Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

AG Attorney Not Licensed in N.M.

Byline: Ian Hoffman Journal Staff Writer

One of New Mexico government's highest-ranking attorneys hasn't taken the state bar exam nor been licensed to practice law here, despite working more than 1 1/2 years for the Attorney General's Office an enforcer of state law prohibiting the unlicensed practice of law.

In that time, state consumer-protection chief Robert E. Reyna has handled more than two dozen cases on behalf of New Mexico consumers, negotiating settlements and signing legal papers, according to documents obtained by the Albuquerque Journal.

Reyna's bosses at the state Attorney General's Office say he doesn't really need a New Mexico law license, nor in fact does any state government lawyer.

They now are subjects of an investigation by the Disciplinary Board of the New Mexico Supreme Court. The board's investigatory letters say it is looking into allegations that Reyna's superiors assisted him in practicing law without a license.

"This is not only a problem for the individual but for the whole office," said Elizabeth Rapaport, a law professor at the University of New Mexico who teaches legal ethics.

"The attorney general is responsible for enforcing all the laws, not just the sensible ones. …

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