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Our Department

Information about the Legal Department.

View the Legal Department Organization Chart

Our Divisions

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADR) offers three diverse programs to promote effective, equitable, and efficient conflict resolution; both within the city government and the greater Albuquerque community. ADR’s primary mission is to diffuse conflict at the earliest possible stage by building stakeholder consensus and avoiding litigation.  As a result, the City of Albuquerque has been widely recognized for its’ successful ADR practices.  ADR service offerings include the Employee Mediation Program; the Land Use Facilitated Meeting Program; and the Community Mediation Program.

The Compliance Division was established to effectuate the Albuquerque Police Department’s (APD) compliance with court oversight cases and settlements to ensure that APD and the City comply with federal, state, and local laws.  The Compliance Division primarily supports the efforts being undertaken by APD to achieve full and effective compliance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) entered into with the United States Department of Justice.  The Compliance Division works with APD to craft policies, training, and practices that meet the legal requirements of the CASA and build the operational capacity to make APD a national model of Constitutional policing. The Compliance Division also ensures that the City and APD develop policies and practices to effectuate the settlement agreement and court orders in McClendon, et al. v. City of Albuquerque, et al., No. 95‑CV‑24.  The Compliance Division also addresses legal issues and lawsuits involving the interaction of federal immigration law and City immigration policies as they pertain to law enforcement.

The Employment and Labor Law Division provides both litigation and general advisory services in areas of employment and labor law to every City department.  Litigation services include representation in both New Mexico State and Federal District Courts in the following types of cases: Human Rights Act; Title VII; Whistleblower; the Americans with Disabilities Act; or any other suit dealing primarily with employment or labor issues.  This Division also represents the City before the City’s Labor-Management Relations Board and Personnel Board.  General assistance and advice are provided to every City department on the following topics: employee disciplinary matters or alleged misconduct; compliance with the Human Rights Act, Title VII, and the Americans with Disabilities Act; compliance with the City’s Labor-Management Relations Ordinance; and any other issue dealing primarily with employment or labor.

The Litigation Division works collaboratively to defend civil rights and tort lawsuits brought against the City of Albuquerque and its employees.  The defense of these lawsuits includes discovery and motion practice in preparation for trial and/or settlement facilitation. We also engage in appellate practice where we author extensive briefs and participate in oral argument oftentimes on complex legal issues in defense of our positions on behalf of our clients.  In defending each lawsuit, we attempt to tailor discovery questions and motions in such a manner so as to obtain a favorable outcome in the form of a dismissal, defense verdict, or reasonable settlement.  Ultimately, our overall goal is to provide the best professional representation on behalf of the City of Albuquerque and its employees before a judge and/or jury.

The Municipal Affairs Division provides a broad range of general counsel legal services to the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and various City departments, boards, commissions, and agencies. The legal services provided by the Division include, but are not limited to, drafting legal opinions, reviewing and drafting ordinances and executive/administrative instructions, reviewing and drafting contracts, providing counsel on Inspection of Public Records Act requests and other open government issues, providing advice on City ordinances and State/Federal statutes and regulations, and providing general advice and counsel on day-to-day operations.  The Division’s attorneys have knowledge in a wide‑area of law, including, contracts, procurement, elections, open government and transparency, public safety, water, utilities, franchises, energy, regulatory, airports, transportation, parks, cultural and library services, solid waste, finance and budget, and environmental.

The Property & Finance Division touches a variety of issues from litigation to contract review to prosecuting petty misdemeanor offenses.  We diligently litigate land use, real estate and contractual disputes in all venues ranging from local administrative hearings to the United States Supreme Court.  Our proactive attorneys and support staff provide counsel to client departments including Planning, Municipal Development, Animal Welfare, and Treasury, as well as myriad boards and commissions.  Our traffic arraignment program handles first appearances for tens of thousands of traffic offenders annually, freeing police officers to spend more time on the streets.  Finally, ADAPT cleans up the city’s biggest nuisance properties with a team of code enforcement specialists and attorneys.