University of New Mexico School of Law (2006)

Licensed in New Mexico

United States Supreme Court • D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals • 6th Circuit Court of Appeals • 8th Circuit Court of Appeals • 10th Circuit Court of Appeals • U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico • U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota • New Mexico State Courts

Lara practices environmental, water, and natural resources law, with an emphasis on administrative law and litigation. She has broad experience advising clients regarding compliance with federal and state laws and regulations, and representing private sector and government clients before state and federal administrative agencies, boards, and commissions, as well as state and federal district and appellate courts. Her substantive practice is focused in the areas of air quality, water quality, water rights, hazardous waste/RCRA, CERCLA, NEPA, brownfields redevelopment, oil and gas law, and mining law and reclamation.

Lara received her bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she graduated summa cum laude with highest honors in the major and college honors. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she was co-editor-in-chief of the Natural Resources Journal and recipient of the Albert E. Utton award for excellence in natural resources. After law school, Lara spent two years clerking for the Honorable Richard C. Bosson of the New Mexico Supreme Court. 

From 2008 to 2016, Lara practiced environmental, water, and natural resources law with the Santa Fe law firm Montgomery & Andrews, P.A., where she was elected shareholder in 2014. During her tenure at Montgomery & Andrews, she worked on matters involving representation of regulated industries and national laboratories in environmental permitting, rulemaking, and enforcement matters; property owners in water rights transactions and disputes; oil and gas producers in mineral leasing and development, right of way and eminent domain issues, and other regulatory matters; and the States of Kansas, Montana, and New Mexico in original jurisdiction interstate water compact litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Prior to joining Abadie | Schill’s Santa Fe office in early 2019, Lara spent three years working for the New Mexico Environment Department as a senior attorney in the Office of General Counsel. In that capacity, Lara represented the Department in the most complex, high-level administrative and court proceedings involving permitting, rulemaking, and enforcement actions under state and federal environmental laws and regulatory regimes. She advised and worked extensively with upper management of the Department and technical staff from all the major bureaus and programs of the agency, including the Air Quality Bureau, Ground Water Quality Bureau, Mining Environmental Compliance Section, Surface Water Quality Bureau, and Hazardous Waste Bureau, and she appeared regularly before the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission, the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board, and Department hearing officers. She was also counsel of record for the Department as part of multi-state coalitions in three cases before the federal circuit courts of appeal regarding challenges to regulations promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and CERCLA.

A native of Santa Fe, Lara feels a deep connection to the mountains, rivers, and other wild places of New Mexico and Southern Colorado. When not lawyering or carting her two boys, Jack and Henry, around to their various activities, she can often be found skiing, biking, hiking, and otherwise taking advantage of all the outdoor playgrounds in close proximity to her hometown. She is also a bookworm, a news/podcast junkie, and an aspiring (though, according to her kids, not always very good) cook.


Idaho Conservation League v. Wheeler, Case No. 18-1141 (D.C. Cir., July 19, 2019)


Lara Katz & Christopher Atencio, Regulatory Haze: Air Quality Regulation of Natural Resources Industries in a Time of Shifting Federal Priorities, 63rd Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, 25-1 (2017).

Lara Katz & Jeffrey Wechsler, Understanding New Mexico’s Copper Rules, State Bar of N.M. Natural Res., Energy and Envtl. Law Section Newsletter, 5 (Summer 2013) 

Edmund H. Kendrick & Lara Katz, New Mexico, in Implementing Institutional Controls at Brownfields and Other Contaminated Sites 465 (Amy L. Edwards ed., 2nd ed. 2012).

Lara Katz, History of the Minnow Litigation and Its Implications for the Future of Reservoir Operations on the Rio Grande, 47 Nat. Resources J. 675 (Summer 2007).

Susan Kelly, Iris Augusten, Lara Katz & Joshua Mann, History of the Rio Grande Reservoirs in New Mexico: Legislation and Litigation, 47 Nat. Resources J. 525 (Summer 2007).