I came to law school in 2012 because I really wanted to work on “big” things, impactful things that made a difference to a lot of people. I didn’t really know what that meant in practice, but that was the general guiding principle. A law professor recommended I apply at the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General (NMOAG), telling me that essentially all they do is “big” things. I took his advice, and after an interview with our now chief deputy Cholla Khoury, I was hired as a summer clerk in 2013.
That first summer, I worked on a multimillion-dollar qui tam whistleblower suit against Exxon-Mobil, an attorney general opinion that would eventually be involved in a years-long legal showdown between landowners and the state in court, and a U.S. Supreme Court original action concerning the apportionment of the waters of the Rio Grande River. In other words, I got my wish. In spades.
I continued working at the NMOAG throughout that next academic year and summer, departing to extern with the Hon. Jimmie V. Reyna on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the fall of 2014 as part of the University of New Mexico’s “Law Semester in D.C.” program. After a brief stint with a private defense firm after graduation, I was eventually hired on as an assistant AG in the Consumer & Environmental Protection Division under Attorney General Hector Balderas. Since that time, the “big” things haven’t really stopped. A few months after joining the office, I was assigned the state’s opioid litigation. After five years of hard-fought litigation, that case is finally heading to trial in September of this year.
In December 2021, I was promoted to division director of the Consumer & Environmental Protection Division, overseeing ten attorneys handling dozens of complex matters. Our attorneys handle everything from consumer cases to qui tam actions, environmental disasters to river apportionment, charities fraud to mortgage fraud. We’ve sued major tech companies, forcing wholesale changes to how they do business. We’ve shut down predatory lenders, fraudulent “rent to own” operations, scam charities, and mortgage foreclosure assistance fraudsters. We’ve recovered funding for environmental cleanups, restitution for elderly consumers, and tens of millions in state funds through whistleblower actions.
Suffice to say that I am extremely proud of the work the division does. I’m also thankful for organizations like NAAG that provide so much support to offices like ours, helping us punch far above our weight to protect the folks we serve.
Other articles in this edition include:
- NAAG 2022 Presidential Summit Highlights Consumer Protection Issues Related to Technology
- Attorney General Consumer Protection News: August 2022
- Federal Consumer Protection News: August 2022