As many of you know, Kim Posich, the Center’s longtime Executive Director, has stepped down from his position. We would like to take the opportunity to recognize his important contributions to the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the people of New Mexico. Please join us on April 18th at Hotel Albuquerque to toast Kim and thank him for his years of service.
We hope you will mark your calendars and plan to join us. Additional information will be coming soon.
A Toast to Kim Posich!
Tuesday, April 18th
The Center is pleased to announce that Supervising Attorney Sovereign Hager and Staff Attorney Abuko Estrada have been selected to participate in the Sargent Shriver National Center on Law and Poverty’s Racial Justice Training Institute (RJTI). RJTI is a national training program committed to promoting race equity as an integral part of antipoverty advocacy. Over a six month period, RTJI fellows will participate in a combination of online and onsite learning to develop their skills to successfully address the role racism plays in causing and perpetuating poverty.
As part of their fellowship, Sovereign and Abuko have spent the week in Chicago training with the Shriver Center. Abuko said, “The Shriver Center’s Racial Justice Training Institute has been an inspirational experience. I am excited to put into the action the tools and strategies learned and continue to engage with a great network of advocates across the nation. I am honored to be a part of the training and feel positive it will help to inform and transform the Center’s work and impact in New Mexico.”
On Friday, April 22nd, the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association recognized the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty with the 2016 AMICUS Award for Significant Contributions to the Advancement of Law. Professor Michael Browde presented the award to the entire staff of the Center and shared his reflections on our work:
“…the Center has become the leading legal organization in service to the poor in this state—serving client interests directly in the broadest ways possible, while also working diligently and cooperatively with the legal aid and specialized legal service organizations that work so hard in service to the poor and disadvantaged segments of our society. So, it is fitting in the extreme that NMTLA honors, the Center, its extraordinary Executive Director, Kim Posich, its indefatigable Director of Litigation, Gail Evans, and its marvelous and dedicated staff.”
Thank you to the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association for this honor!
As part of our joyful 20th Anniversary Celebration on April 14, 2016, we recognized some of the individuals who have played indispensable roles in the establishment and success of the Center.
The Center’s First Executive Director
Bob Ericson, the first Executive Director the Center. Bob was a lifetime legal service attorney and is remembered as a meticulous, skilled, and compassionate attorney. His legal skills and leadership influenced the Center on Law and Poverty’s culture of excellent work, integrity, and service to low-income New Mexicans—values we still hold strong today. He touched the lives of so many people in New Mexico.
The Extraordinary Members of the Founding Board of Directors
Ruth Kovnat, Emerita Professor of Law at University of New Mexico School of Law. Ruth served as President of our Board of Directors. If you practice law in New Mexico, there’s a good chance you either learned from Ruth or learned from someone who learned from her. Ruth has been an ongoing supporter of the Center and equal access to justice for the poor.
Timothy Sheehan, retired attorney from the firm of Sheehan and Sheehan, PA. Tim served as Secretary and Treasurer of our Board. He has worked extensively at state and national levels to promote and fund legal services for the poor.
Bill Strouse, former Executive Director of Legal Aid in Southern New Mexico, the Community Action Agency of Southern New Mexico, and the statewide, consolidated New Mexico Legal Aid. He helped build each of those organizations substantially. Bill served as Vice President of the Center’s Board.
Virginia Sears (1915-2001), legal services consultant with the New Mexico State Bar Association and Northern New Mexico Legal Services. Virginia was a wonderful lifelong senior advocate and activist.
John Robb (1924-2014), partner at the firm of Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, PA. John, who was the first President of our Board of Directors, demonstrated a powerful commitment to civil legal aid for the poor. In addition to serving on the Center’s board for over a decade, he also participated on the boards of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and the ABA’s Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants. Click below to hear John’s thoughts about the NM Center on Law and Poverty.
A Few Key Staff Members
Nancy Koenigsberg, current Senior Attorney at Disability Rights New Mexico. Nancy led the Center as Legal Director and Acting Executive Director for five years. She made sure the Center maintained its commitment to excellent work and service following Bob Ericson’s passing.
Sireesha Manne, Staff Attorney. Sireesha has been a leader in the Center’s healthcare advocacy and critical to the Center’s success in policy work in the legislature and executive branch.
Gail Evans, Legal Director. Gail is widely regarded as one of the best poverty law attorneys in the country. Both the excellence of the Center’s advocacy and its enviable string of successes in the courts are testament to that. She has been a persistent, unflagging voice for low-income New Mexicans.
Stacey Leaman, Development Director. Stacey’s fundraising efforts have allowed the Center to add staff, diversify our campaigns, and make a broader impact.
Kim Posich, the Center’s Executive Director. Since becoming Executive Director in October 2002, Kim has expanded the Center’s size, resources, and advocacy agenda. Under his leadership, the Center went from a team of 3 to today being a staff of 15—including a remarkable 11 attorneys! This has corresponded with an expansion of the Center’s work. Kim has dedicated his entire life to working on behalf of those with fewer resources, less privilege, and greater need. He has tirelessly championed the poor, making an enormous and measurable difference for thousands of families in this state.
