Honors and Distinctions

PictureBoard Certified Criminal Defense Specialist 
Under the New Mexico Rules of Legal Specialization, a lawyer is not allowed to call himself a “specialist” unless he has been officially recognized as such following a rigorous qualifying process.

Mr. Serna actually is both Board Certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization, and is Board Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Boston, Mass. as a Diplomate and Criminal Trial Advocate.

He has maintained his Specialist’s Certification with the National Board of Trial Advocacy, becoming recertified every five years, since 1986. He has maintained his Specialist’s Certification with the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization, becoming recertified every five years, since 1990.

The qualifying process to obtain Board Certification includes a day-long written examination, proof that the applicant has tried a certain number of sufficiently complex felony trials to jury verdict, and “peer review”, obtaining written opinions from former co-counsel, former opposing counsel, judges, and former clients, regarding the applicant’s legal skills and character. For more info visit the websites for the New Mexico State Bar and the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

Founding Member National College For DUI Defense

The National College for DUI Defense, Summer Programs at Harvard Law School, was created in 1995. That year, David was the only New Mexico attorney (and one of only 60 nationwide) to be accepted. David became New Mexico’s first Founding Member and has attended ever since. He is also called upon frequently to give teaching presentations to his fellow lawyers and to judges at Continuing Legal Education seminars on DWI/DUI Drunk Driving Defense topics.

The National College for DUI Defense has become the premier organization for the nation’s most elite drunk driving lawyers. For more info, visit the NCDD website.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

David has been an active Lifetime Member of the National Legal Committee of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, since 1985.

David maintains a network of fellow NORML National Committee Member lawyers with whom he regularly consults, participates in ongoing projects, and shares wisdom, both on the NORML email listserve reserved for National Committee Members, and at frequent NORML legal seminars dedicated to the cutting edge of drug defense. For more info, visit the NORML website.

Criminal Defense Mentor

PictureSince 1995 David has had the pleasure to serve as a Criminal Defense Mentor for younger or less experienced lawyers under the New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association Mentor Program. He continues to so serve with distinction.


Appointed by Chief Federal Judge to Federal Committee

PictureIn 1994 the late Juan Burciaga , Chief Judge of the federal United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, appointed David to sit on the Criminal Justice Act Panel Committee. David continued to sit on the CJA Panel Committee through 2001, having been reappointed by successive Chief Judges of the U.S. District Court in New Mexico.

The CJA Panel Committee meets to discuss policy, procedures and standards regarding legal representation of indigent defendants in Federal Criminal cases. The Panel Committee also evaluates and recommends to the Federal Court Judges, which attorneys, from a list of applicants, should be allowed to represent indigent defendants.

Former Violent Crimes Felony Prosecutor

PictureAfter graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. in 1977, David returned to his home State of New Mexico. For his first three and a half years as a lawyer, he was employed as an Albuquerque Assistant District Attorney, assigned to prosecute violent felonies.

He successfully handled many Murder trials and other high-profile cases before quitting to go into private practice. He has been focusing on defending the accused ever since that time.