FARMINGTON — Local attorney Dylan O'Reilly is the first lawyer outside of the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area to be named the 2013 "Business Lawyer of the Year" by the board of directors of the State Bar of New Mexico Business Law Section.

O'Reilly, who practices with the Miller Stratvert PA law firm in Farmington, was presented with the award on Nov. 1 during a reception at the State Bar Center in Albuquerque, according to a news release.

O'Reilly moved to Farmington from Albuquerque eight years ago with his wife, psychologist Sara Montgomery, and he provides legal services ranging from entity formation to complex contracts and options, as well as litigation matters such as collections and trade secret issues.

O'Reilly received the Business Lawyer of the Year honor because of his outstanding service to the citizens of New Mexico and the business law community. One of those services includes development of a free monthly business law program for county businesses called "The Strong Business Hour," which teaches good business practices pertaining to a variety of topics.

"The hour-long sessions take place at the Farmington Civic Center, and they help businesses get to the root of a lot of problems," said O'Reilly. "Topics include embezzlement, handling writs of garnishment, better invoicing, trade secrets, etc. They're a lot of the issues that businesses come to us seeking help with."

O'Reilly said some of these legal problems end up costing businesses significant funds to fix, but by attending the "Strong Business Hour" sessions, businesses can actually avoid some of the pitfalls and can save money by learning good business practices.

O'Reilly also lectures on various legal topics at a twice-yearly "Non-Profit Board Basics" programs hosted by San Juan College and Leadership San Juan. The program, which is also free of charge, teaches board members best practices for managing their non-profit companies.

Other community projects with which O'Reilly is involved include serving on the board of directors for Sexual Assault Services of Northwest New Mexico. He is currently vice president, and the organization's Executive Director Eleana Butler says having someone with his background and knowledge on the board is invaluable.

"Dylan brings a lot of attorney expertise to the board in terms of how we operate our policies and procedures. He's a huge asset to the board," she said.

According to the news release, the State Bar of New Mexico was organized in 1886 and is composed of more than nine thousand members. Its purposes are to aid the courts in administering justice and preserving the rule of law, and to foster a high standard of integrity and competence within the legal profession.

Leonard Sanchez, board chairman for the state bar's Business Law Section, said this year there was a large pool of qualified attorneys state-wide who were nominated for Business Lawyer of the Year. Qualities the board looks for when considering candidates include professionalism, integrity, superior legal service, and exemplary service to the business sector and to the public.

"It's a very competitive process, and we had some very qualified attorneys who have been practicing for a number of years," said Sanchez. "We've been very fortunate to have so many well-recognized attorneys awarded Business Lawyer of the Year, and (O'Reilly) was very qualified and well-received for this position."

O'Reilly attended Oberlin College for his Bachelor of Arts degree, and University of New Mexico's School of Law for his Juris Doctor degree. He serves on the UNM School of Law Alumni Board and the Leadership San Juan Alumni Association. He has also served on the Business Law Section Board of Directors since 2009, and was chairman of the board in 2012.

Leigh Black Irivn reports on health and other issues for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4610 and . Follow her @irvindailytimes on Twitter.