Guests enjoy food, drink, and great company at the beautiful Indian Pueblo Cultural Center.
On Thursday, April 14th, we celebrated the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty’s 20th Anniversary with a memorable event at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. It was wonderful to see so many people come together to recognize the impact our organization has made on the lives of low-income New Mexicans.
Please enjoy a few photos of the evenings’ festivities. Photography services were provided by Ideum, our Champion Level Sponsor.
NMCLP Development Director Stacey Leaman talks with NM Legal Aid’s Executive Director Ed Marks at the registration table.
A woman signs the Center’s guest book.
NMCLP Board Member Regis Pecos speaks to Judge Raymond Ortiz and Senator Ortiz y Pino.
NMCLP Legal Director Gail Evans was the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.
A large crowd joined us for the 20th Anniversary Celebration.
Senator Michael S. Sanchez speaks at the event.
Gail Evans welcomes United States Senator Jeff Bingaman to the stage to share his thoughts about the state of poverty in New Mexico.
Defender Circle Sponsors
McGinn Carpenter Montoya & Love, P.A.
McCune Charitable Foundation
Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Johnson Barnhouse and Keegan, LLP
Coyte Law P.C.
Kennedy Kennedy & Ives, LLC
Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin, & Robb, P.A.
University of New Mexico School of Law
First Financial Credit Union
Friend Circle Sponsors
AARP New Mexico
Ambition Consulting Group
Bogardus & Scott, Attorneys at Law, P.C.
Con Alma Health Foundation
Garcia Ives Nowara, LLC
State Bar of New Mexico
Sheehan & Sheehan, P.A.
On Thursday, November 12, the Con Alma Health Foundation, honored Executive Director Kim Posich as the 2015 “Hero of Health”. This annual award is given to a leading advocate for health equity in New Mexico. Mr. Posich was nominated by Pamelya P. Herndon, Executive Director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center. Both Con Alma and Southwest Women’s Law Center have been longtime partners of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty’s work on healthcare issues that affect low-income New Mexicans.
Thank you to Ms. Herdon and the Con Alma Health Foundation for recognizing Kim and his tireless efforts to improve the health and well-being of New Mexican families!
The State Bar of New Mexico honored NMCLP Executive Director Kim Posich with the 2015 Distinguished Bar Service – Nonlawyer Award at a moving ceremony on October 1. The award recognizes nonlawyers who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal profession over a significant period of time. In a letter from Joe Conte, Executive Director of the State Bar of New Mexico, told Kim, “Your commitment, contributions, dedication and leaders with the Center on Law and Poverty, as well as your efforts to expand and increase equal access to justice for all New Mexicans, make you most deserving of this special award.”
NM Legal Aid celebrated Kim and the other State Bar of New Mexico Honorees by holding a viewing party at their office. NMCLP staffers and Kim’s friends and family who couldn’t make the trip to Colorado Springs to see him accept his award in person watched New Mexico Civil Legal Services community. Thank you to NM Legal Aid for this event!
In a moving ceremony at its meeting this past Tuesday, September 29th, the All Pueblo Council of Governors thanked the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty for generating changes in policy and laws for economic and social justice and for having “given voice to the poorest in our society”.
Over the past decade, the Center on Law and Poverty has collaborated with Native Americans in a unique relationship on issues important to New Mexico’s tribes. These include: increasing access to health care for Native American’s at the University of New Mexico Hospital; protecting Native American’s rights to fee-for-service Medicaid; to spread best administrative practices for tribal healthcare systems; improving our state government’s consultation with tribes concerning matters that affect them; ensuring that safety net programs work well for low-income Native Americans; and many others.
The work of the Center with Native American leaders and advocates has yielded significant outcomes. The joint efforts at UNM Hospital alone, for example, with local community groups, resulted in several important outcomes. The Hospital developed comprehensive language services to better serve patients who are not proficient in English. It abandoned its practice of charging uninsured patients more than insured patients and of requiring that uninsured patients pay 50% of expected charges in advance of receiving care. It also curtailed aggressive collections policies that harmed low-income patients.
On behalf of the Council, Governor Val Panteah Sr. of Zuni Pueblo read an homage to the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty’s director, Kim Posich, for his dedication and leadership, and to his staff, for their advocacy and litigation in partnership with Native Americans and in Native American interests. He also called for exploring a formal relationship with the Center and Mr. Posich agreed to join the Governors in considering a more explicit partnership.
Mr. Posich stated that strengthening the relationship between the Center on Law and Poverty and the Pueblos could lead to the formation of a Native American public interest law center, an idea that has been generating excitement in advocacy circles. Most visions of the new law center would have it be similar to the Center on Law and Poverty with the purpose of creating systemic change for low income Native American New Mexicans, perhaps even starting within the Center. However, it would be staffed largely by Native Americans and focus exclusively on issues that cut across Native American interests.