Practice Areas


Sommer Karnes & Associates, LLP, focuses its practice in areas related to real estate and land use matters, and we handle a variety of other legal matters for our clients – including domestic relations, divorce, and family law. We are available to assist in any of the following areas:

In this practice, we help clients identify the most desirable organizational form, and provide assistance with entity formation and corporate governance issues for corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies and sole proprietorships. We assist clients in dealing with complex employer and employee relationship issues. They also review and assist with trademarks, trade names, licensing, buy and sell agreements, and business contracts of various nature.

We also organize non-profit corporations for those clients desiring to operate in a non-profit arena. We assist in the preparation of obtaining tax exempt status for those clients seeking IRC §501(c)(3) exempt status. We assist with non-profit governance issues as well for existing non-profit corporations.

Our lawyers can help you with: Disability Benefits, FMLA and ERISA, Employee Defense and Workplace Investigations, Employer Interference, Fraud and Misrepresentation, Neutral Third Party Investigations, Personnel Records Correction, Retaliatory Discharge and Whistleblower Protection, Unpaid Wages, Earned Bonuses and other Compensation, Workplace Defamation, Libel, Slander and Invasion of Privacy, Wrongful Termination/Discharge.

The area of law that deals with insurance and insurance carriers. Insurance is coverage by contract whereby for an agreed payment of a premium one party agrees to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or loss.

The attorneys in this area of practice representation focus on protecting, supporting, and vindicating the business, transactional, and personal interests of our clients. They are experienced in litigating both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ claims in New Mexico’s state and federal courts – at the trial court level and appellate court level. The practice tends to focus on commercial and real estate disputes, as well as the resolution of conflicts involving wills, estates, and trusts. We represent institutional and private clients in residential and commercial foreclosures and lender liability claims, and often represent property owners, developers, and contractors in construction cases. In addition, the firm frequently litigates employment, domestic relations, and tort claims.The attorneys in this area of practice representation focus on protecting, supporting, and vindicating the business, transactional, and personal interests of our clients. They are experienced in litigating both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ claims in New Mexico’s state and federal courts – at the trial court level and appellate court level. The practice tends to focus on commercial and real estate disputes, as well as the resolution of conflicts involving wills, estates, and trusts. We represent institutional and private clients in residential and commercial foreclosures and lender liability claims, and often represent property owners, developers, and contractors in construction cases. In addition, the firm frequently litigates employment, domestic relations, and tort claims.

Sommer Karnes has a great deal of experience in the law related to the comprehensive NM Tax Code. The Code mandates a strict administrative process for these cases, including many deadlines, procedures and specialized rules not found in other areas of litigation.


Administrative Law

Administrative Law deals with the law governing the organization and operation of administrative agencies – at the local, state or federal level. Typically, the practice of Administrative Law focuses on disputes over agency rulemaking or actions taken by an agency.

Arbitration

Arbitration is one of the two most common methods of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), with Mediation being the other. The Arbitrator essentially is a hired decision-maker or one of three hired professionals retained to decide a dispute between parties. Arbitration is the process by which an experienced legal professional hears a dispute and decides the dispute based upon the information provided and the legal arguments made by the parties.

Business Law

In this practice, we help clients identify the most desirable organizational form, and provide assistance with entity formation and corporate governance issues for corporations, general partnerships, limited partnerships and limited liability companies and sole proprietorships. We assist clients in dealing with complex employer and employee relationship issues. They also review and assist with trademarks, trade names, licensing, buy and sell agreements, and business contracts of various nature.

We also organize non-profit corporations for those clients desiring to operate in a non-profit arena. We assist in the preparation of obtaining tax exempt status for those clients seeking IRC §501(c)(3) exempt status. We assist with non-profit governance issues as well for existing non-profit corporations.

Commercial Law

The attorneys in this area of law handle laws that govern the broad areas of business, commerce, contracts, commercial agreements, and consumer transactions. Commercial law regulates corporate contracts, hiring practices, and the manufacturing and sales of consumer goods.

Construction Law

The area of law that deals with all legal issues relating to the construction process from land acquisition and project financing to post-construction claims, settlement, and lien foreclosures.

Domestic Relations, Divorce and Family Law

Our lawyers can help you with: Disability Benefits, FMLA and ERISA, Employee Defense and Workplace Investigations, Employer Interference, Fraud and Misrepresentation, Neutral Third Party Investigations, Personnel Records Correction, Retaliatory Discharge and Whistleblower Protection, Unpaid Wages, Earned Bonuses and other Compensation, Workplace Defamation, Libel, Slander and Invasion of Privacy, Wrongful Termination/Discharge.

Entity Law

This area of law that deals with any association, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, trust, or individual that has legal standing in the eyes of law.

