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NMSU alumna shares experiences as lawyer, judge and novelist with students

Amy Britt will take the bench this month as an administrative law judge in California after decades of success as a lawyer with a flare for the non-traditional – she sometimes wears leather frock coats to court. The El Paso native and New Mexico State University alumna is also a novelist who has published 14 novels and two short story collections over the past 12 years. Her success now is far from where her life began right after college.

She will share her inspirational life story with students, faculty and the public as part of the College of Arts and Sciences “Alumni Connections” series on Thursday, Nov. 15. Among a day of activities, Britt will tour the campus, meet with students and give a public talk at 3 p.m. at the College of Health and Social Services Auditorium, Room 101A.

Britt transformed her life from working as an administrative assistant while caring for her ailing grandmother to a career as a successful attorney and author.

Britt’s grandmother’s death and her escape from an abusive marriage inspired a change in her life. She went to law school, and after passing the bar was offered the opportunity to open and manage the California office of a Boston Based law firm. Britt began writing her first novel at the same time. She writes under the pen name James Buchanan.

“Through the Alumni Connections series, the college is reaching out to our NMSU graduates to invite them to share their stories with our students,” said Enrico Pontelli, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We hope that meeting with Amy and hearing how she worked to achieve her success will inspire them to realize that they too can face difficult challenges and accomplish their goals.”

Using her pen name Buchanan, she has spoken and given readings at conferences such as Saints & Sinners, Bouchercon and the CARAS Alternate Sexualities Conference. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America. Her books “James’ Hard Fall” and “All or Nothing” were both honored by the National Leather Association-International’s Pauline Réage Novel Awards, recognizing positive portrayals of the leather lifestyle in fiction.

Britt’s talk is free and open to the public. Campus parking passes for visitors are available at http://auxadminforms.nmsu.edu/ParkingForms/ePermit.aspx.