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Robert William “Bill” Piatt

Professor of Law

 

Education

  • J.D., University of New Mexico, 1975
  • B.A., Eastern New Mexico University, 1972

License to Practice

  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Kansas (inactive)

Specialties and Courses

  • Constitutional Law
  • Legal Ethics
  • Catholic Legal Perspectives
  • Human Trafficking

Biography

Robert William “Bill” Piatt was born in Santa Fe. He is Hispanic/Native American (Genizaro), Catholic, and fluent in Spanish. Prior to his arrival at St. Mary’s, he had taught at five law schools in the U.S., had engaged in private practice, and had helped to establish indigent criminal defense and civil legal assistance offices. Piatt had also taught in Mexico and Spain, and assisted Native American communities in this country.

His background has led him to continue his work with Indigenous communities, and to participate in religious and cultural ceremonies. Piatt’s writings are the first to discuss the legal rights of non-federally recognized Indians.

His background has also enabled him to expand on incorporating his Catholic faith into his teaching, research and service.

Piatt’s writings, including ten books and dozens of articles, focus on Human Rights. They have received numerous awards and have been cited in hundreds of publications.

His background in broadcasting has assisted him in participating as a commentator on law-related topics in English and in Spanish, on radio and tv.

Piatt served as Dean of St. Mary’s Law School from 1998 to 2007.

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Alumni Award, Eastern New Mexico University, 1997
  • Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in North America, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America, 1998, for my book, Black and Brown in America.
  • Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in North America, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America, 1994, for my book, “Language on the Job,”
  • Outstanding Academic Book of the Year, 1994, Choice Magazine, for my book, “Language on the Job”
  • Outstanding article in the Houston Law Review in 1996, Houston Law Review Alumni Award, for my article, “Toward Domestic Recognition of a Human Right to Language.”

Publications

Books

  • Slavery in the Southwest: Genizaro Identity, Dignity and the Law (with Moises Gonzales, Carolina Academic Press, 2019)
  • Human Trafficking (with Cheryl Taylor Page, Carolina Academic Press, 2016).
  • Catholic Legal Perspectives, 3rd Edition (Carolina Academic Press, 2018).
  • Black and Brown in America: The Case for Cooperation (New York University Press, 1997). The book was named, “Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in North America” in 1998 by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.
  • Immigration Law: Cases and Materials (Michie, 1994).
  • Language on the Job: Balancing Business Needs and Employee Rights (University of New Mexico Press, 1993). The book was named, “Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights in North America” in 1994 by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America, and was also selected as an Outstanding Academic Book of the Year by Choice Magazine in 1994.
  • ¿Only English? Law and Language Policy in the United States. (University of New Mexico Press, Spring, 1990)
  • A Layperson’s Guide to New Mexico Law, Center for Business Services, New Mexico State University, 1977.

Articles in a Periodical

Chapters in Books

  • “Catholic Perspectives on Family Law”, in Through a Clear Lens: American Law From a Catholic Perspective (Scarecrow Press, a division of Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Group, Inc., 2015).
  • “Attorney As Interpreter”, in The Latino Condition: A Critical Reader (Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic, eds. N.Y.U. Press 1998, and in the second ed., 2011).
  • “The Confusing State of Minority Language Rights”, in Language Loyalties: A Source Book on the Official English Controversy (James Crawford, ed., U. of Chicago Press 1992)