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2019 Annual Convention



2019 HNBA/VIA National Awards Recipients

HNBA “Lifetime Achievement” Award

Maria C. Dantes Sanchez
Vice President & Regional General Attorney
Liberty Mutual Group
Miami, Florida

HNBA “President’s” Award

Robert M. Carlson
Shareholder & ABA Immediate Past President
Corette Black Carlson & Mickelson, P.C.
Butte, Montana

HNBA “Judge of the Year” Award

Hon. Jeffrey M. Bryan
Trial Court Judge, Second Judicial District
Minnesota Judicial Branch
Saint Paul, Minnesota

HNBA “Latina Attorney of the Year” Award

Laura Peña, Immigration Attorney
South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project (ProBAR)
Brownsville, Texas

HNBA “Latino Attorney of the Year” Award

Ernesto Rafael Palomo
Partner, Locke Lord LLP
Chicago, Illinois

HNBA “Regional President of the Year” Award

Benjamin R. Sigel
Director of Client and Community Relations – Special Counsel, Mintz
Boston, Massachusetts

HNBA “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” Award

Monica Welby
Deputy Director of Litigation
Legal Action Center
New York, New York

HNBA “Partner of the Year” Award

Holland & Knight LLP
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

HNBA “Affiliate of the Year” Award

Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (HBA-NJ)
Newark, New Jersey

HNBA “Law Student Organization of the Year” Award

Chicano/Latino Law Students Association, Arizona State University
Phoenix, Arizona


Every year at our Annual Convention, the HNBA/VIA recognizes a talented group of lawyers and institutions that are making a difference in the legal profession and in our communities.

Please click here to access the nomination form and view the criteria for each award category.

2019 HNBA National Awards Nominations are now CLOSED.


Please submit your Nomination via e-mail to by June 29, 2019, 11:59 PM EDT.


The HNBA National Awards Committee will review all nominations and will make recommendation of the award recipients to the HNBA Executive Committee. Award recipients will be announced in August. Awards will be presented at the HNBA/VIA Annual Convention, September 27, 2019, in New York, NY (attendance by award recipients is strongly encouraged). Award recipients will be profiled on the HNBA/VIA website and in other HNBA/VIA publications. 


If you have any questions about the HNBA/VIA National Awards, please contact Erika Lopeztello, HNBA Director of Operations, at


The “Primera Abogada” Award, given by the Commission on Latinas in the Profession, recognizes and honors trailblazing Latina lawyers for their unique and lifetime contributions to the legal profession. Every year the Commission bestows the award to a Latina lawyer who: has been a trailblazer, achieved great distinction by opening-up opportunities historically closed to Latinas, and has been licensed for 25 years or more. The award is presented during the Commission’s Annual breakfast plenary, which takes place at the 2019 HNBA/VIA Annual Convention, September 28, 2019 in New York, NY.

Submit Your Online Nomination Today!

Extended Deadline: August 28, 2019
Questions? Please e-mail

Eligibility Criteria

  • The Latina has practiced law for a minimum of twenty five (25) years; and
  • The Latina: (i) is a pioneer in her field; (ii) has achieved professional excellence in her field; or (iii) has a demonstrable record of contributing to or assisting members of her community; and (at least one of the following):
    • The Latina has influenced other Latinas to pursue legal careers.
    • The Latina has opened doors for Latina lawyers in a variety of job settings historically closed to them.
    • The Latina has advanced opportunities for Latinas within a practice area or segment of the profession.
    • The Latina has made significant contributions to the legal profession.
    • The Latina has made significant contributions to the Latino community as a direct result of her legal work.
    • NOTE: The nominee is not required to be an active member of the HNBA.

Submission Requirements

Required Submissions

  1. Nomination Form: Complete and submit the online nomination form.
  2. Nominee’s Resume: Include the nominee’s resume or biography, describing her background and contributions.
  3. Description of how Nominee meets eligibility criteria: In no more than two typed, double-spaced pages, in 12-pt font, please provide concrete examples of how the nominee meets the criteria detailed above.

Optional Submissions

  • Articles/Letters: Up to 10 news or magazine articles written by or about the candidate and no more than five letters of support from individuals or organizations may be submitted in support of a nominee.

Submission Procedures

  1. The nomination online form and your supporting materials constitute the sole basis for the nomination. Materials will not be returned.
  2. The limitation on letters of support will be observed. If more than five letters are submitted, Commission staff will determine which letters will be included with the final nomination packet under consideration by Commission members.
  3. Nominations can be submitted online at:
  4. Articles are to be uploaded with your online nomination form at the time of submission.
  5. Current Commission members or liaisons are not eligible for the Award for the duration of their terms and for three years following service.

The 2019 HNBA Annual Convention is a joint enterprise with
the HNBA VIA Fund.