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Christine Morganti
(505) 797-6028

State Bar Announces 2011 Award Winners

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 July 15 at the Buffalo Thunder Resort in Santa Fe. 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.

Justice Pamela B. Minzner Professionalism Award—
Recipient Judge Angela J. Jewell

  This award recognizes one or more attorneys or judges who, over long and distinguished legal careers, have by their ethical and personal conduct exemplified for their fellow attorneys the epitome of professionalism. Justice Minzner (1943–2007), known for her fervent and unyielding commitment to professionalism, served on the New Mexico Supreme Court from 1994 to 2007.

  Judge Angela J. Jewell attended undergraduate school at UNM and the UNM School of Law (1979). She served as a special commissioner for domestic violence from 1988–1996 when she was appointed to a newly created domestic violence judgeship in the 2nd Judicial District where she served until her retirement in 2010. During her tenure, she was assigned to the Criminal Felony Domestic Violence Division as well as the Family Court Domestic Violence Division. She received the Outstanding Judicial Officer Award from the Albuquerque Bar Association, the Y.W.C.A. Women on the Move Award, the UNM Alumni Association Zia Award, and the U.S. Postal Service Community Service Award. She is also a past recipient of the New Mexico Commission on the Status of Women Governor’s Awards for Outstanding New Mexico Women. Jewell is currently of counsel at the Jewell Law Office, working with retired District Court Judge Tommy Jewell and associate Martin Maxwell. She conducts facilitations and mediations in domestic relations cases. She is also a board member of Peanut Butter & Jelly Family Services and Excel Educational Enterprises, Inc.

Justice Seth D. Montgomery Distinguished Judicial Service Award—
Recipient Judge Jerald A. Valentine

  This award recognizes judges who have distinguished themselves through long and exemplary service on the bench and who have significantly advanced the administration of justice. It is generally given to judges who have or soon will be retiring. Justice Montgomery (1937–1998), a brilliant and widely respected attorney and jurist, served on the New Mexico Supreme Court from 1989 to 1994.
  Judge Jerald Valentine is a native New Mexican born in Clovis. He attended New Mexico State University (B.S., mechanical engineering, 1966) and the University of Texas (J.D., 1971). After practicing law in Las Cruces for 21 years, he was appointed to the bench by then-Governor Bruce King. He served as district judge for over 17 years, presiding judge for the Lower Rio Grande Adjudication for over 15 years and was chief judge for five years before retiring in December of this year. He has served as chair and member of several state-wide committees, including the District Court Performance Committee and the judiciary’s Strategic Planning Committee. He also completed the Court Executive Development Program of the National Center for State Courts. Valentine is a fellow in the Institute for Court Management Program and continues as judge pro tempore on several cases.

Robert H. LaFollette Pro Bono Award—Recipient Allan L. Wainwright
  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. Robert LaFollette (1900–1977), director of Legal Aid to the Poor, was a champion of the underprivileged who, through countless volunteer hours and personal generosity and sacrifice, was the consummate humanitarian and philanthropist.
  Allan L. Wainwright was born in Las Cruces and graduated with high honors from New Mexico State University (1979) and the UNM School of Law (1982). He was a clerk and attorney with Sutin, Thayer and Browne from 1981–87 and has been a sole practitioner since 1993. He has a GB-98 contractor’s license and has constructed several projects including an office building at 800 Lomas. Wainwright is proud of many years of volunteer work dating back to college days, including coaching various youth sports and working with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, American Cancer Society, Boys and Girls Clubs of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, Cochiti Elementary School, St. Michael’s Church, Sandia Preparatory School, St. Pius X High School, Habitat for Humanity, Foundation for Sustainable Living, and Albuquerque Senior Men’s Basketball. He has also served in the volunteer attorney and pro bono programs for the 2nd Judicial District Court. Wainwright and his wife Julie have two sons, ages 19 and 16, who attend UNM and St. Pius X. Wainwright enjoys basketball and golf and is a member of the 2011 qualifying team for National Senior Basketball.

Distinguished Bar Service Award–Lawyer—Recipient Mary T. Torres
  This award recognizes attorneys who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal profession over a significant period of time.
  Mary Torres is very active in bar activities on the state and national level. She was New Mexico’s Outstanding Young Lawyer in 1995 and a past recipient of the UNM Zia Award. Torres was State Bar president in 2002, the first Latina to serve as president of any state bar association. She is currently the chair of the State Bar Committee on Diversity and is serving as secretary of the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association. On a national level, Torres has been the state delegate to the American Bar Association since 2003 and serves on various House of Delegates committees. She is currently secretary of the ABA’s Minority Caucus to the House of Delegates. She served on the Executive Council of the National Conference of Bar Presidents from 2002–2005 and as the first Latina president of that organization in 2010.

Distinguished Bar Service Award—Non-Lawyer—Recipient David Smoak
  This award recognizes non-lawyers who have provided valuable service and contributions to the legal profession over a significant period of time.
  David. Smoak started his career as a CPA with Price Waterhouse & Co. in Atlanta. He left to hold various financial positions in private industry and government. He has been a controller, chief financial officer of public companies, vice president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and executive director of the White House Conference on Small Business. He also worked in the office of the secretary of commerce in Washington and as chief executive officer of Wilson foods when it was #258 on the Fortune 500. In New Mexico, he has served as president or chair of a number of real estate development and investment companies with holdings in New Mexico, California, Texas and North Carolina. He has served as a volunteer and on boards of a number of civic, governmental and charitable organizations. He served as chair of the Judicial Standards Commission from August 2004–March 2011.

Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award—Recipient Keya Koul
  This award recognizes 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 his or her clients’ causes and to public service, enhancing the image of the legal profession in the eyes of the public. The recipient must have practiced no more than five years or must be no more than 36 years of age.
  Keya Koul attended Smith College (B.A., Spanish, minor in biology), UCLA (M.A., medieval Spanish literature) and Southwestern Law School (J.D.). She is the associate managing attorney with Castle Stawiarski LLC and practices real estate and bankruptcy law. Koul is the vice chair of the State Bar Young Lawyers Division. In her capacity as a YLD board member, she chairs the Albuquerque Law Day Call-in and the YLD/UNM School of Law Mentorship Program. She also volunteers for Wills for Heroes and the YLD/UNM School of Law Mock Interview Program. Koul most recently received her second appointment with the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Affiliate Newsletter Team. She also serves on the board of the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association. Her family is from India, and she speaks Hindi, Kashmiri, and Spanish.

Outstanding Legal Program Award—
Recipient New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association

 This award recognizes groups within the State Bar, local and voluntary bars across the state, and outstanding or extraordinary law-related programs that serve the legal profession and the public.
  Since its founding in 1978, the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association has flourished into the leading minority bar association in New Mexico. The board of directors is comprised of 24 voting members and a student member from the Mexican American Law Student Association at the UNM School of Law. Well over 200 attorneys and students are members of NMHBA, representing diverse backgrounds and areas of practice. NMHBA has developed educational programs that are second to none. Committed to ensuring students and young attorneys flourish into contributing members of the State Bar, NMHBA has implemented mentorship programs at the middle school, high school, college, law school, and young practitioner levels. Among these are the partnerships with the Atrisco Heritage Academy High School located in Albuquerque’s South Valley, and Law Camp, a week-long immersion program benefiting middle school students statewide. NMHBA prides itself on community involvement, providing scholarships to deserving students through the generous support of the legal community, and hosting CLEs, mixers, and town hall meetings. NMHBA hosted the 2009 Hispanic National Bar Association’s 34th Annual Convention, themed “Opening Doors…Abriendo Puertas.”

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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.