I help my clients find effective solutions to difficult and complex civil disputes. I strive to identify key strengths and weakness of their cases and develop strategies for achieving the best possible outcomes. This requires thoroughly investigating the facts, analyzing the law as well as developing and executing a litigation plan – all while ensuring the representation is cost-effective.
I have practiced law for over 30 years. I focus on high stakes lawsuits involving civil rights claims, constitutional law and personal injury. These cases involve alleged excessive force by police officers, incidents in jails and prisons, discrimination due to gender, race and national origin as well as medical and psychological conditions. I represent clients in lawsuits for retaliation under the New Mexico Whistleblower Act, the First Amendment and similar laws. I routinely handle compliance and cases under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act.
My civil rights practice overlaps with handling cases for wrongful death, catastrophic personal injuries, malpractice involving doctors, hospitals and nursing homes. I also represent clients in commercial litigation involving insurance and contractual disputes.
I try cases to judges and juries in Federal and State District Courts throughout New Mexico. When taking on a new case, I plan that it will go to a trial and perhaps an appeal. This perspective ensures that my client and I identify key issues and interests and that we are committed to trying the case to win.
This approach also facilitates settlement. Most civil cases settle and for good reason. The parties can control the outcome of the case, obtain results that litigation cannot provide, save costs and resolve disputes faster. I have worked with most mediators in New Mexico and enjoy guiding my clients through the art of compromise.
Not all cases end with settlement or a jury verdict. It is important that trial counsel understand and preserve the appellate issues in the lower court. My appellate experience includes appearances before the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the New Mexico Supreme Court and the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Many of my published appellate cases established new law on key issues.
Service & Professional Contributions
I work to enhance my profession and community. In 2006, the New Mexico Supreme Court appointed me as Chair of the Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, which drafts and updates the rules applicable to all civil cases in New Mexico District Courts. I had the pleasure of serving on that committee for six years.
Maintaining a work-life balance is important to me. I served on the New Mexico State Bar Task Force and Quality of Life Committee. I have also given presentations on this topic to various organizations, including the American Bar Association.
I’ve also given presentations to my peers on a range of legal topics including the New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act, Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure, electronic discovery, nursing home and long-term care facilities and law office management.
- University of Virginia School of Law, Charlottesville, Virginia
- Juris Doctor - 1988
- The Norfolk Academy
- Ithaca College
- B.S. - 1985
- Major: Political Science
- Minor: Interdisciplinary Studies in English, Economics and Music
- New Mexico, 1989
- Virginia, 1988
- U.S. District Court District of New Mexico, 1989
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1989
- United States Supreme Court, 2000
- Litigation Counsel of America Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, Senior Fellow
- New Mexico Medical Review Commission, Panelist
- Federal Bar Association, Member
- Oliver Seth American Inn of Court, Former Barrister
- State Bar Quality of Life Task Force and Committee, Member
- New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, Chair, 2005 to 2008
- New Mexico Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, Member, 2003 to 2008
- First Place 1988 Nathan Burkan Memorial Competition for “Copyrighting Jazz: Improvising Protection for Improvised Compositions”
Current Employment Position