News Release


Date: Contact:


June 29, 2012

Christine Morganti, (505) 797-6028

State Bar Announces Annual Award Recipients

Albuquerque, N.M.—The State Bar of New Mexico will honor its best and brightest at a special award ceremony to be held during its annual meeting at 5 p.m., July 13, at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Santa Ana Pueblo. Each year the State Bar recognizes those who have distinguished themselves or who have made exemplary contributions to the State Bar, the legal profession, and the citizens of New Mexico.

View photos and biographies of recipients at

Henry A. Kelly – Justice Pamela B. Minzner Professionalism (Recognizes attorneys or judges who, over long and distinguished legal careers, have by their ethical and personal conduct exemplified the epitome of professionalism. The award is named for Justice Minzner (1943–2007) who was known for her fervent and unyielding commitment to professionalism. She served on the NM Supreme Court from 1994–2007.)
Henry “Hank” Kelly has practiced business law, tax, real estate and estate planning for 44 years. His corporate clients include professional firms, oil and gas producers, banks and financial institutions, and federal contractors. He enjoys helping closely held businesses through times of transition, including management conflicts and shareholder or partner disputes. Throughout his career, Kelly has served on a number of commissions and committees related to professionalism, ethics and conduct. He served the American Bar Association as a member of the Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability (which he chaired), the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline, the Standing Committee on Lawyer Competence, the Standing Committee on Professionalism, and the Standing Committee on Client Protection. He was a charter member of the Center for Civic Values. He serves on and chairs the New Mexico Supreme Court Code of Professional Responsibility Committee and serves on the New Mexico Supreme Court Client Protection Commission. Kelly has been with Sutin, Thayer & Browne since 2004.

Justice Patricio M. Serna – Justice Seth D. Montgomery Distinguished Judicial Service Award (Recognizes judges who have distinguished themselves through long and exemplary service on the bench and who have significantly advanced the administration of justice; generally given to judges who have or soon will be retiring. The award is named for Justice Montgomery (1937–1998), a brilliant and widely respected attorney and jurist who served on the NM Supreme Court from 1989–1994.)
The Honorable Patricio M. Serna is senior justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. He took his seat in 1996 and served as chief from 2001–2002. He was a district court judge for the 1st Judicial District from 1985–1996. Justice Serna attended the College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande (B.A.), the University of Denver (J.D.), and Harvard (LL.M.). He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Denver. He was an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown and Catholic universities. Justice Serna serves on the board of directors for the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and on the advisory board for the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System. He received the New Mexico Law Review’s Excellence in Jurisprudence award and the University of Denver College of Law’s Thomson G. Marsh Award for Outstanding Accomplishments.

Sandra Bauman – Distinguished Bar Service Award–Non-Lawyer (Recognizes nonlawyers who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal profession over a significant period of time.)
Sandra Bauman and husband Keith moved to Albuquerque from Chicago in 2005 when life’s circumstances finally allowed them to heed the call of the West. With over 14 years of relevant service-sector experience and a broad spectrum of volunteerism, she was quickly hired as administrative assistant to the dean of the UNM School of Law. One of her roles, coordinating the merit selection aspect of New Mexico’s judicial selection process, has offered a unique ongoing orientation tour via virtually every courthouse in the state. Through this distinctive exposure, Bauman has developed a deep appreciation for the many cooperative and hospitable New Mexicans with whom she has the opportunity and honor to work. Her two adult children live out of state. She and her husband enjoy camping and hiking as avenues for exploring the qualities which initially drew them here—the solitude and beauty of the remote Southwest.

John D. Robb, Jr. – Distinguished Bar Service Award–Lawyer (Recognizes attorneys who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal professional over a significant period of time.)
John D. Robb earned his law degree from the University of Minnesota. In 1951 he joined what is now known as Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb PA (the Rodey Law Firm). He is of counsel and continues to practice law. Robb received the UNM School of Law’s Distinguished Service Award (1995) and was named Outstanding Lawyer of the Year by the Albuquerque Bar Association (2008). A major part of his career has been devoted to legal aid on both the national and local levels. In 2006 the American Bar Association honored him with an award recognizing his early efforts in establishing the Legal Services Corporation and his continued efforts in securing legal aid for the poor. The ABA stated, “Without Mr. Robb’s efforts on behalf of Legal Services, the Corporation as we know it may not even exist today.”

Robert L. Lucero, Jr. – Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award (Awarded to one or more attorneys who have, during the formative stages of their legal careers by their ethical and personal conduct, exemplified for their fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism. The recipient has demonstrated commitment to clients’ causes and to public service, enhancing the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public. The recipient has practiced no more than five years or is under 36 years of age.)
From a family with deep roots in Northern New Mexico, Robert Lucero was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and went to high school in Española. After graduating with honors from Stanford University in 1998 and working as a mariachi and banker in the San Francisco Bay Area, he returned to New Mexico to study law at the UNM School of Law (magna cum laude, 2008). He then joined the Rodey Law Firm, where he practices real estate and finance law. Lucero is a Southwest Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” a graduate of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce “Leadership Albuquerque,” and one of New Mexico Business Weekly’s “40 Under Forty” most dynamic, successful and community-minded young business leaders. Lucero is involved in the community through the 2nd Judicial District Volunteer Attorney Pool, United Way Young Leaders Society Council, board of directors of the UNM School of Law Alumni Association, and the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

Jared G. Kallunki – Robert H. LaFollette Pro Bono Award (This award is presented to an attorney who has made an exemplary contribution of time and effort, without compensation, to provide legal assistance to people who could not afford the assistance of an attorney. LaFollette (1900–1977), director of Legal Aid to the Poor, was a champion of the underprivileged and was the consummate humanitarian and philanthropist.)
Jared Garner Kallunki is the principal and owner of Kallunki Law PC in Roswell. He practices in a wide range of civil matters, including domestic relations, business litigation, estate planning and personal injury. Kallunki currently serves on the Chaves County Pro Bono Committee and represents Region 3 on the board of directors of the State Bar Young Lawyers Division. He was previously the managing attorney of New Mexico Legal Aid in Roswell and has in the past been a member of the Eddy County, Lea County, and 12th District Pro Bono committees, where he was active in planning and carrying out events and developing programs to address the legal needs of the poor. Kallunki attended the University of Alabama (B.A., Political Science, 2002; M.A., International Relations and Comparative Politics, 2004) and the Thomas Jefferson
School of Law (J.D., 2007). He lives in Roswell with his wife of 15 years, Tiesha, and his three children, Detroit, Joaquin, and Cedric.

Outstanding Legal Organization – United South Broadway Corporation, Foreclosure Defense Project (This award recognizes extraordinary law-related programs that serve the legal profession and the public.)
United South Broadway Corp. is a non-profit community development corporation founded in 1986 to strengthen the capacity of low-income residents to overcome financial and other barriers to safe, decent and affordable housing. The Fair Lending Center, a program of USBC, has been instrumental in the formulation and adoption of legislation such as the Home Loan Protection Act and Loan Originator Licensing Act. The Fair Lending Center began focusing on the foreclosure crisis in 2008 and obtained funding to start handling foreclosure defense for low-income homeowners when no other resources addressed this need. Over 10,000 families face foreclosure each year in New Mexico. The Fair Lending Center, staffed by two to three attorneys and a paralegal, has successfully litigated several hundred foreclosure cases and holds foreclosure pro se workshops for hundreds more homeowners.

The State Bar of New Mexico was organized in 1886 and is composed of more than 8500 members. Its purposes are to aid the courts in administering justice and preserving the rule of law, and to foster a high standard of integrity and competence within the legal profession.