BiographyNovoa is a tenured Professor of Law at St. Mary’s School of Law, being the first Mexican American woman to receive tenure at the University. She teaches civil clinic, family law, and critical jurisprudence. Novoa graduated with honors from the University of Texas School of Law in 1982 and was in private practice in San Antonio prior to joining St. Mary’s.
Professor Novoa has participated in clinical education for a dozen years, and in administration of the Clinical Program at St. Mary’s Law School for six years. Under her supervision the Clinical Program established a civil legal assistance program (BICLA) for immigrant and other victims of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, trafficking in the human trade, and other crimes.
Novoa’s profound spirituality and deep commitment to social justice is evident from her life-long advocacy for the poor and marginalized. Prior to entering law school, she was a social worker, and, while in private practice, she represented a large number of working poor and handled numerous pro bono cases. She was a co-founder of the “Ask-a-Lawyer” pro bono program, a founding member and continued supporter of the Bexar County Community Justice Program, and chair of the San Antonio/Bexar County Continuum of Care for the Homeless. In addition to her clinical duties, she provides legal advice to the homeless at several local soup kitchens. She is a frequent lecturer in the areas of clinical education, critical jurisprudence, violence against women and children, and family law.
Honors and Awards
She has been recognized by several groups for her commitment to and work with the poor. She has been honored as the Distinguished Faculty Member for the School of Law, received the Marianist Heritage Award, the Alice Franzke Feminist Award and the Chancellor’s Award. The St. Mary’s University Alumni Association recognized her with the Gateway Million+ Club Award on Jan. 2015.