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BernCo Commission Acknowledges UNM Clinical Law Program

12/11/2018

At its Dec. 11 administrative meeting, the Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners expressed its sincerest gratitude to the Clinical Law Program and the many students who have dedicated their time, energy, and unique talents to fighting on behalf of some of our most underserved communities, both here at home and across the State of New Mexico.

For almost fifty years the UNM School of Law has directly enriched both our community and generations of law students by pioneering a requirement that students provide free legal services to underserved communities across New Mexico through the Clinical Law Program and its five sections: Community Lawyering, Natural Resources and Environmental Law, Child and Family Justice, Economic Justice, and Indian Law.

The program’s longest-running section, the Community Lawyering Clinic, has consistently and tirelessly met a wide range of legal needs for members of our community who would not otherwise be able to afford it, from cases involving family law, juvenile justice and immigration to improving access to benefits.

The Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic has worked diligently for communities facing environmental sustainability and justice issues, from agricultural lease templates for South Valley farmers to energy efficiency services for low-income residents.

The Child and Family Justice Clinic has aided caregivers seeking custody of children exposed to opioids in utero, helped parents plan for their children’s safety and care in the event of an immigration emergency separating children from their parents, and supported families and youth in the juvenile system using a multi-disciplinary treatment approach that strives to reduce recidivism and improve their life-long outcomes.

The Economic Justice Clinic has helped clients recover unpaid wages, tenants avoid eviction or loss of security deposits, and private sector partners pursue various efforts towards expanding economic development for low-income communities in New Mexico.

The Southwest Indian Law Clinic has led the effort to address issues facing Native American communities, from Real ID fairs and representing indigent clients across the tribal, state, and federal systems where Native Americans are often left without representation, to advocating for improved education, racial and consumer justice, and cultural sensitivity.

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