Since becoming a lawyer in 2000, Zach has worked as a law clerk in an appellate court, has litigated criminal and civil cases in federal and state courts, has represented clients on appeal in the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, the New Mexico Supreme Court, and the New Mexico Court of Appeals, and has appeared on behalf of clients in various administrative proceedings. He strives to provide every client the best possible legal services by bringing to each matter his knowledge of the law and legal system, intellectual rigor, creativity, integrity, and practicality.
Zach joined Garcia Ives Nowara in 2012, having practiced for over a decade at Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan PA. Before practicing, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Pamela B. Minzner, who was then Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.
For the past seven years Zach’s peers in the legal community have selected him for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in white-collar criminal defense. In 2015, based on a survey of other lawyers, Best Lawyers named him Lawyer of the Year for Albuquerque in white-collar defense. He is also listed in Super Lawyers in white-collar defense.
He represents people and companies when they become involved in criminal investigations—whether as targets, subjects, or witnesses—and also defends them if the government chooses to charge them with criminal offenses. He has worked on a wide variety of matters, including alleged health care fraud, political corruption, cybercrimes, drug possession and trafficking, firearms and other weapons offenses, violent crimes, and immigration offenses.
- Dismissal of multiple felony charges against health care provider
- Dismissal of multiple felony charges against former Public Regulation Commissioner accused of campaign finance violations
- Federal prosecutor declined to bring perjury and obstruction of justice charges against prominent New Mexico businessperson
- Successful representation of healthcare company in fraud investigation
- Successful representation of client in federal pay-to-play investigation
- Petty misdemeanor plea for client charged with felony cybercrimes
- Not guilty verdicts for police officer charged with crimes for conduct on duty
Zach uses his strong research, writing, and analytical skills, as well as his experience as a New Mexico Supreme Court law clerk, to his clients’ advantage in criminal and civil appeals in federal and state courts.
- Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006). The United States Supreme Court decided the case unanimously in favor of a small church seeking to prevent the federal government from interfering with its religious practices.
- State v. McClaugherty, 2008-NMSC-044, 144 N.M. 483, 188 P.3d 1234. The New Mexico Supreme Court barred the state from continuing to prosecute client because of egregious prosecutorial misconduct.
- State v. Villa, 2004-NMSC-031, 136 N.M. 367, 98 P.3d 1017. The New Mexico Supreme Court reversed convictions of client charged with white-collar offenses.
- In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717 (Foreign Surveillance Ct. of Rev. 2002). Assisted in representing the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as amicus curiae in the first case ever decided by the Foreign Surveillance Court of Review.
Zach also handles administrative investigations into suspected misconduct and related administrative proceedings. These matters include professional discipline, debarment actions involving government contractors, and security clearance matters.
Zach conducts internal investigations for companies concerned about potential misconduct by their employees.
In 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico named Zach a cooperating attorney of the year for his work in a variety of different types of civil rights cases. He seeks compensation for the victims of police misconduct, fights to protect his clients’ rights to freely exercise their religion and to freely express their ideas, and works to improve jail conditions through class action litigation. He has also represented employees who have suffered unlawful discrimination and retaliation.
- $720,000 jury verdict for innocent client arrested and prosecuted for DWI
- favorable damages award from jury after federal court granted summary judgment for innocent client who was unlawfully detained
- favorable settlement for client who was repeatedly shocked with a Taser and prosecuted for battery on police officer
Personal injury and guardian ad litem
Zach represents people who have been injured. He also acts as guardian ad litem to assist courts in determining whether proposed settlements entered into on behalf of children are, in fact, in children’s best interest.
Appointments by State and Federal Courts
New Mexico Supreme Court, Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, Chair, 2006–2011, and Member, 2003–2006
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Criminal Justice Act Appeals Panel, Member, 2006–present
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, Criminal Justice Act Felony Panel Member, 2006–present
New Mexico, 2000
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, 2001
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 2001
Supreme Court of the United States, 2005
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2008
Vassar College, B.A. 1995, with honors, Phi Beta Kappa
University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D. 2000, Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif
Julia Raymond McCulloch Memorial Award for Constitutional Law
Jerrold J. Walden Award for Overall Academic Performance
Alumni Writing Prize