AND JOHN SALAZAR
What the Rodey,
Akin & Robb
out of his real
AND EDITED BY ROSS PFUND
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIP MALONE
Q: When did you first get interested in
A: When I was very young. My uncle was a
lawyer. Tibo J. Chavez. I admired him very
much. He was also a state senator when I
was young. I saw how he was able to help
people as both a lawyer and as a senator
and I realized the fact that he had a legal
background made him more effective as
a state senator. So I saw the law as being
a path to having a position where I could
make a difference.
Q: Would you consider him your legal
A: Yes. He practiced in [my hometown]
Belen, [N.M.], which was a small town of
8,000 to 10,000 and his law office was not
very far from my home. So I was at his law
office a fair amount growing up. I actually
clerked for him after my first year of law
school. I was always around him and saw
him dealing with the law.
Q: So you followed in his footsteps.
A: Yes, I did.
Q: Have you ever considered running for
A: No, and in a way that’s ironic because it’s
his public service that impressed me. Public
service does interest me, but I’ve always had
a busy practice so it’s been difficult to take
the plunge into politics because it takes
time. But I’ve never felt it’s held me back
because I enjoy being a lawyer and taking
care of my clients. I’ve gotten involved in
community organizations instead of elected
office because that ended up being more
compatible with my practice. So I doubt I’ll
ever run for office, but you never close the
door on anything.
Q: What is it about real estate work that
A: First, I just enjoy the folks I encounter,
both the clients and other professionals.
When you’re dealing with real estate, you’re
dealing with title companies, appraisers,
engineers, architects, [and] obviously other
attorneys and developers. But in terms of
dealing with real estate, what I like about
it is that it ends up adding a net gain at
the end of the transaction. When you close
a deal and somebody’s bought a piece
of property or a building, all of it leads to
economic development and contributes
to the economic engine. It creates jobs. I
feel that it’s helping promote the economic
well being of the community.
Q: How do you approach making these
sorts of deals?
A: I do have a philosophy. I want my client, at
the end of the day, to feel he’s received value
for my services. And at the beginning of a