Photo: Verónica C.  Gonzales

Verónica C.  Gonzales

Associate Professor of Law


  • B.A. University of New Mexico
  • J.D. University of New Mexico School of Law with Clinical Honors
  • Member of the New Mexico Bar
  • Member of Order of the Coif

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-1782
 Office: 3123


Verónica C. Gonzales is a Latina lawyer in New Mexico who teaches primarily civil procedure I and II, ethics, poverty law, and appellate decision-making. She previously taught in UNM’s top-ranked Clinical Law Program, and as an adjunct professor, taught Indian Civil Rights, the Tribal Law Journal, and Appellate Moot Court. She was recently awarded the 2023 Project for NM Graduates of Color All-Around Support Award, which is awarded to a faculty member who prioritizes mentoring students of color.  

Professor Gonzales, a first-generation college graduate, brings rich experience litigating in tribal, state, and federal courts at district and appellate levels. She was an appellate judicial law clerk for New Mexico Supreme Court Justice P. Jimenez Maes (’73) (ret.), and New Mexico Court of Appeals Judge E. Kiehne and then-Chief Judge M. Zamora (’87) (ret.). She practiced complex litigation at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, an Am Law 200-rated law firm, and at David Walther Law (now known as Macías-Mayo Law). She has appeared on behalf of amici in the 9th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gonzales’ scholarly work centers access to justice and economic justice. Her most recent article, “The COVID Ceiling,” explores racial, gender, and economic disparities experienced by women of color and mother-scholars in the workplace. It was published in the UCLA Chicanx Latinx Law Review during the summer of 2023. Her prior works have been published by Carolina Academic Press and the Journal of Legal Education, a peer-reviewed legal journal.

Gonzales regularly participates in pro bono fairs and as a volunteer arbitrator. She previously served on the boards of the NM Hispanic Bar Association, NM Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers. Currently, she is serving as Chair of the AALS Poverty Law Section.


Appellate Decision Making

The goal of this class is to offer a “behind-the-scenes” look into the appellate court, which, in turn, will offer insight into how to practice before the trial and appellate courts. Students will act as judges on the N.M. Court of Appeals and work in panels of three to resolve actual cases before the Court. Students will gain an understanding of how judges approach issues, decide cases, and write opinions. This will include the way in which judges limit issues, decide cases narrowly, try to get to the critical and decisive issue, and struggle with cases that can rationally be decided either way.

In addition, students will complete this course with:

  • An awareness of the importance of careful trial practice (e.g., preservation of error; preservation of argument; identification of critical issues; development of facts, issues, and arguments; offers of proof).
  • An understanding of appellate briefing (e.g., quality product; identification of issues; lack of development of facts, issues, or arguments; identification of the standard of review; raising preservation issues; following rules; avoiding obvious mistakes; good writing skills; brevity; editing by colleagues).
  • An understanding of the importance of collegiality and the processes of panel discussions, collaborative decision-making, and opinion writing.

Civil Procedure I

Civil Procedure I is an introduction to procedures employed by state and federal courts for resolution of civil disputes. The course investigates the process of forum selection, the rules implementing the requirement of notice and an opportunity to be heard, the pleadings stage of litigation, the discovery process, and the summary judgment mechanism as a device for terminating litigation prior to trial. The advanced course, Civil Procedure II, is offered to 2L and 3L students and continues the chronological study of civil litigation through the appellate process.

Civil Procedure II

This course continues the analysis (begun in Civil Procedure I) of the procedural stages of a simple lawsuit, considers special problems raised by complex litigation, and explores alternatives to traditional litigation as a means of resolving disputes.

Course topics include: pre-trial conference; judge and jury selection; judgment as a matter of law; jury instructions and form of verdict; findings of fact and conclusions of law; post-trial motions for new trial and renewed requests for judgment as a matter of law; appeal; motions for relief from judgment; collateral estoppel, res judicata and law of the case; joinder, impleader, intervention, interpleader, declaratory actions and class actions; and arbitration. The focus is on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but New Mexico procedural law is also considered throughout the course.

