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Since 1996, the Public Law Section has presented the annual Public Lawyer of the Year Award to lawyers who have had distinguished careers in public service and who are not likely to be recognized for their contributions. Each year, a selection committee solicits and reviews nominations for the Award. The committee accepts nominations from the public and may also consider nominees from previous years.
2021 Public Lawyer of the Year Award Ceremony
Sally Malavé career has connected her with almost every aspect of public law in New Mexico. Throughout her career, she improved how government operates, both directly and indirectly benefiting countless agencies and individuals. Having graduated from Yale University and obtained a law degree from Boston College, Sally then spent the majority of her legal career serving the State of New Mexico through an incredibly respected tenure at the Office of the New Mexico Attorney General. For nearly 30 years, Ms. Malavé has served the public in the Open Government Division (formerly Civil Division) at the Office of the Attorney General. During this time, Sally has consistently demonstrated not only her commitment to high quality legal work, but a relentless passion to benefit our state and to make government work more effectively. Sally has nurtured relationships across the state which have helped affirm her place as a well-respected and valued resource. She has helped guide the state through turbulent times and sensitive issues, including her longtime role as legal counsel to the State Board of Finance and her position serving on the Mortgage Finance Authority. Of the nearly 100 state agencies, boards, and commissions that the Open Government Division provides regular general counsel advice to, Sally has been involved with them all directly or by supervising their attorneys. These public bodies make decisions that affect all New Mexicans, and include environmental and water quality issues, professional licensing, economic development, cultural affairs, finance, judicial nominations, and countless other areas of public policy. In addition to general legal counsel, under Sally’s guidance the Open Government Division provides training across the state and enforces open meetings and public record laws, issues official Attorney General Opinions, conducts legislative analysis, and is called upon regularly to assist with countless other legal issues across the state. Sally provides stability for the Office of the Attorney General and the state. During times of change, institutional knowledge and trusted relationships are crucial, especially when analyzing and advising on wide-ranging legal issues. Providing legal advice to state agencies, boards, and commissions is a cornerstone duty of the Office of the Attorney General, and Sally’s commitment to this duty is both zealous and unwavering. While Sally’s commitment to the state has been long demonstrated, it is the role she currently holds that truly shows her exemplary dedication. For the past 5 years, Sally has served as Director of the Open Government Division, overseeing more than a dozen employees. While rewarding, this work has come with unanticipated challenges, including an ever-increasing demand for legal assistance from state entities despite limited resources available. Responding with resolve and grace, Sally has navigated through countless obstacles, always willing to step in herself when needed. Dedication Sally shows to her work narrowly eclipses her devotion to her staff. Countless attorneys who have worked with Sally know her for the kindness, attention, and help she provides to others. The outpouring of support from her staff for this recognition demonstrate the connection Sally has made with so many, and the respect for her as a mentor and friend. This mentorship is seen every day in the office, but it extends to service in the community as well. Sally volunteers for a local soup kitchen on weekends, serving those in need, even during the legislative session, which is always the busiest time for her Division. Sally Malavé has given years of service to the state, never seeking public attention or recognition for her important work. While her encyclopedic knowledge and vast experience would be prized by private firms or other organizations, Sally has continued to selflessly serve the public interest. It is because of public servants like Sally Malavé that this award exists, and her extended service embodies why individuals are so respected by their peers for their commitment to our state and communities.
2018 - Anthony C. Porter is a Special Assistant Attorney General for the Human Services Department's Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) in Las Cruces where he has practiced for the past 20 years. His years of dedication have helped stabilize the lives of thousands of children. He has spent countless hours of his own time to fill the void in the division while also training and mentoring new attorneys. Mr. Porter is widely known by his colleagues and the judiciary for his knowledge and consistent dedication to his work and for his integrity, professionalism, and preparedness while managing an extreme caseload - having appeared in over 10,000 child support hearings in his 20 years with HSD.
2017 - Carolyn A. Wolf was selected based on her long distinguished legal career in both the public sector and in private practice, her volunteer work following retirement, and her encyclopedic knowledge of both New Mexico state statutes and case law. She serves as a valuable resource to fellow attorneys and has taught a number of continuing legal education programs.
2016 - Elizabeth "Betsy" A. Glenn's distinguished career has included roles at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department, where she served as both a staff attorney and Chief Legal Counsel. The majority of Betsy’s exemplary career was dedicated to the work of the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, where she played key roles and advised numerous Attorneys General in decision-making and authored numerous Attorney General’s Opinions, for which she is well known.
2015 - Joey D. Moya is the Chief Counsel and Chief Clerk of the Court for the New Mexico Supreme Court. Moya has made significant contributions to the judiciary, reflecting his dedication and commitment to public service and his desire to truly make a difference in the lives of the people that the judiciary serves.
