The University of New Mexico School of Law made a significant move up the annual US News and World Report national rankings in Environmental Law, coming in at No. 33 (tied with three other law schools at that rank, including the University of Arizona). UNM rose dramatically in the rankings, having been No. 50 the year before, climbing the most spots of any school in the top 33.

“UNM Law has a long tradition of excellence in this field, and we continue to build our program in Natural Resources and Environmental Law (NREL),” said NREL Program Director Reed Benson. “Our new US News ranking shows that we are increasingly being recognized as a leading school for environmental law.”

Environmental law students
Students gain hands on experience representing clients through UNM's Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic. Recent clinic students are pictured with Professors Gabe Pacyniak (far left), Jeannette Wolfley (second from right) and Cliff Villa (far right). 

New Mexico also earned an A+ in preLaw magazine’s 2021 environmental law ratings, one of only 16 schools nationally to receive that grade. It is UNM’s second straight A+ from preLaw, which bases its grades on the offerings and opportunities that law schools make available to students.

UNM offers a range of courses in environmental and natural resources law, and graduating students may earn the NREL Certificate. Students may also serve as editors of the Natural Resources Journal, now in its 60th year of publication; work for the Utton Transboundary Resources Center; and gain experience handling real-life legal and policy issues in the school’s NREL Clinic.

UNM also helps students connect with the people most involved in environmental matters in New Mexico, including attorneys and other experts on the front lines of these issues. For example, externships are available year-round with government agencies and nonprofit organizations with New Mexico offices. Field trips help students get to know the places and people affected by environmental problems, and hear firsthand from community members.

“We offer students great opportunities in environmental law outside the classroom,” said Benson. “And in the classroom they can learn from recognized experts with years of experience in fields ranging from environmental justice, to water law, to climate change.”

For more information visit Natural Resources and Environmental Law or email Professor Reed D. Benson,