New Mexico Legal Aid

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Law-La-Palooza Brings Free Legal Aid to Albuquerque

LawLaPalooza Photos

On June 22, 2024, the Second Judicial District Court Pro Bono Committee and the New Mexico Legal Aid Volunteer Attorney Program hosted a remarkable event, Law-La-Palooza, at the Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque. This legal fair aimed to provide free legal consultations to low-income residents in need, bringing together a community of legal professionals and support organizations to offer their expertise and resources. 

The event was a resounding success, with 197 individuals receiving free legal consultations from experienced attorneys. The fair featured two separate sessions for family law and civil law consultations, covering a wide range of legal issues. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss their legal concerns with knowledgeable attorneys, gaining valuable insights and advice. 

Several esteemed organizations participated in Law-La-Palooza, offering the attendees a diverse range of resources. The Crime Victims Reparation Commission (CVRC), Modest Means Helpline (MMH), Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED), Hipocampo, and the Second Judicial District Court Self-Help Clinic all played crucial roles in supporting the event. Their services ensured that attendees had access to a comprehensive range of services and information. 

Deanne Romero from the Second Judicial District Self-Help Center prepared pro se packets for all civil legal issues, ensuring every client had access to the necessary forms. The Volunteer Attorney Program (VAP) Director, Zac Addison, along with the newest team member, Rose Cary, diligently managed the final intake eligibility screening throughout the day. Heather Norfleet, Director of the Equal Access to Justice Commission, operated the initial check-in table, patiently vetting legal issues and assisting every applicant. 

LawLaPalooza PhotosA dedicated team of intake volunteers from the District Attorney’s office, New Mexico Legal Aid, and the State Bar of New Mexico Paralegal Division helped clients identify their legal issues and match them with the appropriate volunteer attorneys. Judges Levy, O’Connell, Franchini, and Huling played a pivotal role in pairing clients with attorneys based on their eligibility and specific legal needs.

Also, a big thanks goes out to Seth Grant from the 2nd JD Family Court Managing Attorney who made parking accessible, set up the event in the morning, helped with the breakdown in the afternoon, and coordinated with all providers to ensure the success of the event. The event was expertly coordinated by Bella Zayani, the Pro Bono Coordinator, who has successfully organized over 30 legal fairs across 13 districts. 

Meryl Sutton, a VAP Paralegal, captured the spirit of the event, stating, “When we come together as a community and work together, we make an impact!” According to Zac Addison, VAP Director, “It was encouraging to see how the stress on clients’ faces when they first arrived eased by the time they left after receiving free legal advice and information.” Law-La-Palooza exemplified the power of collaboration and the profound difference that can be made when dedicated professionals and volunteers unite to serve their community. 

The success of Law-La-Palooza highlights the importance of pro bono work and the positive impact it has on individuals who might otherwise lack access to legal assistance. Events like this not only provide immediate support to those in need but also strengthen the fabric of the community by fostering a spirit of cooperation and service. 

For more information about future legal fairs and pro bono opportunities, visit New Mexico Legal Aid’s Volunteer Attorney Program website at 


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