2014 - Albert J. Lama has spent most of his 25-year career in the New Mexico Attorney General's Office in senior positions, including Director of the Civil Division and his current position of Chief Deputy Attorney General.
2013 - Clifford Rees has dedicated his career to legal services and state government, especially in advancing the state’s public health and procurement law. Since retirement, Rees has continued his involvement in public health, emergency preparedness, and production of ground-breaking laws.
2012 - Pamelya Herndon is the executive director of the Southwest Women's Law Center, and was recognized for her long career in public service and her dedication to public law and the people of New Mexico.
2011 - Tracy Hughes was honored in recognition of her long and dedicated service to the State of New Mexico, particularly at the New Mexico Environment Department; her reputation for excellence; her professionalism; and her mentorship of new attorneys.
2010 - Paula Tackett was honored for her long career in public service that began in 1982 when she joined the Legislative Council Service. She has come to be known as the institutional memory of the legislature and has spent countless hours mentoring attorneys as well as educating law students and the public to enhance open access and knowledge of the legislative process.
2009 - Gerald McBride was honored for his many years of dedicated service to the state’s most vulnerable adults through his work at the Adult Protective Services Division of the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services and its predecessors. McBride protected and improved countless lives and inspired those who worked alongside him.
2008 - Clark de Schweinitz was recognized for his long and dedicated service to low-income residents of northern New Mexico as an attorney with the Santa Fe office of New Mexico Legal Aid. He was also recognized for his leadership role in the community, and his years of public service working to improve the lives of New Mexico residents.
2007 - Stuart M. Bluestone
Chief Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Bluestone was recognized for a career dedicated to public service. He served in four attorney general's administrations and was the top deputy in the AG's office for the vast majority of that time. In that capacity, he was critically involved in numerous legal and administrative decisions affecting the state. Additionally, he assisted in training several attorneys, many of whom subsequently served in important public service positions. Aside from his work at the AG’s office, Bluestone worked for several years as an attorney with the legislative council service, ultimately as deputy director. He also served as chair of the board of directors of New Mexico Legal Aid.
2006 - Frank D. Weissbarth
Frank Weissbarth was recognized for his dedicated service as an Assistant Attorney General specializing in the areas of consumer protection and subdivision law.
2005 - Paul L. Biderman
Paul Biderman was recognized for his dedication to public service and public interest law through his service as legal services attorney, as a government lawyer, as a consumer advocate, as cabinet secretary and finally as a leader at the UNM School of Law Institute of Public Law.
2004 - Robert M. White
Bob White was recognized for his leadership and expertise in the areas of local government law and land use law. White has served as the long-time Albuquerque City Attorney, as an Albuquerque City Councilor and as a leader of state and national municipal attorney organizations.
2003 - Peter T. White
Peter White was recognized for his years of dedicated service as General Counsel for the State Engineer along with his service to community groups concerning water rights after his retirement.
2002 - Jerry Richardson
Jerry Richardson was recognized for his service as chief hearing officer for the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department. In addition to deciding administrative protests in tax matters, Richardson was responsible for oversight of license revocation hearings under the New Mexico Implied Consent Act. In addition to his long career as a public lawyer, Richardson played an active role in the community. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Palace, a support group for the Palace of the Governors Museum. Richardson was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, serving as chair from 1994-1996. He also spent 10 years on the Public Employees Retirement Board and was chair of the board from 1992-1995.
2001 - Mary McInerny
Mary McInerny was recognized for her distinguished career in the public sector including service at the New Mexico Attorney General's Office, as the Financial Institutions Division Director, as a member of the Public Utility Commission and as County Attorney and County Administrator for Los Alamos County.
2000 - Nick Estes
Nick Estes was recognized for his dedicated and distinguished service as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Albuquerque City Attorney's Office and as University Counsel for the University of New Mexico.
1999 - Marty Daly
Marty Daly was recognized for her distinguished career as a public lawyer, serving as an Assistant District Attorney, the Appellate Public Defender and as an Assistant Attorney General.
1998 - Douglas Meiklejohn
Doug Meiklejohn was recognized both as the pioneering founder of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center and for his dedicated service at the New Mexico Attorney General's Office.
1997 - Frank Katz
Frank Katz was recognized for his leadership as the long-serving General Counsel at the New Mexico Taxation & Revenue Department. Katz also served as a Deputy Attorney General.
1996 - Florenceruth Brown
Florenceruth Brown was recognized for her leadership and service as General Counsel for the New Mexico Health and Environment Department, and for her pioneering role as a female attorney in northern New Mexico.