HNBA LATINA COMMISSION
The Commission works to further the goals and purposes of the HNBA. It serves the community and the legal profession by identifying and studying barriers to the professional development and advancement of Latina lawyers. We work to develop programs and strategies for Latina Lawyers to overcome barriers to entry and advancement into the profession. The Commission seeks to inform and shape the policies and priorities that affect women lawyers and the legal culture in which they practice. We create forums for the exchange and expression of the views of Latina lawyers, and serve as a voice to advocate for these views.
In 2008, the Latina Commission was proposed by HNBA President, Ramona Romero, and approved by the Board to study, and remedy the status of Latinas in the legal profession who then, as now, suffer the lowest representation of any racial or ethnic group as compared to their overall presence in the national population.
The creation of the Commission laid the ground work and made possible two critical national studies, Few and Far Between: The Reality of Latina Lawyers” (September 2009) and La Voz de la Abogada Latina: Challenges and Rewards in Serving the Public Interest (September 2010). The reports identified both barriers and recommendations for Latina to success in the legal profession. The recommendations of our studies (which confirmed Latina lawyers encounter, and must overcome. The Commission’s national and regional legal education program, leadership academy, research, publications and service on the HNBA’s Board of Governors are just some of the avenues we use to advance the interests and success of Latina Lawyers.
If you are interested in working with the Commission or helping to promote the advancement of Latina Lawyers here is what you can do:
- Participate in research about Latina Lawyers. This fall HNBA is working with the ABA on a focus group study about minority women, including Latinas, who have JDs and who have been out of law school for at least 15 years to assess the unique career dynamics facing them and why they stay or leave the profession. To learn more and participate e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact the Commission for information about additional studies we are participating in.
- Present a Latina Leadership Academy in your city or region. The Commission has developed an academy “in-the-box” that you can use to present this program with your local HNBA affiliate, workplace affinity group or your community of Latina legal leaders.
- Write an article for HNBA’s e-Noticias. Showcase your legal expertise or discuss issues critical to the advancement of Latina lawyers. Submit your article to: email@example.com
- Host a Pearls of Wisdom program. Reach out to your local high school or grammar school with Latina students and local Latina lawyers.
- Submit a program proposal on-line for a CLE program that can be presented at HNBA’s Annual Convention or Corporate Counsel Conference.
- Nominate an outstanding Latina lawyer for the Commission’s Primera Abogadas Award and other HNBA Annual Awards.
To learn more about all of these programs contact the Commission at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Primeras Abogadas Award
In 2008, the Commission created the Primeras Abogadas Award to honor the legacy left by the earliest Latina lawyers. It seeks to honor Latina trailblazers who opened doors for others to follow and honor their unique and lifetime contributions to the legal profession and our community. This award is given annually to a Latina lawyer trailblazer who, licensed for 30 years or more, has achieved great distinction by opening-up opportunities historically closed to Latina attorneys.
2009 Hon. Sonia Sotomayor
2010 Norma Ramos
2011 Hon. Rosemary Barkett
2012 Hon. Mari Carmen Aponte
2013 Adelfa Callejo
2014 Hon. Carmen Beauchamp Ciparik
2015 Carmen Ortiz
2016 Patricia Diaz Dennis
2017 Deborah Escobedo
2018 Dolores Atencio
Mari Carmen Aponte Award
Created in 2016 and named after the HNBA’s first female President the award is given at the Commission’s discretion to honor a Latina Lawyer who is the first to break a glass ceiling.
2016 Kim Rivera, first Latina Chief Legal Officer of a publicly traded tech company in Silicon Valley.