December 6, 2017
– Tamara Williams
Ten UNM Law School students volunteered to provide assistance to the Second Judicial District Children’s Court on National Adoption Day, a collective national effort to raise awareness of the more than 110,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families.
The law school volunteers are Class of 2018 students Deian McBride and Jessica Perez, Taylor Bui (Class of 2019), and Class of 2020 students Alexandra Cervantes, Kendall Barnett, Laureana Jiron, Sara Snyder, Lindsey Bundrant, Haley Tucker, and Joshua Lilley.
For the Second Judicial District Children’s Court, National Adoption Day has been a long and festive tradition. Three courtrooms are kept busy with visiting judges, family portraits, refreshments, happy families, children and friends. Twenty to thirty cases are finalized that day, just in time for the holidays.
This year’s event took place on Saturday, November 18. Ella Joan Fenoglio (Class of 1980), who coordinated the UNM Law School volunteers, called it a “huge success.”
“This wasn’t a typical court experience to have children and popcorn all over the courthouse!” said Fenoglio. “But the law students had the opportunity to watch the courtroom proceedings, to see the different styles of judges and lawyers, and to work with the families.”
Welcoming Speeches and introductions began approximately at 9:00 a.m. and at 9:30 a.m., the cases began to be called one at a time in each courtroom. The adoption lawyers took care of getting their clients to the courtroom, and the law school students helped round up the next group once one family goes in.
For each case, the students took the Final Decree signed by the judge to the Clerk’s office, along with copies, got them filed and obtained 3 certified copies, and returned all of the paperwork back to the courtroom while the family was still taking pictures.
Students were able to circulate between cases to other courtrooms to get a taste of different lawyer and judge styles.
“The ten UNM Law School students were extraordinary,” said Fenoglio. “Many of us do this every year and I received several comments about how focused, effective and committed this year’s group was! My experience was that individually and as a group, they ‘owned’ the event. The students were always there, to be of assistance to the lawyers, the court staff and the families.”