Community Lawyering Clinic

Contact instructor for course description.


We will study the rules governing the professional conduct of lawyers and explore the values of the legal system which justify and explain those rules. Specific subject matter includes: the duties of competence, confidentiality, and loyalty; acquisition and retention of clients (including undertaking representation, advertising, solicitation, and withdrawal from representation); and problems concerning the manner of representation (the "Principle of Professionalism" and "zealous advocacy within the bounds of the law"). Concepts will be illustrated through application of the rules to problems, use of video and audio clips for discussion, supplementary readings, and student presentations of rules and cases related to assigned fact patterns. In addition to the traditional final essay examination, quizzes on various topics, using questions taken directly from the MPRE practice exams, will be given throughout the semester.

Indian Civil Rights

Exploring tribal sovereignty; status of Indians and tribes through history; the historical context and purposes of enactment of ICRA; scope, limitation, and enforcement of ICRA; impact on tribal sovereignty and individual rights; modern application in federal/ state/ tribal courts; evolution and impact of TLOA, VAWA, AEDPA; criminal and civil jurisdiction in Indian country; state power over Indian affairs; case studies regarding equal protection, due process, religious freedom, education, identity and enrollment, prisons, indian gaming, child welfare; and broader policy considerations such as human rights and tribal self-determination.

  • The Indian Civil Rights Act at Forty, 2012 ed., Edited by Kristen A. Carpenter, Matthew L.M. Fletcher, and Angela R. Riley, ISBN 978-0-935626-67-4
  • The Rights of Indians and Tribes, 4th ed. (2012), Authored by Stephen L. Pevar, ISBN 978-0199795352

Moot Court Competition - National Native American Law Student Association

Contact instructor for course description.

Poverty Law

Contact instructor for course description.

Southwest Indian Law Clinic

Background –The Southwest Indian Law Clinic (SILC) provides high quality legal representation and clinical practice experience in Indian Country. SILC is pro-active in the advocacy, promotion and establishment of indigenous people’s rights. SILC students may represent individual clients and/or tribal groups or Indian communities. Through representation, students may be exposed to issues arising from historical oppression, poverty and under-representation, and other issues related to culture, race and socio-economic status in the legal system. Students are taught to approach legal solutions premised on tribal sovereignty, cultural rights or traditional internal law, as well as general legal principles.

Type of Case Work – The type of case work depends largely on the existing caseload and new case intake, but the Clinic experience is also driven by individual student interest and energy.

The Southwest Indian Law Clinic handles cases arising under federal, state or tribal law. Students may have opportunities to appear in all courts and to assist clients in access and use of tribal traditional dispute resolution in their community. SILC cases allow students to engage in vigorous defense, active motion practice and extensive brief writing. These cases typically involve people that would go without representation, but for SILC.

Clients – Potential clients come from the outlying and nearby Pueblos and tribal communities, and the urban Indian population. In addition to serving walk-in clients, SILC may provide legal services or intake at community intake sites in and around Albuquerque. Students may also engage in project work with tribal governments, non-profit organizations and non-governmental Indian organizations.

Clinic Class and Office hours – Students will be required (1) to attend and actively participate in up to five classroom sessions (ten during summer’s first three weeks) during each week of the academic semester and (2) to maintain, in addition to classroom hours, a schedule of 24 (2-hours block) fixed office hours (physically present in the clinic, working on clinic matters) each week during Summer, or 16 (2-hours block) fixed office hours each week during Fall and Spring semesters.

Classroom learning complements and supports both the high quality representation and professionalism in all dealings with clients, staff, supervisors, the judiciary, opposing parties and others. Classroom discussions of pending cases and assigned readings; role-play and simulation; and cultural and racial literacy exercises enable students to practice and gain confidence in skills such as, client interviewing and counseling, advocacy, and communication.

Questions about the Southwest Indian Law Clinic? Please feel free to visit with Profs. Creel or Zuni Cruz. Have a great Clinic experience!

