The Village’s contract with its current law firm has been renewed. Only one firm, New Mexico Local Government Law, headed by Randy Autio, sought the contract. It was approved by the Village Council at its January 12 session.
Under terms of the contract, the Village is to pay no more than $140,000 (plus gross receipts taxes) over the coming year. The hourly rate will be $180 for the firm’s senior attorney, and $140 for a junior attorney’s time. Work by a paralegal will be billed at $75 an hour.
According to the contract, the firm will represent Village government in legal matters, will offer legal advice and help prepare ordinances, resolutions and other documents as requested. As usual, under some circumstances, the mayor may contract for other legal representation for specialized attention, such as municipal bonds.
Autio earned a bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from the University of New Mexico in 1982 and then a law degree from UNM Law School in 1986. He was an attorney for the City of Albuquerque before he opened his own practice. When Mayor Jo Anne Roake, an attorney herself, took over the administration after her election in March 2018, she ended the Village Attorney contract with Coppler Law Firm of Santa Fe awarding the contract instead to the Cuddy and McCarthy firm, based in Albuquerque.
The contract with Cuddy and McCarthy was approved at the August 8, 2018 council meeting. Under the contract, the firm was to be paid at a rate of $205 per hour when the work was done by one of the partners. For tasks handled by legal assistants, the rate was $65 an hour; a senior law associate’s rate was $170 an hour, and a paralegal’s work was charged at $75. For years, the Coppler firm’s John Appel customarily attended all Village Council meetings. When Cuddy and McCarthy took over, it sent partner Charles Garcia to meetings here.