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UNM law professor named lead attorney for federal panel

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A University of New Mexico School of Law professor has been named to the high-ranking post of lead lawyer at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which “regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil.”

Max Minzner, 41, remains on the faculty at UNM’s law school, where he has been a professor for the last nine years, as he takes the post as general counsel to the commission. He will be working out of offices in Washington, D.C.

“I have known Max for almost 20 years, beginning when he was a law clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico,” FERC Chairman Norman Bay said in a statement Tuesday. “I have full confidence that Max will bring a high level of excellence to his work in the Office of the General Counsel.”

Bay is a former U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico.

Minzner, an Albuquerque native, received the 2013-2015 University of New Mexico Presidential Teaching Fellowship, a lifetime achievement award given annually to only one professor at the school, according to his biography on the UNM law school website.

He took a leave from teaching in 2009 and 2010 to work for the commission as special counsel to the director of the Office of Enforcement at FERC in Washington, D.C.

“In this role, he helped lead the enforcement arm of FERC, investigating violations in the energy sector relating to anti-competitive activities, market manipulation, and conduct that threatened the reliability of the electric grid,” according to his biography.

Minzner joins the executive ranks of the FERC, salaries for which range from about $122,000 to about $183,000, agency spokeswoman Mary O’Driscoll said Tuesday.

His mother, Pamela Minzner, served on the New Mexico Supreme Court. His father, Richard Minzner, also an attorney, was the majority leader of the New Mexico House of Representatives in the mid-1980s.