The Honorable M. Christina Armijo (`75) of the U.S. District Court in New Mexico was presented with the Henrietta Pettijohn Award by the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association at a late-October reception. Armijo was honored for her outstanding achievements in advancing women in the legal profession.
The award is named in recognition of Pettijohn, who was the first woman to be licensed to practice law in the Territory of New Mexico. She began practicing in 1892 in Las Vegas, which, coincidentally, is Armijo’s hometown. Like Pettijohn, Armijo was a trailblazer; she was the first woman to set up a private practice in Las Vegas.
“As we continue to build on the past achievements of those who came before us, we must not lose sight of the fact that so many of the opportunities afforded to us today were mere dreams of those who founded the New Mexico Women's Bar Association some 30 years ago,” said Armijo.
Armijo began her legal career in 1975 as a staff attorney with Sandoval County Legal Services. After two years, she returned to her hometown to practice law. She remained there until 1996, when she joined the New Mexico Court of Appeals, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve on any appellate court in New Mexico. In 2001, she was appointed to the U.S. District Court.
While in private practice, Armijo was a member of a core committee that rewrote the New Mexico Children’s Code, and was recognized by the New Mexico Legislature for her work on the Children’s Code Revision Task Force. She also was a member of the Women and the Profession Task Force, which conducted a gender bias survey relating to the practice of law in New Mexico. In 1991 she was awarded the Outstanding Contribution Award by the State Bar of New Mexico for her work on the survey.
For the past 28 years, Armijo has been a volunteer with the New Mexico High School Mock Trial Competition, and when she was in practice, she generously contributed many pro bono hours to Habitat for Humanity and the State Bar’s Lawyer Referral for the Elderly Program.
“The New Mexico Women’s Bar Association is honored to give the 2011 Henrietta Pettijohn award to Judge Armijo for her life-long work in the profession, said Erika Anderson (`01), president of the association. “Throughout Judge Armijo’s career, she has always served as a mentor to women. She has also been a leader in advancing women in the legal profession, and we could not think of anyone more deserving of this award.”
October 31, 2011