Modrall Sperling Law Firm

“Modrall is the law firm of choice for New Mexico law matters.”

“Modrall Sperling attorneys are extremely hard-working, compassionate, knowledgeable, and very easy to contact anytime. They are simply the best.”

The client comments above appear on the U.S. News & Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” website at We thank our clients for telling our story. Their words convey the relationships we have built in New Mexico and across the nation. Modrall Sperling is deeply grateful for the trust placed in our lawyers for the past 80+ years.

Modrall Sperling is the counsel of choice for complex business, litigation and natural resources challenges anywhere in New Mexico. In many specialty areas of practice, we are retained to work on issues throughout the Southwest and across the nation.

To solve their key challenges, clients rely on our depth of experience of our legal teams, which are built across a wide range of practice areas. We offer well-developed legal niches involving schools, railroads, banks, mining, oil and gas development companies, Native American and public lands, energy and utilities companies, healthcare providers, and Native American law, among others.

Knowing our clients’ business – together with the regulatory and competitive environments in which they operate – enables us to spot developments that may affect them so that together we can take action.

Clients hire Modrall Sperling for our experience. They keep us for our counsel.

Legal Leadership

Many Modrall Sperling practitioners have held and continue to hold key positions in the community and the legal profession. Within the firm’s current ranks are a former president of the American Bar Association, the current President of the American Law Institute, and a former U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico.

The firm has received top rankings from Chambers USA, recommended as a leading litigation firm by Benchmark Litigation, and ranked in 40 practice areas in Albuquerque and Santa Fe in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” rankings by U.S. News &World Report and Best Lawyers® in the annual law firm survey. In addition, many of the firm’s lawyers are individually recognized in Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers in America® and Southwest Super Lawyers®.

Our History

Judge John F. Simms, a former New Mexico Supreme Court justice and highly respected lawyer, met James R. Modrall across a Gallup courtroom in 1936. Though opposing counsel, Simms was so impressed with the cowboy-turned-lawyer Modrall, he invited him to become a partner in his law firm. Their common bond was a desire to provide the highest quality in legal services while maintaining a standard of impeccable integrity.

From the beginning, the firm that is now Modrall Sperling earned the trust of fellow lawyers and our clients. In fact, today we serve the third and fourth generations of some of those original clients.

The original partners’ focus on business and property broadened in the 1950s to incorporate oil and gas, a practice that is now a leader in water, natural resources, public lands and renewable energy law throughout the western U.S. Today, one of our shareholders has been recognized as a Fellow in the American College of Environmental Attorneys.

It wasn’t long before Modrall Sperling parlayed its decades-long experience of providing counsel to a leading New Mexico bank to become the preferred firm for complex matters involving banking, lending, real estate and public finance. In keeping with other practice areas, our public finance and real estate attorneys are nationally ranked; one is a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers.

Acquiring a tax firm generated significant growth in business law. Today’s practice heralds nationally ranked lawyers in taxation, employment and ERISA/healthcare transactions, and litigation. Before joining Modrall Sperling, one of our current shareholders worked with the Chief Counsel’s Office of the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C. Two shareholders are Fellows of the American College of Trusts and Estate Counsel; one is a Charter Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel.

Over the last 50 years, the firm has built a vibrant Native American law practice. National in scope, our lawyers have represented clients in matters involving 40 tribes in nearly two dozen states. In fact, three of these attorneys, Lynn H. Slade, Walter E. Stern, and Brian K. Nichols, are nationally ranked in Indian law by Chambers USA.

Today, the lawyers of Modrall Sperling continue to bring rich and diverse perspectives and experiences to the table, supplemented by our founders’ collaborative spirit. And, just as was the case more than 80 years ago, when the most complex, most important cases affect the American Southwest, clients still call on Modrall Sperling.

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Employment Law
Native American Law
Natural Resources and Energy Law
Water Law