After eight years of hauling water any way they could, residents of Pajarito Mesa, an unincorporated colonia south of Albuquerque, will be receiving their own centralized fill station. The UNM School of Law clinical program was instrumental in making it happen.
After the state Legislature approved $750,000 for the Pajarito Mesa Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association, the group approached New Mexico Legal Aid, which referred them to the clinic, which is where Kristina Fisher, a 3L, took over.
Under the supervision of professors Fred Hart and Nathalie Martin, who was teaching the Business and Tax Clinic, Fisher reviewed a contract the association had received from the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, which will be providing the water. She offered a few suggestions, thrilled to be working on a water issue.
Fisher, who came to law school to study environmental law and is editor-in-chief of the Natural Resources Journal, had very little background in business law prior to taking the clinic.
"It was a quick learning experience, figuring out what I need to look for in a contract and feeling comfortable to be able to explain to the group about the provisions and what they need to be concerned about," she says. "It was great to be able to serve this group that is so underserved."
Next, the clinic will help the Pajarito association work out an agreement between the association and the individual water users to figure out a pay structure. Water is expected to be pumped to the mesa by next February.