New Mexico Government Attorneys

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.

Attorneys must:

  • Be admitted to practice law in another state or the District of Columbia.
  • Be in good standing to practice law in each state where the attorney is licensed.

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:

  • A certificate of admission to practice and good standing from each state where the applicant is licensed to practice law.
  • Employer Statement. A letter from the head of the governmental entity that has employed the applicant. The letter must certify employment with the government
  • Attorney Statement. An applicant certificate stating the attorney has read and is familiar with the New Mexico Rules of Professional Conduct, the New Mexico
    Supreme Court Rules, and the New Mexico Statutes relating to attorney conduct.
  • A fee of $125 made payable to the New Mexico Supreme Court and disciplinary fee of $150 made payable to the Disciplinary Board. All fees are nonrefundable.

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:

  • The expiration of one year from the date of issuance.
  • Notification that the applicant failed the New Mexico bar exam.
  • Termination of employment with the government entity.
  • Failure to take the next bar exam for which the applicant is eligible.
  • Admission to the New Mexico Bar upon passing the bar exam.

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.