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2022 Annual Awards

2022 Annual Awards

  

2022 Annual Award Recipients

Congratulations to our winners! You, your careers and your hard work are a credit to the legal community. We are honored to recognize you and proud to add you to the prestigious history of recipients!

Award Winners and Descriptions

Juan Abeyta

Distinguished Bar Service Award: Non-Lawyer

Recognizes nonlawyers who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal profession over a significant period of time.

Juan Abeyta has over 40 years of experience in developing, coordinating and evaluating educational and social justice programs for underrepresented communities. In the mid-1970’s he was appointed as a community representative to the UNM School of Medicine Admissions Committee, the first non-PhD or MD member. Juan is a co-founder of the Center of Southwest Culture, a non-profit organization that has raised more than $20 million for communities across New Mexico to use in building capacity and sustainability. More recently, he assisted the Corinne Wolfe Children’s Law Center with facilitation of community focus group discussions on legal issues facing children & families in New Mexico and increasing the number of underrepresented law school students pursuing legal careers in children's law. He co-chairs the Community Engagement and Integration Team which has been conducting community webinars on civil legal topics over the past 2 years that have drawn over 500 community representatives from across the state.


Pamela Moore

Excellence in Well Being

This award will recognize an individual or organization that has made an outstanding positive contribution to the New Mexico legal community’s well-being. As the SBNM is committed to improving the health and wellness of New Mexico’s legal community, we strongly encourage self-nominations and peer nominations for any lawyer, judge, or non-lawyer working in some capacity with the NM legal community.

Pamela Moore, MA, LPCC, currently serves as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and Program Director of the State Bar of New Mexico Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (NMJLAP) where she educates the legal community on positive health and well-being and assists in providing resources and services to any legal professional struggling with mental, emotional or behavioral issues. Ms. Moore served as an advisory member to the National Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs in 2019 and 2020 and is a current member of the Institute for Well Being In Law. Ms. Moore’s professional career includes a BS in Industrial Engineering, Masters Certificate in Human Resources Management, Masters in Counseling, license as a Professional Clinical Counselor, and she is on track to become a Certified Professional Coach by the end of 2022. She has over 10 years of study and experience in self-care and is passionate about assisting, guiding and supporting those that seek to get curious about their life and invite change.


Michael Fricke

Judge Sarah M. Singleton Distinguished Service Award

Recognizes attorneys who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal profession, the State Bar of New Mexico and the public over a significant period of time.

Michael Fricke earned degrees in English and history, summa cum laude, from UNM. While in law school at UT Austin, he served on the law review and earned a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the LBJ School. For a time, he practiced civil litigation. In 1996, he began government service at the Roswell office of the District Attorney. From 1997-2000, he worked in the Antitrust Unit of the Attorney General’s Office. In 2000, he joined the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office, where for over 19 years he prosecuted almost every type of case from murder to complex white collar crimes, from sex crimes to property and drug crimes. Now, Mr. Fricke works at the Office of Superintendent of Insurance prosecuting insurance fraud and auto theft cases.

 


Judge: Judge James Wechsler

Attorney: Quentin Ray

Justice Pamela B. Minzner Professionalism Award

Recognizes attorneys and/or judges who, over long and distinguished legal careers, have by their ethical and personal conduct exemplified for their fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism.

Judge: Judge James Wechsler

Judge Jim Wechsler served as a judge on the Court of Appeals for more than twenty-two years, retiring in 2017. He served as chief judge in 2003 and 2004. He was the chair of the Supreme Court’s Budget Committee from 2002 until 2009. In December 2009, the Supreme Court designated Judge Wechsler as presiding judge in five of the state’s water adjudications, and Judge Wechsler continues to serve as judge pro tempore in those cases.

Judge Wechsler has been a member of the Advisory Committee on the Code of Judicial Conduct since 1998, serving as chair or co-chair since 2004. He is also a member of the Code of Judicial Conduct Committee and frequently presents classes to New Mexico judges on judicial ethics.

Prior to his judicial service, Judge Wechsler was a partner in the Hinkle Law Firm, an assistant attorney general and a legal services attorney.

Attorney: Quentin Ray

Quentin Ray has roots that run deep in Eastern New Mexico. He was born and raised around Clovis, N.M., where his family ran a custom wheat harvesting business. He grew up surrounded by agriculture, whether it was cutting wheat with his family or participating in his local FFA chapter in Grady, NM, where he later went on to become a state officer for the NM FFA organization. In college, Quentin excelled in student government. He attended NMSU and spent several years as a student senator for the Associated Students of NMSU and later the Vice President. (GO AGGIES) Following graduation with his bachelor's degree, Quentin married and moved to Lubbock, Texas where he attended Law School at Texas Tech University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2011 (WRECK EM’ TECH). Quentin and his family then moved back to eastern New Mexico where he began his law career. Quentin started his career in private practice in West Texas in criminal defense, family law, and general civil practice. In 2013, he began his career in the District Attorney’s office in Portales, Roosevelt County N.M. Currently, Quentin is a Deputy District Attorney with the Ninth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.