General Civil Practice

General civil law may cover contract formation, civil disputes, general commercial litigation, and general business advice related to transactions.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

The area of law that deals with insurance and insurance carriers. Insurance is coverage by contract whereby for an agreed payment of a premium one party agrees to indemnify or guarantee another against loss by a specified contingency or loss.

Land Use and Development

We assist property owners with the complex array of development and zoning issues in both the residential and commercial area. We assist clients understanding the nature of the applicable zoning and subdivision regulations, as well as state regulations, that affect the use, development and redevelopment of real property. The scope can be from simple permits to build an accessory structure to extensive commercial and residential developments – and everything in between. We have worked in a wide variety of cities and counties in New Mexico helping people handle land use matters.

Landlord Tenant

This area of the law involves the issues that arise between landlords and tenants in both commercial and residential settings. We assist clients with the negotiation of leases, resolution of lease disputes and, when necessary, the representation in the courts in those disputes.

Litigation and Appellate Practice

The attorneys in this area of practice representation focus on protecting, supporting, and vindicating the business, transactional, and personal interests of our clients. They are experienced in litigating both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ claims in New Mexico’s state and federal courts – at the trial court level and appellate court level. The practice tends to focus on commercial and real estate disputes, as well as the resolution of conflicts involving wills, estates, and trusts. We represent institutional and private clients in residential and commercial foreclosures and lender liability claims, and often represent property owners, developers, and contractors in construction cases. In addition, the firm frequently litigates employment, domestic relations, and tort claims.The attorneys in this area of practice representation focus on protecting, supporting, and vindicating the business, transactional, and personal interests of our clients. They are experienced in litigating both plaintiffs’ and defendants’ claims in New Mexico’s state and federal courts – at the trial court level and appellate court level. The practice tends to focus on commercial and real estate disputes, as well as the resolution of conflicts involving wills, estates, and trusts. We represent institutional and private clients in residential and commercial foreclosures and lender liability claims, and often represent property owners, developers, and contractors in construction cases. In addition, the firm frequently litigates employment, domestic relations, and tort claims.

Mediation

We assist litigants in resolving a wide range of disputes. Karl Sommer and Denise Thomas have acted as mediators on dozens of occasions, and has participated on behalf of clients in dozens of cases. We bring to the process of alternative dispute resolution the insight and judgment they have gained through their decades-long work as skilled trial attorneys. We know well the courts and jury demographics of New Mexico.

Probate

The attorneys practicing in the probate group help interested heirs and beneficiaries to transfer assets out of the name of the deceased person into the names of the heirs, beneficiaries or trusts as directed by a Will or Trust of the deceased person, or, if none, then, as provided by law. Will and trust contests typically occur during a probate of a will or during the administration of an estate. We assist our clients by defending such actions or by filing actions when the facts and circumstances warrant challenging a will or trust because of undue influence or incapacity reasons. In many instances, the group assists out-of-state counsel with assets located in New Mexico owned by the estates of persons who died out-of-state. These are commonly called “ancillary proceedings”. We are experienced in dealing with charges of fraud and undue influence as well as poor management or administration among family members, co-personal representatives, trustees or co-trustees, or others which often result in litigation.

Property Tax

Sommer Karnes has a great deal of experience in the law related to the comprehensive NM Tax Code. The Code mandates a strict administrative process for these cases, including many deadlines, procedures and specialized rules not found in other areas of litigation.

Real Estate Law and Litigation

The term “real estate” generally refers to ownership or use of land. Real estate law is a branch of civil law that covers the right to possess, use, and enjoy land and the permanent man-made additions attached to it. Real Estate Law directly or indirectly impacts most of us on a daily basis, affecting homeowners, renters, landlords, buyers, and sellers.

We have a great deal of experience in high-end residential and commercial real estate and financing transactions including working with the Office of the State Engineer; private and government rights and reservations; Native American pueblo, Spanish and Mexico land grants and patents. We handle property issues in the formation and creation of condominiums – both residential and commercial. We assist clients with the legal issues raised in the title matters, acquisition, financing and development of all types of real estate.

We also have extensive experience in real estate litigation. We have helped many clients pursue and resolve their property rights through the courts – whether they be in quiet titles suits, covenant and condominium disputes, trespass and encroachments, foreclosures, or boundary and easement disputes.

Wills, Trusts and Powers of Attorney

This area of the law involves the protection our client’s health and property while the clients are alive while helping to prepare a road-map for distribution of property upon death. Sensitive family relationships are given special attention. The firm prepares wills, trusts and powers of attorney for widows or widowers, single persons, married couples, gay or lesbian partners and even pets. We do not provide tax advice, but we work with the appropriate professionals to ensure that the plans avoid any undesirable tax consequences and take advantage of the benefits under the tax laws that might be available.