Founder and First Executive Director, Jane B. Wishner
Jane Wishner was the founder and Executive Director of the Southwest Women’s Law Center in Albuquerque during its first seven years. Before starting the Southwest Women’s Law Center, Ms. Wishner worked for nearly fifteen years with the law firm of Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A. a litigation firm in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was one of the three founding members of the firm along with Charles Peifer and the Honorable James O. Browning. Her practice included a wide variety of civil litigation, including complex commercial litigation, civil rights litigation, class actions, employment disputes, and a variety of contract and other business disputes. Before then, Ms. Wishner was an Assistant Attorney General of the State of New Mexico, serving as a white-collar prosecutor in the Special Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s Office. She also practiced with a private law firm in San Francisco before moving to New Mexico.
Ms. Wishner received her B.A. from Harvard University and received Radcliffe’s Gerta Richards Crosby Prize for the highest-ranking woman in the Harvard Government Department. After college, Ms. Wishner worked as a research associate on the national staff of Common Cause in Washington, D.C. She obtained her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley and clerked for the Honorable Abner J. Mikva, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
Ms. Wishner has been active in numerous local and national community organizations. Ms. Wishner is the immediate past national chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, the public policy arm of the reform Jewish Movement, which represents over 900 synagogues and 1.5 million Jews in North America. Ms. Wishner held many leadership positions within the Commission on Social Action, serving as Vice Chair of the Commission and as Chair of the Women and Minorities Task Force and the Domestic Policy Task Force. Ms. Wishner is also a member of the National Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism. She currently serves as a Policy Advisor to the newly elected administration of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham,