Legal Industry

Attorney Spotlight | Q&A with Susan Barela

Susan Barela is an accomplished attorney with a wealth of experience ranging from serving as an intern to both district and appellate state judges, to representing clients in complex interstate environmental litigation before the United States Supreme Court. She has served as an Assistant District Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and has represented clients in commercial litigation. Ms. Barela left state government to return to private practice in her current position with Robles, Rael & Anaya, P.C.

In September 2013, Ms. Barela was admitted to the State Bar of New Mexico. Ms. Barela’s education includes a Bachelor of Science (cum laude) in Dental Hygiene from the University of New Mexico and a Juris Doctor from the University of New Mexico School of Law. Ms. Barela is certified to practice before the State Bar of New Mexico, United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, and the United States Supreme Court. Ms. Barela is professionally associated with the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association, the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association, and the Albuquerque Bar Association.

While in law school Ms. Barela served on the New Mexico Natural Resources Journal and served as Vice-President of the Student Bar Association. As a 3L, Ms. Barela was recognized by the Mexican American Law Student Association with the Outstanding 3L Award.

Immediately after being admitted to the State Bar of New Mexico, and prior to diving into her legal career, Ms. Barela moved to Dublin, Ireland with her husband and children for 18 months for an experience of a lifetime.

Susan is especially proud to have served in the U.S. Army with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers where she was awarded with the Army Commendation Medal and Army Service Ribbon. Susan makes her home in Albuquerque, NM with husband, Marcos, their two children, Tyson and Julianna, and their Weimaraner, Gunnar.

Q&A with Susan Barela

Q: How has your experience serving in the U.S. Army helped you succeed in your current profession as an attorney?

A: The work ethic that was instilled in me during my time in service is what I carry with me to this day. You show up to work, do your job, and have pride in your workmanship. You wake up early and stay late if that means getting the job done.

Q: What inspired you to move to Dublin, Ireland? How was the experience?

A: My husband, Marcos, was invited to go work for Intel Ireland and we jumped at the opportunity. Exposing our children to multiple countries, languages, different cultures, architecture and cuisine was an invaluable experience too good to pass up and now our kids have been to over 25 different countries that have given us memories of a lifetime.

Q: When did you first know you wanted to join the legal field? What drew you to this career?

A: This seed was planted long ago by my mother — she always wanted one of her children to be a doctor and an attorney. My sister became the doctor and I became the attorney. Sadly, when I was preparing for the LSAT, my mother passed away six months before my acceptance to law school. I know she would be so proud and I carry her strength and knowledge with me every day.

Q: To date, what has been your greatest professional success?

A: One of the cases that I am currently on working on is an original action before the United States Supreme Court. For me to be certified to practice before the Supreme Court is something I do not take lightly. For me it is an honor and a privilege to be here.

Q: What is your favorite way to spend the weekend?

A: With my family. Regardless of what we’re doing, spending time with my husband and children is my absolute favorite thing in the world.

Q: Having served yourself, what do you appreciate most about our military?

A: I truly feel that our service men and women are unsung heroes. On the daily, they are leaving their families to protect ours. Their countless selfless acts of courage for the most part go unnoticed and yet they show up to work every single day. For that I will always be grateful to my brothers and sisters in service.

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