Modrall Sperling Law Firm

Stan Harris is a shareholder with Modrall Sperling and has twenty years of litigation experience. Stan practices in the areas of public lands, natural resources, and commercial litigation. He has advised clients at the judicial, administrative, and legislative levels on federal, state, and local issues. Stan has extensive experience in the representation of parties in their disputes involving cultural property, public lands, Indian lands, oil and gas industry, environmental infrastructure matters, mining transactions, and air quality issues.

Stan also represents clients in the area of general commercial litigation, including breaches of commercial contracts, foreclosure, personal injury defense, and premises liability.

Further, Stan has represented contractors, subcontractors, and insurers in defective housing litigation, including framing, foundation, grading, and compaction claims, and in lawsuits involving single homes, multiple homes, and subdivisions.

Prior to joining Modrall Sperling, Stan served as Environmental Counsel to United States Senator Pete V. Domenici in Washington, D.C. and as Law Clerk to the Honorable Lynn Pickard, New Mexico Court of Appeals.

Stan is a member of the Natural Resources and Environment practice group. He serves as Chair of the Public Lands group, and is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Stan is recognized by Best Lawyers in America®, having three times been named “Lawyer of the Year” in Albuquerque – in 2024 and 2022 for Natural Resources Law, and in 2020 for Litigation-Land Use and Zoning. Southwest Super Lawyers® recognizes Stan in Energy and Natural Resources.


University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D., 1993, Editor-in-Chief, New Mexico Law Review, 1992-1993; Editor-in-Chief, United States-Mexico Law Journal, 1992-1993

University of Texas at Austin, B.A. in History, 1990

Bar Admissions

New Mexico

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

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

  • Representation of railroads, pipeline companies, and electric transmission facilities in establishing rights-of-way across federal and tribal land
  • Representation of railroads, pipeline companies, and electric transmission companies regarding taxation issues on tribal lands
  • Representation of utilities in air quality matters
  • Representation of property owners in premises liability litigation
  • Representation of contractors and insurers in defective housing litigation
  • Representation of mining company in a challenge to state agency’s designation of over 700 square miles of the State of New Mexico as a traditional cultural property
  • Tribal v. state court jurisdiction, Meyer Engineering v. Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, 996 So 2d 445 (La. S. Ct. 2008), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 1988 (2009).
  • Indispensability of county in action to declare a public road, Percha Creek Mining, LLC v. Fust, 2008-NMCA-100, 144 N.M. 569, 189 P.3d 702
  • Represented a special use permit holder on national forest lands in lengthy alternative dispute resolution proceedings that resulted in an Indian land claim settlement ratified by federal legislation. Pueblo of Sandia land claim, T’uf Shur Bien Preservation Trust Act Legislation (2003)
  • Tribal vs. federal court jurisdiction, Chiwewe v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 239 F. Supp. 2d 1213 (D.N.M. 2002)

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Public Land and Resources Committee, Vice-Chair
  • Modrall Sperling Executive Committee, 2018-present

Public Service

  • Environmental Counsel to U.S. Senator Pete V. Domenici, Washington, D.C.



  • Cultural Resource Permitting:  The Intersection Between NHPA and NEPA, Advanced Public Land Law — The Continuing Challenge of Managing For Multiple Use, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law FoundationSanta Fe, New Mexico, January 27, 2017
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Regulations Governing Rights-of-Way on Indian Lands:  What You Need to Know, IRWA Pipeline Committee, Napa Valley, California, January 18, 2017
  • Taxation Issues in Indian Country, Conference of National Association of Property Tax Representatives, Savannah, Georgia, October 28, 2015
  • Cultural Resources and Historic Preservation Issues, Tribal Energy in the Southwest, Law Seminars International, Sandia Resort and Casino, December 9-10, 2013


  • Cultural Property Law: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Management, Protection and Preservation of Heritage Resources, American Bar Association, (Second Edition), 2017
  • Cultural Property Law: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Management, Protection and Preservation of Heritage Resources, American Bar Association, 2004


  • ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Year in Review, Public Land and Resources Annual Report, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • State and Federal Traditional Cultural Properties: The Designation Process and Consequences for Resource Development, 57 Rocky Mt. Min. L. Inst. 4-1, 2011
  • Best Lawyers® Natural Resources Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Albuquerque, 2022 and 2024
  • Best Lawyers® Litigation-Land Use and Zoning “Lawyer of the Year” in Albuquerque, 2020
  • Best Lawyers in America® in Litigation-Land Use and Zoning, 2018-present
  • Martindale-Hubbell BV® Distinguished Peer Review Rated
  • Southwest Super Lawyers® (derived from a lawyer survey), 2013-present