Professor Villa brings extensive practice experience to the UNM law school community, having served for 22 years as legal counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, first with EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and later with EPA Regional offices in Denver, Colorado, and Seattle, Washington. Over time, his EPA practice included administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement of federal laws such as the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. For the last eight years of his practice, Professor Villa served as legal officer for the EPA's emergency response program, providing on-call legal assistance for federal responses to hazardous waste sites, oil spills, natural disasters, and other major concerns.
In 2006, Professor Villa joined the adjunct faculty at Seattle University School of Law, where he taught courses in environmental law and developed new courses including Disaster Law. As a lawyer and academic, he has spoken at conferences throughout the United States as well as in Spain and Latin America, and he has published scholarly work in places including the Harvard Environmental Law Review and the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law.
As a federal attorney, Professor Villa received multiple awards for commendable service from the EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2008, recognizing his contributions to public service as both an attorney and educator, he received the Modelo de Excelencia award from the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington. In 2009, Professor Villa was honored with the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award from Seattle University School of Law. In 2013, he received the Distinguished Environmental Law Graduate award from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Professor Villa received his J.D.. from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, and his B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of New Mexico. He was born and raised in Albuquerque, with local roots tracing back to the Atrisco Land Grant of 1692.