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1990 Study

The Task Force on Women and the Legal Profession, appointed in December 1987 by then State Bar President C. Emery Cuddy, Jr., submitted the findings of its two-year study to the Board of Bar Commissioners in 1991. The American Bar Association established a Commission on Women in the Profession about the same time, and states throughout the country were establishing commissions to investigate gender bias.

The task force was asked to "examine the needs of women lawyers, their acceptance by the bench and bar in general, their needs and the degree to which the State Bar has addressed those needs." In addition, it was determined that the study should also include whether gender bias was affecting women who were not lawyers who came into contact with the legal profession either as litigants or as witnesses. They also looked at the role of women in the profession. To meet those objectives, the task force investigated the following areas: 1) professional experience; 2) women as decision makers; 3) treatment of women by the courts; and 4) the impact of gender bias in decision making.

The Final Report: The Status of Women Attorneys in New Mexico identified findings and recommendations in the following specific areas: 1) employment experience of women as members of the State Bar and as members of the profession; 2) judicial selection; 3) State Bar activity; 4) courtroom environment; 5) court documents; 6) civil justice; 7) domestic violence; 8) criminal law; 9) sentencing; 10) juvenile justice; 11) family law; 12) property division; 13) alimony; 14) child support; and 15) custody. A shorter Summary Report: Task Force on Women and the Legal Profession followed.

The task force's conclusion at the end of the study was that, although the law has made significant gains toward eliminating gender bias, bias still exists in the administration of the law and in the treatment of women as professionals.