Emil J. Kiehne

Direct: 505.848.1838
Main: 505.848.1800
Fax: 505.848.9710
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Email: emil.kiehne@modrall.com


Emil Kiehne is an experienced appellate practitioner.  He assists clients at all stages of the litigation process to maximize their chances for success on appeal.   At the trial level, Emil drafts significant motions and jury instructions to preserve important issues, and in the appeals courts he prepares and executes the client's appellate strategy.    His appellate experience includes work in the areas of commercial litigation, healthcare and employment.  

Named a Tenth Circuit Litigation Star in Benchmark Appellate Litigation and a Future Star in New Mexico by Benchmark Litigation, Emil has also received recognition from Southwest Super Lawyers® based on a peer review.

A native of New Mexico, Emil received his undergraduate degree in History cum laude from Harvard University in 1995; he received his Master's degree in Political Philosophy sobresaliente cum laude in 1997 from the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona, Spain; and he received his law degree cum laude from Notre Dame Law School in 2000. After law school, he practiced in the Appeals Division of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office for three years, and commercial litigation at the Philadelphia firm, Fox Rothschild, for one year.

Emil is Chair of the Appellate Committee and a member of Modrall Sperling's Commercial Litigation Practice Group; he is a shareholder in the Albuquerque office.


  • Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 2000, cum laude
  • Universidad de Navarrra, Pamplona, Spain, M.A. in Political Philosophy, 1997, sobresaliente cum laude
  • Harvard University, B.A. in History, 1995, cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • New Mexico
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (inactive)

Practice Areas



Emil has handled over 100 appeals, including: 

  • Reversed $54 million nursing home wrongful death verdict against client, where trial court erroneously found that client operated the nursing home, Keith v. Manor Care, Inc., 147 N.M. 209, 218 P.3d 1257 (Ct. App. 2009). 
  • Affirmed jury verdict in favor of client public school system in employment case, Trujillo v. Bd. of Education, 295 Fed. Appx. 885 (10th Cir. 2008).
  • Obtained reinstatement of $680,000 jury verdict in favor of client businessman, Sanders v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc., 188 P.3d 1200 (N.M. 2008). 
  • Obtained reversal of improper change of venue, Cook v. Anding, 188 P.3d 1151 (N.M. 2008). 
  • Upheld dismissal of client corporation from lawsuit, Bank of America v. Apache Corp., 144 N.M. 123, 184 P.3d 435 (N.M. Ct. App. 2008). 
  • Obtained reversal of false arrest verdict against client police officer, Kee v. Ahlm, 219 Fed. Appx. 727 (10th Cir. 2007). 
  • Affirmed dismissal of Section 1983 civil rights claim against client hospital, Carver v. Plyer, 115 Fed. Appx. 532 (3rd Cir. 2004). 
  • Reversed $250,000 contempt judgment against clients (unpublished), Suburban Cable TV Co., Inc. v. Healey, 1984 EDA 2004 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2005).


Professional Activities

  • Member, New Mexico Appellate Rules Committee 2008-present

Community Activities

  • Trustee, Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe
  • H. Vearle Payne Inn of Court
  • Leadership Albuquerque, 2010
  • Knights of Columbus, Officer, 2008-2011
  • San Clemente Parish Council, 2008-2011


  • Benchmark Appellate Litigation, Tenth Circuit Litigation Star in New Mexico, 2013
  • Benchmark Litigation, The Definitive Guide to America's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys, recognized as Future Litigation Star, 2013-present
  • Southwest Super Lawyers® (derived from a lawyer survey), 2014-present