Association of Public Interest Law

Constitution and By-Laws

ARTICLE I: Name: The name of the organization shall be the Association for Public Interest Law at the University of New Mexico School of Law (APIL at UNM Law).

ARTICLE II: Purpose: APIL at UNM School of Law is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including, but not limited to:

  1. Raise and allocate funds in order to provide grant recipients with an opportunity to gain practical experience in public interest law.
  2. Assist public interest governmental or non-governmental non-profit agencies to achieve their goals by encouraging and enabling students to undertake unpaid summer internships.
  3. Educate students about career opportunities in public interest law and legal services. Create a community where students can demonstrate their individual and communal support of public interest law.

ARTICLE III: Membership: All UNM School of Law students are eligible to become members of APIL at UNM. They may become members by demonstrating an interest in the group, and participating in APIL at UNM activities. Voting rights are limited to members who pay $5.00 yearly dues each spring of the school year.

ARTICLE IV: Executive Council: The affairs of APIL at UNM shall be managed by its Executive Council. Executive Council action shall be by a majority. In circumstances where not all of the members of the Executive Council are present, a 2/3 quorum is necessary.

  1. Members-The Executive Council shall be comprised of the duly elected officers of APIL at UNM and any additional members elected to the Council. Additional members shall be comprised of one student from each year. Other than the First-year member, the members of the Council shall be elected by all the membership in the spring. The First-year member shall be elected in the first official APIL at UNM meeting for the academic year. There shall be an election for one student-at-large in the event there is an even number of members on the Executive Council. The member-at-large shall be elected by the voting membership at the second official meeting of APIL at UNM for the academic year.
  2. Term-Executive Council members shall serve from the spring of the academic year they were elected to the following spring, with the exception of the First Year member and the student-at-large who shall serve from the time of their election to the next election.
  3. Removal-Any member of the Executive Council may be removed from office by an affirmative vote of of the Executive Council.
  4. Vacancies-Any vacancy of a member of the Executive Council shall be filled by a majority vote of the membership. A member elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired term of his/her predecessor.
  5. Committees-The Executive Council may from time to time, form such committees or subcommittees, to perform any duties specified by the Executive Council, provided that any decision requiring the expenditure of Grant Funds must be approved by a majority of the Executive Council before the expenditure is authorized.

ARTICLE V: Officers: The officers of APIL at UNM shall be a President, a Vice-President, a Treasurer, and a Secretary. All of these positions may be held by one or more persons as to be determined by the membership.

  1. Election-Officers shall be elected by the membership. Elections shall be held in the spring semester by a majority vote of the membership at a meeting with written notice of the meeting.
  2. Term-Officers shall serve from the spring of the academic year they were elected to the following spring.
  3. Removal-Any Officer may be removed by an affirmative vote of of the Executive Council.
  4. Vacancies-Any vacancy of any office shall be filled by a majority vote of the Executive Council. Any Officer elected to fill a vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired term of his/her predecessor in office.
  5. President-The President shall be the principle Executive Officer of APIL at UNM. Subject to the direction and control of the Executive Council. He/She shall be in charge of the business and affairs of the Organization; shall see that the resolutions and the directives of the Executive Council are carried into effect; and in general shall discharge all duties incident to the Office of the President.
  6. Vice-President-The Vice-President shall assist the President in the discharge of his/her duties as the President may direct, and shall perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him/her by the President or by the Executive Council. In the absence of the President or in the event of his/her inability or refusal to act, the Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President and when doing so shall have the powers of and be subject to all restrictions upon the President.
  7. Treasurer-The Treasurer shall be the principle accounting and financial office of the organization. He/She shall have charge of and be responsible for the maintenance of adequate books of account for the Organization; and be responsible for the receipt of funds and the disbursement of the funds. The Treasurer shall perform all duties incident to the Office of Treasurer and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to him/her by the President or by the Executive Council.
  8. Secretary-The Secretary shall record the minutes of the meetings of the general membership and the Executive Council, and see that notices are posted for meetings of the membership and the Executive Council.

ARTICLE VI: APIL Public Interest Fellowship.

  1. Grant Selection.
    1. Awards of Grants-The Executive Council shall disburse fellowship grants to support legal work in the public interest by funding University of New Mexico School of Law students in public not-for-profit law agencies and legal services projects. Grants shall be awarded and payments made directly to the recipient in a manner to be determined by the Executive Council.
    2. Form of Grant Applications-The Executive Council may prescribe the form of the grant application and the types, amount and detailed information to be furnished by grant applicants.
    3. Eligibility to Receive Grants-Priority shall be given to first and second year students. After granting awards to first and second year students, APIL at UNM may award any remaining money to third year students for bar expenses. The third year student must be accepting employment at a public interest agency or an indigent legal service organization after graduation. Any student who has fulfilled the following conditions may apply for an award:
      1. Participation in APIL at UNM during the school year. Participation includes a minimum five-hour commitment in the fall semester and a minimum five-hour commitment in the spring semester for a total of ten hours at any APIL at UNM sponsored event.
      2. A firm commitment of employment at a public interest law job for the summer. This requirement may be met by working a number of hours per week as determined by the Executive Council. The applicant must work under the supervision of an attorney licensed to practice law.
      3. A letter from an employer verifying that a firm offer has been extended in accordance with the specified hours as determined by the Executive Council in Article VI (C) (2).

        Note: Federal law prohibits APIL at UNM from funding Federal judicial externships.

      4. Any grant recipient may be asked to serve in the grant selection committee the following year.
      5. Any student who receives a grant must provide the Executive Council with a letter of commitment from the employer and a written report of his/her work experience the following fall semester that shall include the following:
        1. The purpose of the project;
        2. The work undertaken;
        3. The results of the work;
        4. The evaluation of the place of employment;
        5. The nature of the supervision received.
          Note: These reports shall be retained by the Secretary and shall be made available for public view.

    4. Grant Selection Criteria.
      1. The selection committee shall consider, but are not limited to the following factors in determining grant awards: Present and future commitment to public interest work, and presentation of the student's application (including the interview). The Committee will also consider the quality of supervision and training provided by the organization. While all factors are important, personal commitment to public interest law will be accorded the greatest weight. In the course of the interview, applicants may be asked to further explain their financial status. This information will assist the Committee in determining how to best allocate funds.
      2. No grant shall be given the purpose of which is contrary to the purpose of APIL at the UNM, as set out in Article II.
    5. Selection Committee.
      1. The Executive Council has sole power for development of the grant application form, administration of grant applications, and conducting the election for a Selection Committee, which shall interview the applicants and recommend grant awards in the manner prescribed by the Executive Council in compliance with the Constitution.
      2. The Selection Committee shall consist of a combination of Executive Council members and past grant recipients.
      3. The Administration shall disperse all grant awards as determined by APIL at UNM.
      4. This Committee will participate in the Student Bar Association (SBA) public interest fellowship in accordance with the rules established by the SBA public interest fellowship committee bylaws.

ARTICLE VII: Amendments to the Constitution. Such action may be taken at a meeting of the membership with written notice of the purpose of the meeting. All amendments must receive an affirmative vote of 2/3 of the Executive Board and 2/3 of the membership present.