About the Clinical Program
Message from J. Michael Norwood
Emeritus Professor of Law
Director of Clinical Programs
1983 to 1992
The pioneering vision for a dynamic, evolving clinic continues and is now reflected in our collaborative, multidisciplinary approach and state-of-the-art clinical classrooms.
One of the first law schools in the country to create a mandatory clinic, UNM also pioneered the use of technology in the clinical program with the development and use of an automated case management system. Constantly expanding and evolving, our clinical program continues to be recognized as a national leader.
In the Beginning
In May 1970 the New Mexico Supreme Court adopted a rule whose purpose is "to permit a clinical program for the University of New Mexico School of Law" by allowing qualified law students to practice law and "appear before the courts and administrative agencies of this state, in civil and criminal matters, under the active supervision of a member of the state bar designated by the dean of the law school."
After a year of planning, the law school established its clinical program, and it has been in continuous operation since its inception. Clinical faculty continue to expand and enhance the program that helped to pioneer clinical legal education.
The UNM School of Law is committed to preparing its graduates to the fullest extent possible for the practice of law. A key component of that preparation is providing students with opportunities to learn from the experience of actually practicing law while working under the guidance and supervision of experienced and dedicated lawyers and law professors.
While the courses that qualify for the mandatory clinic credit hours provide students with the opportunity to work on real legal matters in a variety of practice settings and contexts, the law school’s clinical program is complemented by a number of elective courses that expand and enhance students’ opportunities to learn from the actual practice experience envisioned by the New Mexico Supreme Court so many years ago.
Message from Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
Dickason Professor of Law - Retired
former Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs
As Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, my goal was to make UNM Law’s Clinical Program the premiere poverty law firm in the state. I enjoyed working with the committed faculty and amazing students as they served clients, developed values and grew as professionals. It was a time of great innovation - the Southwest Indian Law Clinic, the Business and Tax Clinic, the Law Practice Clinic and the Medical/Legal Alliance became integral sections of the firm.
Our clinic focuses on inclusion. All students have the opportunity for a clinical experience with core clinical faculty and the traditional course faculty who rotate into the clinic. We collaborate with the Courts, the Bar, New Mexico communities, and legal educators nationwide.
This fall, the School of Law is hosting an invitation-only two day conference supported by the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) on implementing best practices for legal education.
Keynote speaker: Roy Stuckey, Best Practices for Legal Education: A Vision and a Road Map
Facilitators: Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Dickason Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law, and Deborah Maranville, Director of Experiential Learning, University of Washington, editors of the forthcoming book Building on Best Practices for Legal Education: The Walls are Coming Down.
Message from April Land
Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs and Clinic Director
We train law students how to practice law. Guided by an energetic group of tenure and tenure-track faculty, our students represent real people. They gain a first-hand, critical understanding of the responsibility of lawyering and the privilege of serving.
We shape more lawyers through service than any other institution in the state.
Our law students are on the front lines of public service, representing real clients while receiving six credits for the mandatory clinic program. Our students have appeared in Metropolitan Court, District Courts, Tribal Courts, the New Mexico Court of Appeals, and the New Mexico Supreme Court as part of their clinical training.
We shape competent, confident lawyers.
Working in multidisciplinary teams in the clinics, our students enhance their analytical skills and develop problem-solving and counseling skills.
Students enjoy individualized and expert training from seasoned faculty and acquire a tested first-hand familiarity with the legal system in advance of their graduation.
The Community Lawyering Clinic provides outreach legal services in partnership with local community service providers, including non-legal disciplines. Through the Medical-Legal Alliance (MLA), the clinic has entered into a strategic alliance, one of the nation’s first, with the Pediatrics and Family Medicine Departments of the UNM Health Sciences Center.