Tribal Law Journal

Students enrolled in the Law of Indigenous Peoples class will be invited to join the Tribal Law Journal staff for the fall and spring semesters of their second and third years. The journal is an exclusively on-line journal devoted to advancing indigenous self-determination through promoting scholarship and discussion on internal indigenous law. Students will meet throughout the year to learn, not only correct Bluebook citation styles, but also how to cite sources of traditional law. Students will be given the opportunity to edit and source check scholarly papers submitted to the journal, including substantive and technical editing, as well as opportunities to promote the mission of the journal in the community and submit their own written work for publication. The journal provides students the opportunity to learn more about indigenous law and to contribute their voice to the discussion relating to the internal law of the world’s indigenous people.



The COVID Ceiling, 39 (1) U.C.L.A. Chicanx Latinx L. Rev. 105 (2023)
Available at: UCLA Chicanx-Latinx Law Review

Introduction to A Collection of Essays by Millennial Law Scholars, 69 (3) J. Legal Educ. 607 (Verónica Gonzales-Zamora & Marcus Gadson eds., Spring 2020)
Available at: Journal of Legal Education

Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Breath: A Call for Economic Justice, in A Collection of Essays by Millennial Law Scholars, 69 (3) J. Legal Educ. 643 (Verónica Gonzales-Zamora & Marcus Gadson eds., Spring 2020)
Available at: Journal of Legal Education

Book Chapter

A Millennial’s Guide to Learning Management Systems in Designing the Course of the Future, Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era: Beyond the Physical Classroom (Tessa L. Dysart & Tracy L.M. Norton ed., Carolina Acad. Press, 2021)
Available at: Carolina Academic Press

Popular Press

Aguacero, New Mexico Poetry Anthology (Levi Romero & Michelle Otero Eds. 2023) Available at: Museum of New Mexico Press

Justices to hear procedural question in Maryland prison-assault case, SCOTUSblog (Apr. 23, 2023, 11:00 PM)
Available at: SCOTUS BLOG 

First-of-its-Kind Millennial/Xennial Scholars Roundtable on the Future of Legal Education, Race &  L.  Prof. Blog (Aug. 10, 2020)
Available at: Race and the Law Prof Blog

Bar & Trade Publications

Comment in Support of Proposal 2018-006 – Immigration status of bar applicants (Rule 15-103(B)(7)), N.M. HISP. BAR ASSOC. (Apr. 11, 2018)
Available at: UNM-DR

State Habeas and Tribal Habeas: Identical or Fraternal Twins, 36(4) ABA APP. PRAC. J. (Aug. 31, 2017) (co-authored with Barbara Creel)
Available at: ABA Appellate Practice Committee 

Appellate Pro Bono Manual Update, ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers (2d ed. Nov. 4, 2017) (co-authored)
Available at: UNM-DR

Presentations to Academic Community

Ethics of Pro Bono Legal Services, UNM School of Law Poverty Law Course, Apr. 6, 2024 (continuing legal education course for practitioners and law students)

People, Power, and Procedure, Faculty Colloquium, UNM School of Law, Mar. 27, 2024 (continuing legal education course)

Structural Barriers and Systemic Interventions for Economic and Social Mobility, AALS Poverty Law Section, 2024 AALS Annual Meeting, Washington D.C., Jan. 3, 2024 (forthcoming)

Systemic Barriers to Socioeconomic Mobility: A Vulnerability Theory Application, Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory, Inc. 2023 Biennial Conference, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, Oct. 6-7, 2023 ( presented work-in-progress)

Teaching Critical Justice Throughout the Curriculum, Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory, Inc. 2023 Biennial Conference, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY, Oct. 6-7, 2023 (presented work-in-progress)

Race, Gender, and Class Conscious Approaches to Mentoring, PNMGC, UNM, Albuquerque, NM, Sept. 14, 2023
Available at: UNM-DR

Poverty Law: Where Do We Go From Here?, University of California Berkeley Law, Berkeley, CA, Mar 11, 2023 (presented work-in-progress Intersectional Poverty Law)

