MEGAN DAY HILL
CIVEROLO GRALOW HILL &
20 First Plaza Northwest
PO Box 887
Albuquerque, NM 87103
PERSONAL INJURY DEFENSE: GENERAL
Ms. Hill is an insurance defense attorney. She specializes
in trucking, crane, and heavy transportation defense. She
also handles general personal injury defense and insurance
coverage issues. Ms. Hill holds a Class A license with hazardous
materials, tanker, combination, and passenger endorsements.
She previously served as a law clerk for the honorable C. Leroy
Hansen. She is a member of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging
Association and the NTSB Bar Association. She was nominated
to The Best Lawyers in America, Transportation Division in 2010.
She is admitted to practice before the New Mexico Supreme
Court (1999); United States District Court for the District of New
Mexico (1999); and the United States Court of Appeals, Tenth
DEREK L. WEEMS
DORATO & WEEMS LAW FIRM
118 Wellesley Drive Southeast
Albuquerque, NM 87106
PERSONAL INJURY PLAINTIFF: GENERAL
Derek Weems is a Board Certified Specialist in Workers’
Compensation Law. Mr. Weems represents injured individuals
throughout the State of New Mexico, protecting their rights
in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims against
insurance companies. He formerly worked for a prominent
insurance defense firm practicing in the defense against
workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Mr. Weems is
a frequent presenter at professional education programs on trial
practice, deposition skills, ethics, and workers’-compensation-related subjects. He also teaches civil procedure courses, trial
practice courses, and mock trial for the University of New Mexico
School of Law.
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Q: What is it about the courtroom
experience that you enjoy?
A: I love juries. I still, after 27 years, get
a little nervous before I go into a trial.
But as soon as I get into jury selection
and opening statements, I feel at home.
I don’t think it’s a perfect system, but I
believe that the jury system is the best
system we’ve been able to come up with
for resolving disputes. So I like preparing
and presenting the best case I possibly
can. Likewise, having quality opponents
on the other side [ensures that things]
work the way they’re supposed to. There
are always surprises, of course. That’s
part of the fun, too.
Q: It sounds like you enjoy the thrill of
having to perform in the spotlight.
A: Only if I’m prepared! I can’t have one
without the other.
Q: How often are you in the courtroom?
A: Not as much anymore. The courts
are just that much more crowded now
… because of financial constraints. In
private practice, the cost of going to
trial has become so significant that it
is in most clients’ best interests to look
into alternative dispute mechanisms like
mediation and settlement facilitation.
Q: Is there any challenge in going from
the competitive arena of the courtroom
to the more collaborative nature of
A: Yes. But it’s very rewarding, and I
think my experience makes me a very
good mediator because if you’ve been in
the courtroom, when you sit down at a
mediation, you can give people a more
realistic assessment of what the process
will be if they don’t resolve it.
Q: How has the legal world changed over
the course of your career?
A: I think that it has become a little
less fun and a little more stressful, in
part because there are real significant
financial pressures on our judicial
system, so it’s more difficult for cases
to get through the system. I don’t mean
that as any type of blame. But it takes a
long time and the cost is escalated. In
the old days, if you had a case, you would
take a couple of depositions, consult
with an expert if you needed to, and then
you’d go try the case. Now that process is
much more expensive; it’s longer and it’s
Q: What would you tell young lawyers
just beginning their careers?
A: Find a good mentor. I believe that our
profession is one of mentorship. You can
learn the information in law school, but to
become a lawyer, to be of real service to
your clients—I think that comes from the
guidance of your mentor. I advise young
attorneys to be curious and take the time
to find out how other lawyers practice.
Look at other lawyers that have the
quality that you want, the integrity, the
skill, the leadership in your area of law.
See who those people are, seek them out
and get the benefit of their guidance.