relations in private agreements, tort law imposes rights and duties between persons even when the parties have not done so by contract. Unlike criminal law which the government (rather than the victim) imposes societal standards through the medium litigation seeking punishment for violation of criminal law, tort litigation is controlled by the injured person who seeks not punishment, but personal compensation via money damages from the person whose violation of the laws of torts cause harm to the victim. Course coverage focuses on the tort of Negligence. As time permits, other torts are analyzed.

Book Chapters

Issues in Family Law for People with HIV, in AIDS and the Law (4th ed. Supp. 2014), co-author with Scott Skinner-Thompson.

Family Court Proceedings, in the American Bar Association's HIV & AIDS Benchbook, co-author with Toni Holness and Carolyn McAllaster (2d ed. 2012).


Carol M. Suzuki, Death with Dignity and Advance Directives in the United States, 1 JACE Newsletter 1 (Japan Association for Clinical Ethics) (Sept. 2013).

"How Law Schools in the United States Are Responding to Decreasing Applications and Job Prospects," 47 Comparative L. Rev. 123 (2014) (translated by Yoshitaka Nakamura) (Waseda University Institute of Comparative Law).

Carol M. Suzuki, Potentials of Japanese Law School Clinics to Aid the Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Nuclear Accident, 4 Lawyers and Clinical Education 90 (2011) (translated by Kyoko Ishida).

Carol M. Suzuki, When Something Is Not Quite Right: Considerations for Advising a Client to Seek Mental Health Treatment, 6 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 209 (2009).

Carol M. Suzuki, Unpacking Pandora’s Box: Innovative Techniques for Effectively Counseling Asylum Applicants Suffering From Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, 4 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 235 (2007).