Poverty Law 2023 & Systemic Advocacy Colloquium, UNM School of Law, Albuquerque, NM, Mar. 21 - Apr. 26, 2023 (coordinated and facilitated 6-week CLE program and course in collaboration with community leaders, policymakers, and litigators) 

Mini-Symposium on Critical Race Theory, UNM Faculty Senate, Albuquerque, NM, Nov. 16, 2022 (co-moderator) 

Introduction to Critical Race Theory, Ad Hoc Committee to the Faculty Senate on Defending Academic Freedom to Teach Critical Topics, Albuquerque, NM, Oct. 25, 2022 (presented to cross-disciplinary group) 

Early Ideas Workshop, AALS Section on Professional Responsibility, Oct. 11, 2022 (presented Community Justice: De-Regulating the Legal Profession)

Community Justice: De-regulating the Legal Profession, 2022 Inaugural Graciela Olivárez Latinas in the Legal Academy sponsored by Stanford Law School, June 24, 2022 (presented incubator topic) 

Student Loan Forgiveness as Reparations, 2022 Margaret E. Montoya Writing and Wellness Retreat, co-sponsored by LatCrit, CERCL (Centering Equity, Race and Cultural Literacy in Family Planning), and Partnership for Community Action, Social Enterprise Center in Albuquerque, NM, June 15-17, 2022 (presented work in progress) 

Building an Antiracist Law School, Legal Academy, and Legal Profession, Antiracist Development Institute at Penn State Dickinson Law, June 6-7, 2022 (presented book chapter in progress)

Minority Groups - Voices of Color Against the Second Redemption, AALS Minority Groups Section and Women in Legal Education, AALS Annual Conference, Jan. 8, 2022 

Covid-19, Crisis, and Pandemics of Inequality, Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory, Inc./SALT Biennial Conference, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Oct. 8, 2021 (presented The COVID Ceiling as part of a panel)

Designing the Law Courses of the Future, Law Teaching Strategies for a New Era - Beyond the Physical Classroom Conference, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, July 22, 2021 (presented Millennial’s Guide to Learning Management Systems as part of a panel)
Available at: UofA 

Economy, Race, Gender, and Age, The Conversation, Co-Hosted by Brown University, Tougaloo College, and University of New Mexico, June 4, 2021 (guest lecturer for summer research dialogue among undergraduates around issues of race, justice, and the law) 

Returning to Lay Advocacy in Historical and Traditional Justice Systems of New Mexico, Law & Society Annual Conference, May 2021 (presenting as part of a panel) 

Triple Threat: New Women of Color in the Academy, 9th Annual Faculty Women of Color in the Academy National Conference, Virginia Tech, Apr. 11, 2021 (moderator) 

The COVID Ceiling, Faculty Colloquium, UNM School of Law, Apr. 7, 2021 (continuing legal education course)
Available at: UNM-DR 

Civil Procedure IRL: A Dangerously Structured Dam Blocking the Flow of Social Justice?, Latina Law Professor Workshop, Jan. 21, 2021 (presented work in progress) 

The Role of Administration and the Structures of Academia, COVID Care Crisis Symposium sponsored by Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies, Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), and Critical Legal Academics and Scholars International Collaborative (CLASIC), Jan. 15, 2021 (presented Super-Moms are Struggling: The Consequences of Social Isolation on Women Faculty as part of panel) 

Gender, Power, and Pedagogy in the Pandemic, AALS Section on Women in Legal Education, Co-sponsored by Clinical Legal Education, Legal Writing Reasoning, and Research and Teaching Methods, AALS Annual Conference, Jan. 8, 2021 (presented Super-Moms are Struggling: The Consequences of Social Isolation on Women Faculty as part of panel) 

Intersectionality, Aging, and the Law, AALS Section on Aging and the Law, Co-Sponsored by Civil Rights, Disability Law, Family & Juvenile Law, Minority Groups, Poverty Law, Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Issues, Trusts & Estates, Women in Legal Education, AALS Annual Conference, Jan. 6, 2021 (presented Triple Threat: Millennial Women of Color as part of panel)

