University of New Mexico School of Law

University of New Mexico School of Law
MSC11 607
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Eileen Gauna
Associate Dean and Professor of Law
P: (505) 277-7776

Heather Harrigan
Assistant Dean for Career Services
P: (505) 277-1001

Category Type

Public Service Graduation Requirement

Description of Programs

All UNM law students must complete six hours of pro bono service during their first year of law school. The Office of Student Services coordinates a variety of opportunities for students to fulfill their pro bono requirement while learning from legal practitioners at community legal clinics.

Additionally, UNM law students must complete a six-credit clinical course before graduation. Law students are able to enroll in a variety of clinical courses to complete this graduation requirement, and students assist clients with a range of civil matters. Among the clinics offered are a community lawyering clinic which serves the needs of low-income clients, a small business clinic, and an Indian Law clinic.

In addition to the clinic, UNM Law School offers an Externship Program that permits a student to earn credits while working under the supervision of a licensed attorney at a government or public interest organization. Students can enroll in two externships.

The Office of Career Services also posts pro-bono opportunities for students in addition to posting paid positions for student employment.

Location of Programs

The first year pro bono program includes student participation in community events throughout the Albuquerque area.

The Law Clinic is an integrated part of the law school with an Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and a full-time staff of clinical law faculty. The Clinic operates as a law office and is open year-round.

The Externship Program is coordinated by the Office of Career Services. The classroom component is taught by regular law school faculty, and students are advised about fieldwork opportunities and report their hours to the staff of the Office of Career Services.


The first year pro bono program is managed by the Assistant Dean for Student Services.

The Clinical Law Program is managed by the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs. Students are supervised by six full-time clinical law professors, supplemented at times by visiting professors. The Clinical Law Program is supported by three full-time staff members.

The Externship Program is managed by an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, who along with one clinical professor, offer a classroom component to the externships. The Assistant Dean for Career Services advise students about externship opportunities, and the Coordinator for Career Services tracks student hours and interacts with externship supervisors.


The first year pro bono, Clinical Law, an Externship programs are all supported by the UNM School of Law's operating budget.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

There are numerous student-run pro-bono initiatives at UNM in addition to the first year pro bono program. The Women's Law Caucus supports initiatives to assist victims of domestic violence. Interested students can support Innocence projects designed to help incarcerated clients. Students also teach Constitutional law to local public school students as a part of the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project. Members of the Association of Public Interest Law raise funds to offer stipends for students doing pubic interest work in the summer.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

In conformity with UNM School of Law's mission to serve the public, the law school offers a variety of classes that have a pro-bono component. Many of the school's faculty members have previous experience representing clients in pro bono matters or as attorneys at public interest organizations. A representative sample of the faculties previous public interest positions includes: attorney for U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees; volunteer co-legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico; Executive Director of WaterWatch of Oregon; senior attorney with the Health Access Project at The Children's Law Center in Washington, D.C; staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society of New York.


Student awards at graduation include an annual award for social justice, clinical honors, and awards for contributions to Alternative Dispute Resolution.

Community Service

Student groups host clothing drives, food drives, including for animals, and engage in other community services efforts like staffing free meals programs for the hungry.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Heather Harrigan
Assistant Dean for Career Services
P: (505) 277-1001

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

None listed

Public Interest Centers

The Institute of Public Law - An affiliated non-profit that engages in research, analysis, teaching, training, writing, and publishing to support the development of informed public policy and law. Founded in 1969 as the public service arm of the law school, the IPL provides assistance to federal, state, and local government and undertakes special projects through foundation grants.

Public Interest Clinics

Community Lawyering Clinic

Economic Development Clinic

Law Practice Clinic

Southwest Indian Law Clinic


Externships can be done within New Mexico or outside the state. There is a classroom component and there must be an attorney supervisor in the field. Externships can be done any semester, and during the summer term, after completion of the first year requirements.

Classes with a Public Service Component

Appellate Law in Practice
Consumer Law
Criminal Law in Practice
Domestic Violence/DUI Prosecution in Practice
Equal Access to Justice
Financial Literacy
Immigrant Rights Seminar
Immigration Practice
Innocence & Justice
Non-Profit Corporations
Poverty Law in Practice

Public Interest Journals

None listed

PI Career Support Center

The Deans for Career and Student Services counsel students about externships, pro-bono opportunities, and public interest jobs for students and as career choices. They offer programs with public interest lawyers to allow students to explore public interest law. Fellowships and other public interest opportunities are posted for students, including information regarding public interest career fairs and conferences, such as the annual Equal Justice Works Conference. The Office of Career Services, Office of Student Services and the Office of Financial Aid maintain information about loan repayment assistance programs, hosts financial aid informational sessions and provides individual advising sessions for students and alumni interested in pursuing public interest careers.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

The Assistant Dean for Career Services and Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid serve on the advisory board for the New Mexico Department of Higher Education, which oversees the state LRAP for lawyers serving as district attorneys, public defenders and direct legal services providers. The state's LRAP has an explicit preference for graduates of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

None listed

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

  • Alfred and Miriam N. Grunsfeld Scholarship Fund
  • Anna K. Reisiger Scholarship Fund
  • C.M. Botts Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Carl P. and Erma Whitemore Dunifon Scholarship Fund
  • Dean Alfred L. Gausewitz Scholarship Fund
  • Donald D. Montoya Scholarship
  • Harriet P. Freeman Memorial Scholarship
  • Helen J. James Scholarship Fund
  • Helene Simson Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Henry Glascock Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Hoshour Memorial Scholarship
  • Howard Bratton Scholarship
  • James E. Sperling Memorial Scholarship in Natural Resources Law
  • Judge J.V. Gallegos Endowed Scholarship
  • Judge Oliver Seth Endowed Scholarships
  • Julius and Bert Fine – Joe and Toni Fine Endowed Scholarship
  • Justice Irwin S. Moise Scholarship in Law
  • Law School Alumnae Scholarship Fund
  • Modesta E. Comeford Fund
  • Olaf A. Olson Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Pearce C. Rodey Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Randolph L. Reese Memorial Scholarship Fund
  • Robert Emmet and An Simms Clark Scholarship Fund
  • Rodey Merit Scholarship
  • Sam and Frances Joy Dazzo Scholarship Fund
  • The Roehl Advocate Endowment
  • Thomas J. Mabry, Sr. Scholarship Fund
  • Thomas M. Wilkerson Scholarship
  • Tim Vigil Scholarship Fund
  • W.E. and Hazel T. Bondurant Scholarship Fund

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Law School partially underwrites the summer public interest stipends offered by the Association for Public Interest Law at UNM.

Graduate Student Funded:

The Association for Public Interest Law at UNM raises money for summer stipends each year.

Other Funding Sources:

The State Bar of New Mexico Young Lawyer Division offers two summer fellowships for public interest work. The New Mexico Center on Law & Poverty offers The Seth Montgomery Summer Fellowship, which pays for a student to work at the Center.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

UNM is a member of Equal Justice Works.

Student Public Interest Groups

The Association for Public Interest Law at UNM.

August 6, 2018