Pojoaque Pueblo Tribal Court

Intellectual Property Pro Bono Fair

Outstanding Legal Organization or Program Award

The Pueblo of Pojoaque Path to Wellness Court brings together community members, service providers, tribal court, probation, education, child protection, and law enforcement to supervise, treat, educate, and heal individuals and families struggling with substance misuse. The Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Court oversees the treatment court, which provides culturally-sensitive accountability through intensive community supervision and treatment. Tribal Court also houses the sober living/re-entry project for justice-involved individuals who are unsheltered or do not have a safe, sober place to stay. The multi-disciplinary Path to Wellness Court team is trained to provide trauma informed services and supervision to help people succeed no matter where they are in their recovery process. Since the Path to Wellness Court began in 2015, more than 150 individuals at high risk of recidivism have received substance use disorder treatment and other services through the Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Court.

The Intellectual Property Law Section of the New Mexico State Bar brings together New Mexico’s IP professionals to foster New Mexico’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, and innovation. Since 2018, the IP Section, through its annual “Pro Bono IP Fair” legal clinic, has provided hundreds of free consultations by experienced local IP attorneys to individuals and entrepreneurs across the State. Co-hosted with UNM School of Law, the Pro Bono IP Fair also provides an opportunity for UNM law students to shadow those consultations and to get a glimpse of IP practice. Almost 200 New Mexico-based artists, inventors and start-ups have received support through the IP Fair, and dozens of law students have gained inspiring experience. The IP Section looks forward to many more years of supporting New Mexico’s business ecosystem through its IP Fair.

 


Lauren Riley

Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award

Awarded to attorneys who have, during the formative stages of their legal careers by their ethical and personal conduct, exemplified for their fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism; nominee has demonstrated commitment to clients’ causes and to public service, enhancing the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public; nominee must have practiced no more than five years or must be no more than 36 years of age.

Lauren Riley practices family law at Batley Family Law, P.A. She is dedicated to helping her clients get through one of the most trying times of their life with the goal of reaching a better place emotionally and financially.

Passionate about being an advocate for all New Mexicans, Lauren attended UNMSOL where she served as the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Tribal Law Journal. She received the Outstanding Student Award from the Clinical Legal Education Association and the Dean’s Award for her outstanding contributions to the law school.

Lauren currently serves as the American Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division District Representative for N.M. and Arizona. In partnership with SBNM, she has implemented a Disaster Legal Services hotline that provides free legal services to those affected by the N.M. wildfires. She also sits on the NMYLD board as Director-At-Large and is chair of several committees. Lauren and her husband Rustin have a three-year-old son who attends Wesley Kids Early Education Center, where she serves as Chair of the board.


Darlene Gomez

Robert H. LaFollette Pro Bono Award

Presented to an attorney who has made an exemplary contribution of time and effort, without compensation, to provide legal assistance over his or her career to people who could not afford the assistance of an attorney.

Darlene T. Gomez is a lifelong native of New Mexico, having been born and raised in Lumberton, near where her ancestors homesteaded in Dulce before the establishment of the Indian Reservation for the Jicarilla Apache Nation. She has been practicing for over 19 years and specializes in Indian Law, Complex Family Law, Corporate Law and advocacy for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Relatives (MMIWR).

Darlene attended the University of New Mexico School of Law where she first began her pro bono work fighting for clean water in her hometown. She was the inaugural recipient of the Carlos Vigil Scholarship.

Darlene is tirelessly passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless through her pro bono work since she began in 2001. She is a member of the NM MMIW Task Force and serves as general counsel for the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Medicine Wheel Ride. She is widely considered a leading expert in MMIWR throughout the US and her persistent efforts on behalf of victims have led to an increase in both domestic and international media attention for the MMIWR Crisis.


Judge Henry Alaniz

Seth D. Montgomery Distinguished Judicial Service Award

Recognizes judges who have distinguished themselves through long and exemplary service on the bench and who have significantly advanced the administration of justice or improved the relations between the bench and the bar; generally given to judges who have or soon will be retiring.

Henry A. Alaniz is a native New Mexican who is a graduate of ENMU with a bachelor’s in accounting. His career began in Roswell where he was soon to be the first hispanic to be elected as president to the Roswell Chamber of Commerce. Relocating to Albuquerque, he attended UNM-Anderson School of Business and UNM School of Law, receiving his MBA and JD. While studying law, Henry was elected as Student Bar President. He served as chair of the Young Lawyers division of the State Bar of NM and later served as its President. He was nominated by the late Justice Gene E. Franchini and inducted into the Anderson School Hall of Fame. Henry was appointed and elected as Judge to the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court where he also served as the Court’s Chief Judge. Henry continues to serve his legal community as a member of the Board of Bar Examiners and is presently serving as its Chair. Henry is happily married to his wife, Maria, who continues to be his strongest supporter.