My Future Volume 1: Meagan Muñoz, Attorney at Law

By Valeria Ramirez

Sitting in the dark contemporary style coffee shop, Meagan Muñoz eagerly began describing to me her long journey towards becoming an attorney, all while the harmonious melody of Burl Ives “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” played in the background. The native New Mexican recalled her early days in Hobbs, New Mexico where she was born and raised, before eventually moving to the larger scale city of Albuquerque, New Mexico where she currently resides as a practicing education attorney at Ortiz & Zamora law firm. Even though she is currently a dedicated and successful woman in her field, it was never the plan for her to become a lawyer. 

Shortly after graduating high school, Muñoz began attending the New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, New Mexico, while still living at home, per her parents wishes. A wish she is still so immensely grateful for to this day, as she stated, “it saved me so much money and I still got my degree.” So after she received her associates degree, the young college student moved over four hours away from home to the UNM campus, where she would go on to complete her Bachelors in Psychology. Only by continuing her education, Muñoz decided to get what she believed would be her last degree, a Masters degree from New Mexico Highlands University. 

So, after many long years of school, Muñoz landed her first job as a teacher. As we talked, she reminisced with me on the excitement she felt as a new teacher, explaining how her favorite part of the job was always her students, and she was very passionate about her role. So caring in fact of her students that she coached various middle school sports teams including volleyball, basketball, and track. Unfortunately, many aspects of the education system, and the administration of schools influenced her decision to resign from her job. 

Although she still had a love for students and education, Muñoz was left needing a new career to pursue.  So naturally she decided to pursue law school, which Muñoz said was nothing like the movies and instead was filled with late nights, never ending stress, and utter frustration. She studied hard for the LSAT, a crucial test for law school admissions, and applied to law school, which was a process similar to that of undergraduate admissions. She was thrilled to have received admission to the UNM School of Law, but quickly realized that the challenges had only begun. Over the next three years Meagan would learn law after law, and how to “think like a lawyer.” Even when she finished law school, Muñoz was still not done! Quite the opposite in fact as she would have to go on to take the “Bar exam,” which is a national exam that all lawyers must take in order to become licensed, practicing attorneys. This was one more hurdle for Meagan , and she successfully overcame it.

Now, Muñoz is an associate attorney at Ortiz & Zamora and works daily with legal mishaps pertaining to education. Dealing with various school district affairs, student-teacher conflicts, and even student to student conflicts. She has found that her previous career as an educator immensely aids her in the work she does now and the people she represents, especially with the other educators she interacts with. Her background as a teacher has provided her with the ability to relate more deeply with her clients. Muñoz didn’t stop there! She is also set to finish a graduate degree in educational leadership as a Ben Lujan Leadership and Public Policy Fellow over the next few years. Her new career pathway goal is “to merge my background in child development, education, and policy to better support New Mexico’s most vulnerable students.”

Muñoz encourages all students to continue pursuing their areas of interest, and education. And hopes that students realize you can always keep learning as she did, also stating, “it’s never too late to try something new.” Muñoz even encourages students interested in law to reach out to local attorneys with questions, because you never know what opportunities will come your way.