Photo: Maryam Ahranjani

Maryam Ahranjani

Professor of Law

  • Ronald and Susan Friedman Professor


  • LLM, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • JD, American University Washington College of Law
  • BSEd (magna cum laude in Social Policy), Northwestern University
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-2113
 Office: 3238


Professor Maryam Ahranjani teaches, writes, and speaks in the areas of constitutional rights, criminal law and procedure, and education law.

The author of numerous book chapters, law review articles, and other articles, Professor Ahranjani has earned wide recognition as a leader, teacher, and scholar. In 2023, she received the Deborah L. Rhode Award from the Association of American Law Schools for being a trailblazer in legal education. She was elected an American Bar Foundation Fellow and named an Albuquerque Woman of Influence in 2021. In 2020, the American Bar Association gave her the Raeder-Taslitz Award for excellence in teaching criminal law. For her “commitment to excellent teaching, community engagement and innovative pedagogy,” Professor Ahranjani earned UNM's campus-wide Early Career Teacher of the Year. In 2019, Professor Ahranjani received the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the Education Law Association.

Professor Ahranjani thoroughly enjoys community leadership and professional service, including, for example, participating in amicus briefs, working with school districts on equity and inclusion, and speaking with the media about issues of public significance. In addition to chairing important internal committees, she serves as an active faculty advisor to several student groups and volunteers with several local and national non-profit boards and organizations. Professor Ahranjani has served as the Chair of three AALS sections and the Reporter of the ABA Women in Criminal Justice Task Force. She currently serves as the Co-Chair of the ABA Criminal Justice Section Women in Criminal Justice Committee and a member of the ABA Standing Committee on Silver Gavel Awards. She also dedicates significant time to the UNMSOL chapter of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project, a pipeline program that trains and supervises law students teaching high school students about their constitutional rights and responsibilities. 

Fluent in Spanish and Persian, Professor Ahranjani has worked for a boutique education law firm in Washington, DC, the National Association of College and University Attorneys, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and ABA Rule of Law Initiative. Immediately prior to joining the UNM faculty, she worked as an international legal consultant in Guatemala City, where she designed and conducted human rights trainings for Guatemalan government officials, served on an assessment team for youth migration intervention programs, and worked to create civic education programs. She has taught at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid), University of Nevada Boyd School of Law, Universidad del Istmo (Guatemala City), American University Washington College of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Universidad de Chile.


Constitutional Rights

This course involves an in-depth inquiry into the building blocks of civil rights law; freedom of expression (speech and press), equal protection, due process, and religious freedom. There will be discussion of litigation strategy and the decision-making processes of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Criminal Law I

This course considers the general principles of substantive criminal law and evaluates them in terms of the various purposes that justify a system of criminal punishment. It will include an analysis of the doctrines of mens rea attempt, complicity, and conspiracy as well as certain crimes such as homicide and certain defenses such as self-defense.

See Professor for course description.

See Professor for course description.


The Practicum Course is not really a separate course; rather, it is a hands-on, practice-based extension of the Torts, Contracts, and Criminal Law courses. Students explore the theoretical connections among the three courses in the context of resolving simulated but realistic client problems. The course stresses practical and analytical skills through writing exercises while also exploring substantive law questions that are addressed in other first semester courses.


Books & Book Chapters

Maryam Ahranjani, The Role of the Law School Dean and Faculty in Supporting and Sustaining Ethical and Antiracist Admissions Practices, Antiracist Approaches to Admissions and Financial Aid (Jay Austin and Patricia Roberts, ed., forthcoming).

Maryam Ahranjani and Adria Kimbrough, Is Standardized Testing Antithetical to Antiracism Efforts in Law School Admissions?, Antiracist Approaches to Admissions and Financial Aid (Jay Austin and Patricia Roberts, ed., forthcoming).

Maryam Ahranjani, Public K-12 Education in the Wake of the Guatemalan Civil War and the Continuing Path to Educational Success, Dictators and the Disappeared: Democracy Lost and Restored (Russ Davidson and Leslie Blaugrund Kim, ed., 2023).

Maryam Ahranjani and J.C. Blokhuis, Purposes of Education, Legal Foundations of Education (J.C. Blokhuis, ed., 2023).

