The best way to determine whether my services are a good fit for your case or project is to request an appointment so we can confer confidentially via telephone or face to face. In order to save us both time, this page lists some information you may want to review before calling to make an appointment. I also try to explain on this page why there are some questions I cannot answer without knowing more about you and your case. The information on my website is not intended to serve as legal advice regarding a specific matter and does not substitute for conferring directly with an attorney. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction even if you do not choose me.
I operate a virtual law practice where my clients can send and receive materials for their case or project through the client portal linked to this website whenever it is convenient for them. My physical base of operations is in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I keep regular weekday business hours for appointments. I can easily travel to locations in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe metropolitan areas for court hearings and face-to-face meetings. On an as-needed basis, I can also travel longer distances and schedule appointments outside of regular business hours.
Yes. Published opinions in cases in which I was counsel of record are freely available online using the search engines on the official court websites listed below. A simple query using “Arne” as a search term will usually be enough to identify several past cases. I can also provide writing samples and professional references to you upon request. Out of respect for my clients’ privacy and my duty of confidentiality, I do not publicly post specific examples of the work I have done for past clients, other attorneys, or judges on this website.
I do not have a standard fee that applies in all cases. Instead, my fees are tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each case or project. If I am able to take your case, my fees will be spelled out in a written fee agreement that we negotiate and sign, as well as periodic invoices that follow. I generally charge an hourly rate that is commensurate with the rates charged by other attorneys with similar credentials doing similar types of work in New Mexico. In some instances, I can offer a discounted rate or work within a specific budget set by a client. Alternative arrangements such as a flat fee or a fee that is contingent on the outcome of the case may be possible in certain circumstances where permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct.
Yes. The limits on my practice are bounded by two main principles. First, I can only practice in jurisdictions where I am licensed: New Mexico state courts, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and certain administrative tribunals in New Mexico. Within these courts and tribunals, I can work on a wide variety of cases, including wrongful death, serious personal injury, medical malpractice, other torts, civil rights, other statutory causes of action, constitutional law, regulatory matters, and criminal defense.
There are, however, some specialized courts and tribunals in which I do not practice. These include bankruptcy courts, immigration courts, and tax courts.
A second limitation on my practice is that I cannot take cases in which I would have a non-waivable conflict of interest. That means we need to do a conflict check in order to determine whether I can take your case. Please request an appointment so we can determine if my services are a good fit for the case or project you have in mind. Information shared with me during the appointment remains confidential even if I do not take your case or you choose another attorney.
Yes. When lawyers from different firms team up to represent the same client, they should consult with each other and the client about the scope of their respective representations and the allocation of responsibility among them. The circumstances in which it is appropriate for a law firm to associate or consult with another lawyer outside the firm are addressed in New Mexico’s Rules of Professional Conduct. For example, Rule 16-101 NMRA imposes a duty of competence. Competent representation is defined as “the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” Where a lawyer or law firm needs additional resources to meet this requirement in a particular area, competent representation may be provided by associating or consulting with another lawyer of established competence in that area if it is feasible to do so. Rule 16-105 NMRA addresses the division of fees between lawyers from different firms to facilitate both lawyers’ work on a case in which neither alone could serve the client as well. Additional considerations may apply depending on the facts and circumstances of each case or project, as well as the local rules of procedure for each jurisdiction.
No. I have neither applied for nor obtained certification as a specialist in any particular field of law. But it is not necessary to be certified as a specialist in order to practice in the jurisdictions where I am licensed. I am familiar with legal specialization programs because I chaired New Mexico’s Board of Legal Specialization when it operated as a court-regulated program several years ago. That program was discontinued at the end of 2017. The State Bar of New Mexico plans to start a new program for certifying lawyers as specialists in the Fall of 2020, but it will not be a continuation of the previous court-regulated program.
When evaluating an organization that claims to certify or rate attorneys in particular practice areas, I suggest you consider the following factors:
Because of privacy and security concerns, I do not post information about myself, my clients, or my employers on popular social media sites. I cannot vouch for the veracity or reliability of what others post there. Apart from this website, the most useful places to find information about me and my past cases on the internet are in the public records available through authorized court websites.
“Arne” is a Norwegian name. English speakers usually pronounce it as one syllable, ignoring the “e” on the end. This name was given to me by my mother. The Nazis invaded her hometown in Norway when she was a child. When she grew up, she married an American soldier stationed in Europe during the Cold War. They later moved to the United States, where I was born. “Leonard” is my last name, not my first name. My father’s branch of the Leonard family has been traced back to ironworkers who emigrated to the New England colonies from England and Wales in the Seventeenth Century. They brought with them a new technology for making iron from iron ore that their predecessors developed in France and Belgium in the Fifteenth Century. Their surname was likely derived from Saint Leonard de Noblac, a Sixth Century forest hermit whose church in southern France was a popular pilgrimage site during medieval times. Saint Leonard is often depicted freeing people from iron bars or chains, because he is a patron saint of prisoners.