Rule 15-301.1 of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar allows public employees to obtain a limited, non-renewable, one-year license to practice law in New Mexico. Eligible attorneys must take the next New Mexico Bar Exam for which the applicant is eligible.
A “public employee” means any officer, employee, or servant of a governmental entity. Independent contractors do not qualify.
A “governmental entity” means the state or any local public body. A “local public body” means all political subdivisions of New Mexico and their agencies, instrumentalities, and institutions. A “state agency” means any of the branches, agencies, departments, boards, instrumentalities or institutions of New Mexico. Public defenders are included.
Limited licenses only permit the attorney to practice law in New Mexico as a public employee representing public defender clients or a government entity.
Attorneys are not members of the New Mexico Bar but are subject to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Rules Governing Discipline and must pay the annual disciplinary fee as part of the application process.
Attorneys are required to file an Application for a limited license with the Clerk of the Supreme Court. The Application includes:
The Clerk may revoke the limited license of any person found in violation of the public employee rules, any rule approved by the New Mexico Supreme Court, or any state or federal law. Upon revocation, the attorney may no longer appear in any court in New Mexico.
Limited licenses expire upon the occurrence of the following events:
Once a limited license expires or revokes, an attorney who resides or maintains a legal residence in New Mexico may not be admitted to a particular case via New Mexico’s Pro Hac Vice Rules.