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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue:  April 8, 2002
Volume 37, Number 18

UNM lobbied for Indian law on exam

New Mexico recently became the first state in the nation to require federal Indian law as a subject on its bar exam as a result of efforts by UNM School of Law student Calvin Lee, Navajo, Professor of Law Kip Bobroff and alumnus William Johnson, an Isleta Pueblo attorney and tribal judge.

In December, the men appeared before an advisory committee of the New Mexico Supreme Court to ask that the subject be added. The court ordered the change in February.

"Indian law in New Mexico is becoming as important as state law to practitioners, courts and citizens," says UNM School of Law Dean Robert J. Desiderio. "We try to insert Indian law issues into most subjects we teach and not just the courses marked Indian law."

UNM was the first law school to initiate efforts to increase the number of American Indians and Alaskan Natives in the legal profession. Students, with faculty supervision, frequently advise American Indians and Indian institutions, says Bobroff, one of several faculty who teaches Indian law courses, which have been offered at UNM since the 1960s.

Indian law permeates all legal areas in New Mexico, says Associate Professor Christine Zuni Cruz, director of the UNM Southwest Indian Law Clinic. "The direct impact is that more practitioners and students who are going to practice in New Mexico will be prepared for Indian law issues," Zuni Cruz says.