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.
Due Process & Public-Benefits Notices from State Agencies: What’s Required?
State agencies must notify recipients of public benefits when those benefits are denied, terminated, or reduced. What’s required for those notices to satisfy the due process protections of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Join the Shriver Center Clearinghouse for an online conversation with Sovereign Hager of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and Ty Jones of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. We’ll talk about due process and notice and will learn what advocates in New Mexico did to improve their state’s notices.
Legal service advocates are invited to join the NM Center on Law and Poverty for a training by leading public benefits law expert David Super.
The training will take place on February 15, 2016, from 9am to 1 pm at the NM Center on Law and Poverty at 924 Park Ave, Suite C Albuquerque, NM 87102.
David Super, professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, is a leading expert on public benefits law, especially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). His current research focuses on constitutional law, legislation (including the federal budget), local government law, and public welfare law. He teaches these subjects as well as civil procedure, contracts, evidence, property, torts, and administrative law. Before entering academia, he was the general counsel for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and worked for the National Health Law Program and Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. And, before attending Harvard Law School, he was a community organizer. (Sound familiar?) Peter Edelman once described David as having “a burning commitment to social justice … (and) a profound intellectual depth” (Abrar Qadir, New Professor, Poverty Law Expert, a “Super” Addition, Georgetown Law Weekly, Oct. 18, 2011). A frequent Clearinghouse Review contributor and constant source of advice and support for the editorial team, David wrote two articles for the Review’s 2012 special issue on hunger and food insecurity: Preventing Terminations of SNAP When States Fail to Recertify Households on Time and Protecting Households as States Stagger SNAP Issuance. Find the articles on the Clearinghouse Review.
The 15th is Presidents’ Day and we know many offices will be closed. This is the only date that worked with Professor Super’s schedule, as he is traveling in the area. We hope that at least some of you can join us for this opportunity and chance to connect on our public benefits work!
You’re invited to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Medicare & Medicaid. These programs have improved the lives of New Mexicans for half a century and we want you to be there to look forward to 50 more years of success. The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Health Care for All Coalition will be celebrating at Explora on July 30th from 4pm-6pm.
Admission is free starting at 1pm, so please feel free to come a few hours early to enjoy the museum with friends and family. Food, beverages, and entertainment will be provided.