Give me Liberty, or Give me Breath: A Call for Economic Justice, Poverty Law Virtual Workshop, AALS Section on Poverty Law, Oct. 16, 2020

Triple Threat: Millennial Women of Color, Latina Law Professor Virtual Workshop Series, Aug. 12, 2020 

Give me Liberty, or Give me Breath: A Call for Economic Justice, Millennial/Xennial Virtual Essay Workshop, National Millennial/Xennial Law Prof Collective, July 22, 2020 

Roundtable on the Impact of COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter, National Millennial/Xennial Law Prof Collective, July 13, 2020 (co-moderator) 

Ethics of Pro Bono and Brief Service, UNM School of Law Poverty Law Course, Jan. 24, 2020 (continuing legal education course)

Exposing Race at Work, Latina and Latino Critical Legal Theory, Inc./SALT Biennial Conference, Georgia State University School of Law, Oct. 18, 2019 (presented work-in-progress)

Judicial Presentations

Technology and the Law, N.M. Administrative Office of the Courts Annual Judicial Conclave, June 14, 2024 (forthcoming)

Appellate Forum, N.M. State Bar Annual Conference, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM, Aug. 11, 2022 (plenary moderator for plenary session with Justice D. Thomson and Judge S. Henderson)
Available at: UNM DR

Judicial Philosophy: Ethics and Professionalism in Appellate Practice, UNM Judicial Education Center, Mar. 25, 2022 (moderator of continuing legal education program with Judge M. Bustamante (ret.), Justice R. Bosson (ret.), Judge J. Yohalem, and Justice B. Zamora)
Available at: UNM-DR

Civil Procedure Update 2021, N.M. Judicial Education Center Annual Judicial Conclave, Sept. 23, 2021
Available at: UNM-DR

A Judge’s Perspective on Legal Writing by Hon. Robert Bacharach of the U.S. Circuit Court for the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Bar Association: N.M. Chapter, Oct. 1, 2020 (co-moderator of a continuing legal education course for federal practitioners) 

Civil Procedure Update 2020, N.M. Judicial Education Center Annual Judicial ConclaveJune 19, 2020 (with George Bach)
Available at: UNM-DR

Judicial Philosophy with Judges from the New Mexico Supreme Court and New Mexico Court of Appeals, UNM Judicial Education Center, Albuquerque, NM, Apr. 10, 2020 (moderator of continuing legal education program with Judge M. Bustamante (ret.), Justice R. Bosson (ret.), Justice S. Bacon, and Justice J. Vargas)

Presentations to Legal Community

Recent Updates in Civil Procedure 2024, 43rd Annual Tort Update, N.M. Trial Lawyers’ Association, Apr. 12, 2024 (co-presented continuing legal education course for trial lawyers) 

Recent Updates in Civil Procedure 2023, 42nd Annual Tort Update, N.M. Trial Lawyers’ Association, Apr. 28, 2023 (co-presented continuing legal education course for trial lawyers)
Available at: UNM-DR

Student Loan Debt Relief Injunction (Biden v. Nebraska), Constitutional Law Series, Federal Bar Association: N.M. Chapter, Apr. 7, 2023 (presentation of CLE program for federal practitioners)

Design Sprint: Expanding Access to Justice, Annual Bar Admissions Conference, National Conference of Bar Examiners, New Orleans, LA, Apr. 29, 2022 (continuing legal education course for bar examiners nationwide) 

Recent Updates in Civil Procedure 2022, 41st Annual Tort Update, N.M. Trial Lawyers’ Association, Apr. 22, 2022 (co-presented continuing legal education course for trial lawyers)
Available at: UNM DR 

Pay Equity and Gender: Women and Fair Pay in the Workplace Program, N.M. State Bar Women’s Bar Association, Oct. 28, 2021 (presented Structural Impediments to Equal Pay

