Modrall Sperling Law Firm

Michelle Hernandez is a member of the firm’s Litigation Department and has more than 20 years of extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation including: products liability, professional liability, asbestos litigation, construction defect, and insurance coverage. She has represented clients in state and federal courts in New Mexico. She also works on appellate matters. Significantly, she was a member of the appellate team that successfully overturned a $53 million nursing home verdict, which at the time had been New Mexico’s largest personal injury verdict.

Michelle has also represented clients in a broad range of commercial matters, including real estate and contract disputes as well as will contests. She has also represented public entities such as law enforcement agencies and public schools in a variety of matters including employment matters and personal injury claims.

She has represented healthcare providers including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, nurses and physicians in both litigation and regulatory and compliance, licensing and regulation, and Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement matters. She has also provided advice on administrative matters.

Michelle also has experience in government relations, lobbying for economic development legislation at both the State and County level. She also has experience in state and local procurement and in drafting and reviewing procurement contracts. In addition, Michelle has provided advice to individual clients on business formation and contract liability issues.

Her vast experience and counsel has helped clients strategically navigate difficult litigation and complex commercial matters by providing them with early strategic thinking and efficient litigation and risk management advice.

Michelle has achieved an AV® rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating for professional ethics and legal ability by her peers and has been included in the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers since 2014. She is among those listed in Southwest Super Lawyers®.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she has family throughout Northern New Mexico. Prior to joining Modrall Sperling, Michelle served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Joseph F. Baca, Senior Justice for the New Mexico Supreme Court. Michelle serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Technology Committee. She is also currently on the Board of Directors for the National Institute of Flamenco.


University of California at Los Angeles, J.D., 1997, Awarded Pioneering Women in the Law Scholarship, 1995

University of New Mexico, B.A. in Political Science, magna cum laude, 1993, Phi Beta Kappa

Bar Admissions

New Mexico 1997

U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico 2000

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit 1999

Representative Cases

  • Successful appeal for nursing home, the New Mexico Court of Appeals overturned what had been New Mexico’s largest personal injury verdict of $53.2 Million ($3.2 in compensatory, and $50 Million in punitive) in a case involving a woman who died in a nursing home. The Court of Appeals decision was appealed to the Supreme Court and the case settled after the Court granted a writ of certiorari. Member of the Modrall Sperling defense team representing ManorCare. See Keith v. ManorCare, Inc., 147 N.M. 452, 224 P.3d 1257, (2009).
  • Joe Stanco v. Desert Sunset Management, L.L.C., et al., NMCA No. 32,269
  • Fritzsche v. Albuquerque Municipal School Dist., 194 F.Supp. 1194 (D. N.M. 2002)
  • Santa Fe Techs. v. Argus Networks, 131 N.M. 772, 42 P.3d 1221 (Ct. App. 2001)
  • Anita Jean Rudolph, et al. v. Manor Estates Inc., et al., NMCA No. 33,195
  • BUKE, LLC v. Cross Country Auto Sales, LLC, et al., 2014-NMCA-078; 331 P.3d 942; 2014 N.M. App. LEXIS 41

Representative Clients

  • Genuine Parts Company
  • WW Healthcare
  • ManorCare
  • Sunrise Senior Living

Professional Activities

  • University of New Mexico Health Sciences CEO Search Committee, 2017
  • Albuquerque Mayoral Debate Panelist, 2017
  • National Institute of Flamenco, Board of Directors, 2016-present
  • Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors, 2013-present; Vice Chair, Executive Committee, 2016-present; Chair Elect, 2016-2017; Chair, 2017-2018
  • State Bar of New Mexico, 1997-present; Committee on Women and the Legal Profession, 2013-present; Co-Chair 2014
  • New Mexico Commission on Professionalism, Executive Committee, 2012-present
  • Member, New Mexico Supreme Court Committee on the Rules of Civil Procedure, 2011-present
  • American Bar Association, Member, Minority Trial Lawyer Committee, 2009-present
  • New Mexico Defense Lawyers Association, President, 2012; Board of Directors, 2007-2012
  • New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, Member, 2007-2011; Board of Directors, 2009-2011; Vice-Chair, Legal Reform Committee, 2011; Chair, Legal Reform Committee, 2010
  • Hispanic National Bar Association, Member, 1997-present; Regional President, 2015-present; Deputy Regional Vice-President, 2008-2009, 2014-present; Annual Convention Steering Committee and CLE Coordinator, 2009
  • International Association of Defense Counsel, Member (IADC ), 2005-present; National Membership Committee, 2011-present; Diversity Committee’s Co-Vice Chair for Diverse Member Involvement, 2014-present; Committee Chair of the IADC Southwest Regional Committee, 2017
  • New Mexico Bar Association, 1997-present
  • Leadership Albuquerque, Member, 2004-2005
  • University of New Mexico Alumni Association, Awards Committee, 2003-present
  • H. Vearle Payne American Inns of Court, 2000-2003
  • International Women’s Forum


Firm Committees

  • Co-Chair, Technology Committee, 2018-present; Chair, 2015-2017
  • Chair, Healthcare Industry Group, 2007-2012
  • Billing Committee, 2014-present


  • Bizwomen Mentoring Monday, sponsored by Albuquerque Business First, mentor providing one-on-one coaching sessions, April 3, 2017
  • Empower: A Symposium Presented by the Junior League of Albuquerque, presentation on Diversity, APS Boardroom, Albuquerque, NM, March 18, 2017
  • Developing Political Savvy: Hard Work and Talent Are Not Enough, New Mexico Women in Leadership Symposium “Secure Your Place at the Table,” October 27, 2016, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Panelist, #LawMom Luncheon, Committee on Women and the Legal Profession, October 19, 2016, Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Litigation Risk, New Mexico Healthcare Association, 2011 Leadership Symposium
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers, 2014
  • Southwest Super Lawyers® (derived from a lawyer survey), 2014-present
  • Albuquerque Business First, Woman of Influence, 2014
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated
  • New Mexico Business Weekly, 40 Under Forty, 2011
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2010-present
  • Senior Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America, 2007-present
  • Who’s Who in American Law, 2007
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