New Mexico’s Supreme Court Adopts Partial “Reciprocity” Deregulation, Further Action Recommended by Rio Grande Foundation, Others

(Albuquerque) In a first step for “free trade” in legal services, the New Mexico Supreme Court has adopted partial reciprocity for attorneys (also known as reciprocal bar admission). In its pure form, lawyer reciprocity enables experienced attorneys from other states to practice in New Mexico. This basic regulatory reform was discussed in a 2013 Rio Grande Foundation policy brief that dealt broadly with regulations that hold back New Mexico’s economy.

Said Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing of the Court’s decision, “We are pleased that the Court has concluded that failing to recognize the credentials of out-of-state attorneys – while providing protection to a small group of marginal, in-state attorneys – is unfair to New Mexico consumers of legal services and ultimately harms our economy.”

Gessing continued, noting that “In today’s economy, businesses can set up their headquarters wherever they choose. State requirements that attorneys be ‘barred’ once again to practice in New Mexico after having already gone through that process elsewhere, is not helpful as our elected official attempt to bring jobs and economic growth to our state.

Attorney Pat Rogers who has been leading a pro-reciprocity effort before the Court noted that, while pleased with this first step, “The Court did not adopt the less restrictive proposal favored by his group and the Rio Grande Foundation. The Court did, however remove a good portion of the existing restrictive barriers to competition in the practice of law, in NM. Consumers should be the winners.”

Concluded Gessing, “The New Mexico Supreme Court’s move towards reciprocity is a small, but necessary step forward in terms of reducing unnecessary regulations on New Mexicans.”

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4 Replies to “New Mexico’s Supreme Court Adopts Partial “Reciprocity” Deregulation, Further Action Recommended by Rio Grande Foundation, Others”

  1. Here is the link to the rule from the NM Supreme Court web site:

    Looks like basics are graduate of ABA approved law school, member in good standing of bar of another state, has actively practised law for 5 of the last 7 years AND the other state grants admission by motion of attorneys with the same credentials from N.M. seeking admission to the other state.

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out. As a general rule, no state with good weather grants reciprocity. The reason: Lots more attorneys from the Dakotas and Alaska will want to move to New Mexico than vice versa. Albuquerque and Santa Fe already have a glut of attorneys.

    1. I’d rather practice law in North Dakota than New Mexico these days. I’ll bet those guys in ND are making a killing! If they’re paying McDonald’s burger flippers $15 an hour, I can only imagine what a decent attorney is bringing home there.

    2. Looks to me that there are also several rural areas where there are few lawyers. I am an Oklahoma attorney likely to move to rural northern NM next year as a result of reciprocity.

      1. Good luck. Northern New Mexico is pretty liberal and parts can be hostile to outsiders, but I do hope it works for you.

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