Innovation Workshop: Mapping Out Important Problems in A2J, N.M. State Bar, Oct. 8, 2021 (continuing legal education course)

Recent Updates in Civil Procedure, 40th Annual Tort Update, N.M. Trial Lawyers’ Association, Apr. 16, 2021 (co-presenter of continuing legal education course)
Available at: UNM-DR

¡Si se puede! Latin@s in Law School, UNM Pre-Law Society, UNM El Centro de la Raza, Oct. 13, 2020 (co-moderator of a panel of Latin@ judges, lawyers, and law students for pre-law undergraduate students)

Latin@ Trailblazers: Med-Law Celebration, UNM School of Medicine & UNM School of Law, Sept. 17, 2020 (co-moderator of virtual event honoring seven Latin@ lawyers and doctors, including one of the first Latina judges ever appointed) 

Hearsay in New Mexico, UNM School of Law Evidence Course, Oct. 4, 2018 (with Hon. Linda Vanzi (ret.) of the New Mexico Court of Appeals)
Available at: UNM-DR 

Immigration and the DREAM Act and Panel Discussion, Federal Bar Association N.M. Chapter, July 15, 2018 (moderator of continuing legal education course for federal practitioners)

Deposition Practice in Federal Cases CLE, Federal Bar Association: N.M. Chapter, Dec. 7, 2016 (coordinated continuing legal education course moderated by Hon. Alan Torgerson)

Practicing Law in the Digital Age, Hearle V. Payne Inn of Court, Oct. 2014 (co-presented continuing legal education course moderated by Hon. Carl Butkus (ret.) of the Second Judicial District Court)

Federal Indian Law, UNM School of Law Clinical Law Program, May 31, 2018
Available at: UNM-DR


Co-author and signatory, Brief of Amicus Curiae Amici Curiae Law Professors & Indian Law Experts in Support of Petition for a Writ of Certiorari, United States v. Smith, (Mar. 2023) (U.S. Supreme Court No. 22-796) (co-authored with Barbara Creel, Marc-Tizoc Gonzales).
Available at: UNM-DR 

Brief for Southwest Indian Law Clinic as Amici Curiae, United States v. Smith (Mar. 20, 2018) (US CT. APPEALS NINTH CIR. NO. 17-30248) (co-authored with Barbara Creel).
Available at: UNM-DR 

Brief for Washington Legal Foundation as Amici Curiae, Arguedas v. Seawright, D-0101-CV-2013-10293 (2017) (N.M. APP. CT. NO. A-1-CA-35699) (co-authored with Harold D. Stratton, Jr.).
Available at: UNM-DR 

Brief for Association of Commerce & Industry as Amici Curiae, Beaudry v. Farmers Ins. Exchange, et al. D-101-CV-2011-00646 (2017) (N.M. SUP. CT. NO. S-1-SC-36181).
Available at: UNM-DR

Brief for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amici Curiae, Fortino Alvarez v. Randy Tracy (2015) (US CT. APPEALS NINTH CIR. NO. 12-15788) (co-authored with Barbara Creel).
Available at: UNM-DR

In the News


Best All-Around Support Award (2023)

Received award from the Project for New Mexico Graduates of Color recognizing the outstanding contributions by an esteemed faculty of color at UNM who excel as leaders in the fields of mentorship, community service, and teaching and are allies for diversity; and for my commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion for New Mexico and the Albuquerque community. Students are asked to nominate an exceptional faculty member representing PNMGC's goals and mission, including academic & professional development, faculty of color networking, peer mentoring, and increasing students of color success at UNM and in New Mexico.

Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award (2020)

Awarded by the New Mexico State Bar to attorneys who have, during the formative stages of their legal careers by their ethical and personal conduct, exemplified for their fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism, and demonstrated commitment to clients’ causes and to public service, enhancing the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public.
Available at: NM State Bar Bulletin

Nominee, Outstanding New Faculty of the Year Award (2019-2020; 2020-2021; 2021-2022; 2022-2023; 2023-2024)