The practice of law is a second career for Pam. After many years as a registered nurse she received her J.D. from the Oklahoma City University School of Law (2004) and an LL.M. in American Indian and Indigenous Law from the University of Tulsa College of Law (2005). She has worked in the areas of Indian law and health care law during her years at John D. Wheeler & Associates.
Pam worked in Indian Country for many years, first as an R.N. for the Indian Health Service, then for several tribes during law school and later for the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma. As part of her work with the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Pam argued cases on the issue of sovereign immunity, including a case successfully argued before the New Mexico Court of Appeals, Antonio v. Inn of the Mountain Gods, 148 NM 858, 242 P.3d 452, cert denied. In connection with her work in Indian Country, Pam was appointed to the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Domestic Violence Working Group which wrote the Standards of Practice for Lawyers Representing victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking in Civil Protection Order Cases. She was one of three appointees in the country asked to represent the interests of Indian victims. The standards were adopted by the ABA at its August, 2007 Annual Meeting.
In 2011, Pam returned to health care and represents her client primarily in the area of risk management and behavioral health. Her courtroom work has included guardianships for dementia patients, treatment guardianships and commitments for the mentally ill. She worked with our district judges to establish Otero County’s first mental health court. The mental health court is on site at Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in the Behavioral Medicine Department, and it enables patients to remain in a more appropriate, and safer, environment when facing legal proceedings. Pam also brought together a diverse group of community advocates who are working to implement the Assisted Outpatient Treatment Act in Otero County. This includes establishing housing and other wrap-around services for the mentally ill.
Pam is a proud mother of two sons and enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren.