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University of New Mexico School of Law, Albuquerque, NM

published December 25, 2006

Jen Woods
( 57 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
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<<University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Law students are often invited to state bar events like the District Attorney Conference, and they frequently submit papers and give presentations at meetings and conferences. The university has established strong relationships with many private law firms and state and federal agencies, as well as with public interest legal institutions, which interview students on campus. Since there are no nearby law schools to compete with, students' odds of being recruited on campus are significantly higher.

Classes are extremely small, with a student to faculty ratio of 10 to one. First-year classes range in size from 13 to 58 students. The school's intimate setting allows professors to work individually with students, both in and out of the classroom. Nearly all of the 34 full-time faculty members are UNM alumni.

In order to keep classes small, admissions are competitive. About 115 out of 1,400 applicants are admitted each year. Accepted students have an average undergraduate GPA of 3.4 and an average LSAT score of 155.

Several joint degrees are offered, including a J.D./M.A. in Public Administration, a J.D./M.B.A., a J.D./M.A. in Latin American Studies, and a J.D./M.A. in Water Resources. Students can pursue other dual degrees with the permission of both the graduate school and the law school. In addition, students can earn certificates in Indian law and natural resources law.

UNM law students are required to participate in the university's clinical program. Under the supervision of faculty, students represent clients in the surrounding communities. They have opportunities to interview and counsel clients, plan case strategy, and appear in court.

UNM's law school is the first law school to initiate programs to help increase the numbers of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives working in the legal industry. In New Mexico, there are 22 federally recognized tribal jurisdictions and governments. Tribal, state, and federal governments are subject to federal Indian law.

New Mexico attorneys encounter federal Indian law issues so often that the New Mexico bar exam now covers them. Since about 90% of the law school's graduates practice in New Mexico, the university's Indian law program is especially appealing to students.

Students enrolled in the Indian law program can participate in the Southwest Indian Law Clinic (SILC), the Tribal Law Journal, or the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA).

While the school offers study-abroad programs all over the world, most opportunities are at Guanajuato Summer Law Institute in Central Mexico. The law school's direct exchange programs allow students to take classes at law schools in other countries for one or two semesters.

Career counseling and job placement help are available to both students and graduates. Students receive one-on-one career guidance and help with job search methodology. Each year, the career and student services department sponsors a mock interview program in addition to ongoing programs covering topics such as resume writing.

New Mexico offers many opportunities for people who like outdoor activities. Dozens of national and state parks are scattered throughout the state, which consists of a unique combination of lakes, rivers, and desert plateaus. During the warm seasons, some of the area's most popular activities include mountain climbing, biking, ballooning (riding in hot air balloons), and hang gliding. In the cooler months, many students take advantage of the snow conditions and terrain by skiing and snowmobiling.

The university is located in Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico. Albuquerque is considered one of the major cultural centers in the Southwest and is home to many museums, art galleries, theaters, restaurants, and musical groups. The performing arts are especially popular in the region, and UNM's Popejoy Hall hosts more than 150 amateur and professional performances each year.

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