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Outstanding graduate and two students receive prestigious awards

September 9, 2016 - Tamara Williams

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Paul Hibner ('15) received his award at a dinner with (l-r) Dean Sergio Pareja, Randi McGinn, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico Charlie Daniels, Stephanie Hibner, and Dean Alfred Mathewson.

Paul Darby Hibner (’15), Dominic Martinez (’17) and Tess Williams (’17) recently received three of the UNM School of Law’s top awards.  

Hibner received the Daniels Diploma at a dinner with UNM Law School Deans Sergio Pareja and Alfred Mathewson, Randi McGinn and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico Charlie Daniels. Hibner was joined by his wife Stephanie Hibner. 

Martinez was awarded the Salazar Prize and Williams received the Justice Pamela B. Minzner Award for Professionalism and Ethics at a dual reception in the King Room at the Law Library.

Paul Darby Hibner awarded the Daniels Diploma

The Daniels Diploma is an annual award honoring graduate and former professor Justice Charles W. Daniels of the New Mexico Supreme Court. It is generally awarded to the person who graduates first in the class.

 Hibner expressed his sincerest appreciation at being awarded the Daniels Diploma. He told Randi McGinn and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Mexico Charlie Daniels that he was inspired by the example they both set. He gave credit to his support system and to the law school faculty and staff and added, “If I stand tall today, it is only because I stand on the shoulders of these amazing people who lift me up every day.”

Hibner graduated summa cum laude in December of 2015. He maintained the top GPA of his class in each semester, was a member of the law school’s National Mock Trial Team, and was the project lead for the El Centro Wage Theft Project at the school’s Clinic in the Summer of 2015. 

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Dominic Martinez ('17) and the Salazar Prize with sponsor John P. Salazar, an attorney with the Rodey Law Firm, and Dean Sergio Pareja.

Dominic Martinez awarded the Salazar Prize

The Salazar Prize, awarded annually to the student with the highest cumulative grade point average at the conclusion of the second year of law school, honors the memory of Tibo J. Chavez, Salazar’s late uncle, who inspired lives of service and excellence in the law through his many accomplishments.

Steve Scholl (’89), a trial attorney and adjunct professor at the law school and coach for the Mock Trial Competition, introduced Martinez.

Martinez was on his high school’s mock trial team when he met Scholl. Scholl pointed out that Martinez became valedictorian of his class while on the high school team and that he participated in the National Mock Trial, involving two months of extremely intense preparation, and still was able to pull off the highest grades as a second year law student.

“Tibo Chavez was the type of lawyer and public servant that I aspire to be, and I am honored to receive the award established in his memory,” said Martinez. “I'm very thankful to my family, friends, educators, and mentors for the support that they've given me through my first two years of law school.”

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Tess Williams ('17) and the Minzner Award with sponsor Dick Minzner and Dean Sergio Pareja.

Tess Williams received The Justice Pamela B. Minzner Award for Professionalism and Ethics

The Justice Pamela B. Minzner Award for Professionalism and Ethics is presented annually to a UNM Law student entering their final year of law school who demonstrates need and an interest in professionalism and legal ethics.

Williams was introduced by Professor David Stout, who knew her from class and from interactions in the community over the past two years.

“Tess is an eminently worthy recipient of the Minzner award who has consistently demonstrated those qualities of character that were so much a part of Justice Minzner’s view of the consummate legal professional -  compassion for others and participation through service in the life of our legal community,” he said.

“Justice Minzner was an incredibly talented and compassionate woman and judge, and I am honored to receive an award created in her name,” said Williams. “I hope to help contribute to her great legacy of continued ethical and professional practice in the New Mexico legal community.”