Two longtime professors at the University of New Mexico School and a pair of graduates have been recognized for significant contributions to the community.
The honors will be handed out by the UNM School of Law Alumni/ae Association through its Distinguished Achievement Award program during a dinner event in October.
This year’s selectees are:
• Former professor Barbara E. Bergman, who brought years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C., when she joined the UNM law faculty in 1987.
Bergman is credited with teaching and leading numerous academic programs, many of which she started, that strengthened the academic program and ensured practice-ready graduates.
Currently, she is director of advocacy at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.
• Former Judge Michael D. Bustamante, who has served on the New Mexico Court of Appeals from 1994 until his retirement in 2016.
Bustamante is known for his tireless work ethic and thorough preparation, organizers said, and his body of work will leave a lasting impression on the state of New Mexico.
He also spearheaded the idea and oversaw the construction of the Pamela B. Minzner Law Center. As a result, UNM is the only law school in the country with a Court of Appeals on its campus.
• University Distinguished Professor of Law James W. Ellis, who, since joining the UNM law faculty in 1976, has worked on behalf of people with mental disabilities in the civil and criminal justice system.
Ellis has also filed more than 20 briefs, each involving UNM students and faculty, in constitutional cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
• Shammara H. Henderson, an assistant U.S. attorney who graduated from the UNM School of Law in 2007, was given the new Alumni Promise Award, which is awarded to a recent graduate who has contributed innovative or substantial service. Henderson clerked for Justice Charles W. Daniels at the state Supreme Court.
At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, she focused on prosecuting drug trafficking organizations, civil rights, and child porn cases. She has also coordinated numerous externships, clerkships, presentations, and training and coaching programs with the law school.
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