Introducing Executive Director Sonya Bellafant
A Passionate Advocate for Justice Takes the Helm at New Mexico Legal Aid
New Mexico Legal Aid (NMLA) is proud to announce the appointment of Sonya Bellafant as its new Executive Director. With an illustrious background in civil legal aid and a proven track record of empowering vulnerable communities, Bellafant brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to this nationally recognized organization.
Prior to joining NMLA, Bellafant served as the founding Executive Director of 603 Legal Aid in Concord, NH, where she established a strong foundation for providing critical legal support to underserved populations. Her leadership at the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance (TSLA) under the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands in Nashville, TN, showcased her ability to implement impactful projects that address the core legal needs of seniors across the state.
Bellafant directed the groundbreaking $5.5 million statewide initiative in her previous role, empowering seniors to overcome legal challenges perpetuating poverty. Through a coordinated and comprehensive approach spanning 95 counties, the TSLA made lasting impacts on the lives of vulnerable senior citizens. Bellafant’s unwavering commitment to justice and her ability to mobilize legal professionals and community stakeholders earned her recognition and respect in the field.
During the interview process, Bellafant was deeply inspired by the dedication and passion of the NMLA staff. “I was given an opportunity to meet with many staff members, and it was clear that everyone is committed to improving the lives of their clients,” she expressed. “I could easily relate to the value of providing justice and access to civil legal assistance for the low-income population in New Mexico.”
Having met with the NMLA leadership team, Bellafant is excited about the collaborative learning environment that awaits her. “Meeting with the leadership team provided a glimpse into the existing management structure, and it was clear that I would be given an opportunity to learn from the team,” she remarked. This exchange of knowledge and expertise promises to foster innovation and growth within the organization.
Bellafant’s initial interactions with the NMLA team and the legal services providers in New Mexico have been met with warmth and support. “The NMLA team inspires and motivates me to readily identify ways to support their herculean efforts to increase access to justice,” she shared. Bellafant has embarked on a journey to familiarize herself with each NMLA office, forging connections with judiciary members, civil legal service providers, and community stakeholders. The voluntary assistance and invaluable insights shared by individuals across the state have fortified her commitment to making a lasting impact.
With her appointment as the Executive Director, Bellafant aims to leverage NMLA’s already strong foundation to creatively and effectively expand access to justice for the low-income community in New Mexico. “NMLA is uniquely positioned to increase access creatively and effectively to justice for a large low-income community. I want to play an active role in doing just that!” she asserted.
New Mexico Legal Aid celebrates the arrival of Sonya Bellafant as the organization’s new leader. With her wealth of experience, passion for justice, and dedication to empowering marginalized communities, Bellafant is poised to drive NMLA’s mission forward and ensure that justice is accessible to all.