Photo: Laura Spitz

Laura Spitz

      Professor of Law


    • J.S.D. 2006, Cornell University
    • J.D. 1993, University of British Columbia
    • B.A. 1989, University of Toronto

    Contact Information

     Ph.: 505-277-1772
     Office: 3216


    Laura Spitz teaches contracts, commercial law, and business law. Her current research proceeds along two main tracks. The first focuses on the line between subjects and objects in the common law system and the limits of their utility as categories in both law and society. Her co-authored article in the Harvard Environmental Law Review asks whether legal subjecthood is a useful strategy for advancing progressive environmental law claims, and another forthcoming article examines historical practices of humanization and dehumanization in the construction of liberal legal subjectivity on the colony of Vancouver Island. She also writes about the difficulty of translating these categories into concepts cognizable in Indigenous legal systems. A second research track focuses on questions of legal personhood in corporate law. A recent New Mexico Law Review article for example, surveys New Mexico veil piercing jurisprudence and argues that the adoption of outside reverse veil piercing is consistent with New Mexico law and public policy, including the state’s commitments to corporate personhood, limited liability, and freedom of contract.

    Immediately prior to joining the UNM faculty, Professor Spitz was a vice provost and associate dean at Cornell University, and before that, a lawyer in the corporate commercial group at Miller Thomson LLP (Vancouver Office). Her practice experience includes both domestic and international business transactions, commercial transactions (including secured transactions), tax law, social purpose and non-profit business law, banking law and Indigenous economic development law. Professor Spitz has also taught at the Sorbonne, Cornell University, Emory University, the University of Colorado, the University of Ottawa, and Thompson Rivers University.

    Professor Spitz is active in the community. She is a consulting and testifying expert in contracts, commercial law, and business law. She has served on the boards of directors of several theater companies, presented as part of continuing legal education programs, joined several Amici Curiae briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, taught as a volunteer art teacher in Albuquerque public schools, participated in panels before the 10th Circuit Judicial Conference and testified before a Georgia senate committee on proposed changes to state exemptions for the purposes of the Bankruptcy Code.

    In the News



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    Business Associations

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    The Case for Adopting Outside Reverse Veil Piercing in New Mexico, 51 N.M. L. REV. 349 (2021).
    Available at: NMLR

    Nature’s Personhood and Property’s Virtues, 45 HARV. ENVTL. L. REV. (2021) (co-authored with Eduardo Peñalver).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Red River, White Law, TRIBAL L. J. BLOG (June 19, 2019).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    U.S. Nonprofit Activity in Cuba: Challenges in Cuban Law and Practice, 50 CORNELL INT’L L. J. 199 (2017) (co-authored with Elizabeth Brundige, Lucía Domínguez Cisneros and Eduardo Peñalver).
    Available at: UNM-DR and SSRN

    The Evolving Architecture of North American Integration, 80 COL. L. REV. 735 (2009).
    Available at: UNM-DR and SSRN

    Wands Away (or Preaching to Infidels Who Wear Earplugs), 41 LAW TEACHER: INT’L J. OF LEGAL ED. 314 (2007).
    Available at: UNM-DR and SSRN

    The Gift of Enron: An Opportunity to Talk About Capitalism, Equality and the Promise of a North American Charter of Fundamental Rights, 66 OHIO STATE L. J. 315 (2005).
    Available at: UNM-DR and SSRN

    I Think, Therefore I Am; I Feel, Therefore I Am Taxed: Descartes, Tort Reform, and the Civil Rights Tax Relief Act, 35 N.M. L. REV. 429 (2005).
    Available at: NMLR and SSRN

    At the Intersection of North American Free Trade and Same-Sex Marriage, 9 UCLA J. OF INT'L L. 163 (2004).
    Available at: UNM-DR and SSRN

    The Jurisprudence of the Military Industrial Complex, 1 SEATTLE J. FOR SOC. JUST. 541 (2003) (co-authored with Ann Scales).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Perhaps Divided But Never Conquered: Taking Back Our Differences, NAWL PUB. (Toronto 1994).

    R. v. Parks: Automatism and Murder, 72 CAN. BAR REV. 224 (1993) (co-authored with Isabel Grant).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Books & Book Chapters

    Colonialism, Common Law, and the Social Construction of Humanity on Vancouver Island, 1849-1864, Land, First Nations and James Douglas: Indigenous and Treaty Rights in the Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia (Graham Brazier, Peter Cook, Hamar Foster, John Lutz, and Neil Vallance eds., forthcoming 2021).
    Available at: SSRN

    Theorizing the More Responsive State: The Radical Potential for Constitutional Pluralism in North America, Transcending the Boundaries of Law (Martha Albertson Fineman ed. 2010).
    Available at: UNM-DR and SSRN

    Book Reviews

    Responsible Business: Self-governance and Law in Transnational Economic Transactions (Olaf Dilling, Martin Herberg and Gerd Winter eds.), 44 LAW & SOCIETY REV. 413 (2010).
    Available at: UNM-DR


    When Constitutions Collide: North American Free Trade, Economic Globalization and Transnational Integration, DOCTORAL DISSERTATION (Cornell University 2006).
    Available at: Cornell-DR


    Brief for Professors as Amicus Curiae, Lamar, Archer & Cofrin, LLP v. R. Scott Appling, 138 S.Ct. 1752 (March 29, 2018) (U.S. SUP. CT. NO. 16-1215).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Brief for Professors as Amicus Curiae, In re Jevic Holding Corp., 137 S.Ct. 973 (October 17, 2016) (U.S. SUP. CT. NO. 15-649).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Brief for Professors as Amicus Curiae, Husky International Electronics Inc. v. Daniel Lee Ritz Jr. (January 22, 2016) (U.S. SUP. CT. No. 15-145).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Brief for Intervenor, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), M.v.H., 2 SCR 3 (May 20, 1999) (CANADA SUP. CT. NO. 25838). 
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Brief for Intervenor, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Ferrel v. Ontario, 116 O.A.C. 176 (December 7, 1998) (ONTARIO CT. APP. NO. Case C27917). 
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Brief for Intervenor, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), Goertz v. Gordon, 2 SCR 27 (May 2, 1996) (CANADA SUP. CT. NO. 24622).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Popular Media

    Contract Law Careers with Professor Spitz

    Canadian Tax Law with Professor Spitz

    Moderating Climate Accountability Litigation by Governments against Fossil Fuel Companies: Attribution and Quantification of Harms Webinar

    Red River, White Law, Tribal Law Journal Blog (June 19, 2019).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    The Law and the Human, Cornell College of Arts & Sciences (October 23, 2017).
    Available at: Cornell University Blog

    Discussing Human Beingwith Songhees Nation, Vancouver Island Treaties Conference (2018).
    Available at: UNM-DR

    Laura Spitz from Songhees UVic on Vimeo.


    Perhaps Divided But Never Conquered: Taking Back Our Differences, NAWL PUB. (Toronto 1994).

    First Prize, Canadian National Association of Women and the Law, Research & Essay Competition (1994)

    R. v. Parks: Automatism and Murder, 72 CAN. BAR REV. 224 (1993) (co-authored with Isabel Grant).

    Cited: R. v. Stone, [1999] 2 S.C.R. 290 (Supreme Court of Canada).
    Reprinted: CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE: PROOF, DEFENSES AND BEYOND (Jennie Abell and Elizabeth Sheehy eds. 3rd ed. 2003).