New Mexico Legal Aid

Advancing fairness & justice for all
Free legal aid in New Mexico



About New Mexico Legal Aid

In a state where almost half a million residents live under the poverty line, New Mexico Legal Aid strives to maintain a high level of service to promote family and economic stability. For every 14,000 poor persons, there is one legal aid attorney at NMLA. We dedicate our work to individuals and families who have depleted resources for basic human needs, ultimately securing safe housing, food, income, and personal safety. We are proud and grateful for the opportunities to work alongside our colleagues and community partners to help alleviate poverty in New Mexico.

Our Vision 

New Mexico Legal Aid is a civil legal advocacy organization dedicated to opening the door to equal access to justice for all disenfranchised and low-income people and communities throughout New Mexico by providing outreach, training, education, and quality representation.

Our Mission

The mission of New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc. (NMLA) is to be the voice, defender, and advocate for poor people who are seeking justice in all forums, particularly in the communities in which they live. NMLA is committed to helping poor people in their struggle to access food, shelter, security, and to preserve their unique cultural heritages.

What Is Legal Aid?

Legal aid programs help people who live in households with annual incomes at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. Clients represent every ethnic and age group and live in rural, suburban, and urban areas. They are the working poor, veterans, families with children, farmers and migrant workers, people with disabilities, homeowners, renters, and the elderly. Legal assistance is necessary for addressing many issues that affect low-income individuals and families, including:

  • Access to Benefits
  • Consumer Rights
  • Employment and Income Maintenance
  • Family Law and Domestic Violence
  • Landlord/ Tenant and other housing issues

NMLA Locations

New Mexico Legal Aid has ten office locations serving all counties in New Mexico, although the majority of San Juan county is covered by our partner agency, DNA People’s Legal Services.

Click here for a printable list of our addresses, phone numbers, and office hours for NMLA locations around the state. If you are not sure which office to contact, call our main offfice in Albuquerque at 505-243-7871. We’ll be happy to help make sure you get to the right place! If you want to apply for legal help, call our Statewide Intake Line at 1-833-545-4357 (Monday-Thursday, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm) or Apply Online.

Volunteer Attorney Program

Working in close collaboration with the State Bar of New Mexico, Access to Justice Commission and local judicial district pro bono committees, New Mexico Legal Aid’s Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP) engages in direct case placement with pro bono attorneys, sponsors CLE events, training, and provides support and coordination for local legal clinics for low-income New Mexico residents.

Support NMLA with a Donation

New Mexico families living in poverty struggle with issues of domestic violence, foreclosure, healthcare debt, predatory lending, Veteran’s accessing benefits, and more. By funding civil legal aid in New Mexico, you help families in our community fight poverty. If you would like to contribute to those in need, please visit our donation page. Thank you!

Client Survey

Providing our clients with high-quality legal services is paramount to New Mexico Legal Aid. If you have been a client and would like to give us some feedback, please download and complete our client satisfaction survey or CLICK HERE to complete our survey online.

Sonya Bellafant, Executive Director

Sonya Bellafant HeadshotSonya Bellafant currently serves as the Executive Director of New Mexico Legal Aid. With a background in law and extensive experience in the field, Sonya has played pivotal roles in legal aid initiatives, including founding 603 Legal Aid in Concord, NH, and directing the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance in Nashville.

Licensed in Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and now New Mexico, Sonya earned her law degree from Michigan State University. Before joining NMLA, she contributed to various legal programs and demonstrated her commitment to enforcing, advancing, and defending the legal rights of low-income and vulnerable families. Sonya’s career includes roles at Legal Aid of Western Michigan, Legal Aid & Defender, Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, and U.AW. Legal Services.

Beyond her legal endeavors, Sonya is actively involved in supporting trial advocacy skills through the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and mentors aspiring minority students. With a background in advertising for firms such as Bozell Worldwide and Campbell Ewald, she brings a diverse skill set to her roles.

In her leisure time, Sonya enjoys the company of her terriers, Gracie, Scipio, and Taos. As a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she engages in community service and mentors those aspiring to enter the legal profession. Additionally, Sonya pursues hobbies like quilting, crocheting, and jogging.

Board of Directors

The New Mexico Legal Aid Board of Directors consists of members from across New Mexico, nominated and elected by their peers. 

Our Board of Directors include:

  • Karen Meyers, Esq., Chair
  • Carlos Marentes, Vice-Chair
  • Paul Abrams, Esq.
  • Luz Valverde, Esq., Secretary
  • Stuart Bluestone, Esq.
  • David Eisenberg, Esq.
  • Maria Garcia Geer, Esq.
  • Gerardo Gayton
  • Torri Jacobus, Esq.
  • Oma Jones
  • Naava Koenigsberg
  • James Martin, Esq., Treasurer
  • Erika Pirotte, Esq.
  • Michael Reyes, Esq.
  • Ashley Sanders
  • Guadalupe Torrez
  • Joe Zebas, Esq.
  • Joy Applewhite, Esq
  • Alicia “Sunny” Apodaca

Click here to see a list of Board Committees and their members.

Our Projects

In addition to these practice areas, New Mexico Legal Aid currently works on twelve individual projects including:

A StateWide Domestic Violence Talk & Help Line

Land & Water


Legal Services for
Victims of Violence

Low Income
Taxpayer Clinic

Migrant Farmworker/
Low Wage Worker Advocacy

Native American

Partnering for
Native American Health


Special Immigration
Juvenile Status


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