Erecting a Virtual Schoolhouse Gate, Constitutional Knowledge and Its Impact on Citizenship Exercise in a Networked Society (Ana Melro and Lídia Oliveira ed. 2019).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Youth Justice in America (2014) (co-authored with Andrew G. Ferguson and Jamin B. Raskin).
Available at:  UNM-DR

High School to Law School: Marshall-Brennan and Moot Court,  The Education Pipeline to the Professions: Programs that Work to Increase Diversity (Sarah E. Redfield ed. 2012).
Available at:  UNM-DR

The Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project: A Case Study in Law and Social Justice,  Childhood, Youth, and Social Work in Transformation: Implications for Policy and Practice (Lynn M. Nybell et al. ed. 2009).
Available at:  UNM-DR


The Constitutional Costs Of School Policing, 72 American University Law Review 337 (2022) (co-authored with Natalie Saing).
Available at: UNM-DR

Sprinting a Marathon: Next Steps for Gender Equity in Criminal Law Employment, 106 Minnesota Law Review: Headnotes 228 (2022).
Available at:  UNM-DR

The Role of Lawyers in Bridging the Gap between the Robust Federal Rights to Education and Relatively Low Education Outcomes in Guatemala, 2021 Auctoritas Prudentium 25 (2021).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Toughen Up, Buttercup" versus #TimesUp: Initial Findings of the ABA Women in Criminal Justice Task Force,  25 Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law 99 (2020).
Available at:  UNM-DR

School "Safety" Measures Jump Constitutional Guardrails,  44 Seattle University Law Review 273 (2020).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Universities as “Sanctuaries,” 44 J. C. & U.L. 1 (2018).
Available at:  UNM-DR

The Prisonization of America’s Public Schools: Prioritizing “Security” over Privacy, 45 Hofstra Law Review 4 (2017).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Evaluating High School Students’ Constitutional and Civic Literacy: A Case Study of the Washington, DC Chapter of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project  90 Denver University Law Review 917 (2013) (co-authored with Jeffrey J. Shook and Caleb Medearis).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Can They Do That to Me?! Does the 8th Amendment Protection Children’s Best Interests? 63 South Carolina Law Review 403 (2011).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Mary Daly v. Boston College: The Impermissibility of Single-Sex Classes in Private Universities, 9 American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 179 (2001).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Bar & Trade Publications

Pulling Back the Curtain: A Follow-Up Report from the ABA Criminal Justice Section Women in Criminal Justice Task Force, CRIM. JUST. (October 2, 2021).
Available at:  UNM-DR 

Looking Back, Looking Forward: Women in Criminal Justice Task Force , CRIM. JUST. (October 26, 2020).
Available at:  UNM-DR 

Developing Youth Voices, CLEO EDGE 52 (Winter/Spring 2020).
Available at:  UNM-DR

Listening Session Participants Express Feelings of Isolation – and Demonstrate Resilience, CRIM. L. 52 (Fall 2019).
Available at:  Criminal Justice

What Does Immigration Status Have to do with Law School, CLEO 50 (2018).
Available at:  UNM-DR


Women's TaskForce, and  Training the Next Generation of Criminal Justice Leaders, ABA CJS Fall Institute (November 19, 2020)
Abstract at:  ABA CJS

Popular Press

Why are Women Lawyers Underrepresented in Criminal Justice?, TYL MAG. (March 31, 2021).
Available at: UNM-DR

Task Force Ops: Initial Findings from the Women in Criminal Justice Task Forc‪e, THE JUSTPOD (March 3, 2021).
Available at: UNM-DR

Immigration Trends in the D.C. Area and What They Mean for Public Education, THE WASHINGTON POST (July 9, 2004).

Young Lawyers Rising Podcast, Breaking Barriers: Women in Criminal Law, American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (Oct. 20, 2022).
Available at: UNM-DR

Teaching Resources

We've Got Letters: Three Integrated Curriculum Guides For The Washington Post Newspaper In Education Program, 17 THE WASHINGTON POST (2017).
Available at:  UNM-DR
Available at:  We've Got Letters

National Constitution Day Teaching Modules, BAND OF RIGHTS (2005-2013).
Available at:  UNM-DR
Available at:  Band of Rights


2023 AALS Deborah L. Rhode Award
Affiliated Faculty, UNM Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
Ronald & Susan Friedman Faculty Excellence Award (2022-2025)
Woody Award for "Most Supportive Faculty Member" from the UNMSOL Class of 2022
 2021 Woman of Influence, Albuqueruque Business First
 Rader-Taslitz Award, ABA Criminal Justice Section
 Don L. & Mabel F. Dickason Professorship for a three-year term (2019-2022).
 2019-2020 UNM New Teacher of the Year Award
 2019 Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship from the Education Law Association
Lee & Leon Karelitz Professor of Evidence and Procedure, UNMSOL (2018-2019)

In the News

Law School News

Professor Maryam Ahranjani Honored at the Education Law Association’s 65th Annual Conference
January 14, 2020

20 Years of Impact
April 8, 2019

“Immigration status should not be a barrier to higher education”
December 14, 2017

Hofstra Law Review Publishes “The Prisonization of America’s Public Schools” by Professor Ahranjani
October 26, 2017

Eighty high school students learn about the Constitution at UNM Law School on Sept. 22
October 24, 2017

Prof. Maryam Ahranjani quoted in Santa Fe Reporter
October 24, 2016

UNM Law School hires two new tenure-track professors
August 22, 2016