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HNBA VIA (Vision in Action) Fund

ABOUT HNBA VIA

The HNBA VIA (“Vision in Action”) Fund [formerly known as the HNBA Legal Education Fund (LEF)] is the Hispanic National Bar Association’s 501 (c)(3) charitable arm. With a new, expanded scope, the HNBA VIA Fund’s mission is to empower the U.S. Latinx community through programs and initiatives that increase the community’s access and influence, and provide expanded education, career advancement, and leadership opportunities. Through a combination of targeted programmatic activities (trainings, workshops, mentoring and pipeline programs, pro bono legal services, conferences, and more!), HNBA VIA, as a joint enterprise with the HNBA, supports the development and advancement of Latinx students, legal professionals and community members. Please consider VIA when deciding where to invest your or your organization’s charitable support!


HNBA VIA & HNBA JOINT ENTERPRISE PROGRAMS & INITIATIVES

SU FUTURO: EDUCATIONAL, MENTORING, AND PIPELINE INITIATIVES 

The HNBA’s Su Futuro™ suite of programs and initiatives impact the elementary to law school pipeline, as well as members of our Law Students’ and Young Lawyers’ Divisions. Through a unique combination of programs and initiatives, the HNBA is focusing on students of all ages in order to ensure a robust pipeline of exceptionally prepared and qualified Latinx attorneys. A core part of the HNBA’s mission, Su Futuro’s goals could not be possible without the active support and involvement of our strategic partners, sponsors and members at-large. We invite you to be part of the solution.


Uvaldo Herrera Moot Court Competition and Scholarships
This prestigious Competition has been held for 23 years. It brings together over 30 teams of law students from the nation’s top law schools to argue a case currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, before a mock panel of Supreme Court justices populated by preeminent jurists. Feedback and coaching throughout the competition allows law students to hone their legal knowledge, written and oral advocacy skills, and prepares them to better serve the profession. The Competition is judged in its entirety by retired or sitting state and federal judges. To date, the Competition has awarded over $450,000.00 in scholarships to the competition winners and has resulted in several judicial clerkships for student participants. Thank you to the HNBA Judicial Council for its active involvement in this important educational and pipeline program!


Law School Sin Límites (LSSL) Program
LSSL is a four-year, college student mentor program that aims to advance inclusiveness in the legal profession by equipping students for their journey to law school and beyond. The program is designed to prepare college students from diverse backgrounds to become highly qualified applicants for admission to the nation’s best law schools. Each student is a member of a group that is traditionally under-represented in the legal profession. The program provides participants with: (1) a three-person mentoring team, overseen by a judge presiding over a Court in the region of the student’s residence; (2) exposure programming to cultivate soft skills, such as cultural competence, business etiquette, emotional intelligence, and networking skills; (3) skill-building programming to develop hard skills, such as logical reasoning, writing, and critical analysis skills; and (4) assistance for LSAT preparation.


Intellectual Property Law Institute (IPLI)
The IPLI is a trail-blazing and bold program designed to increase the number of Latino lawyers practicing intellectual property law in the United States (currently at 1.8%). Launched in 2013, in partnership with Microsoft, IPLI is an intensive, week-long immersion program for law students interested in practicing intellectual property (IP) law, including patents, copyrights, trade secrets and trademarks. Admission to the program is highly competitive, as just ~30 Latino law students are selected to participate each year from nationwide applicants. Students are flown to Washington, DC, for a full week of substantive instruction from top IP law practitioners, federal judges and government officials. The program includes trips to various government agencies and courts to observe first-hand U.S. IP institutions at work, and the chance to meet leading members of the IP legal community who will serve as mentors and provide pathways for future job opportunities. To date, one hundred and fifty (150) IPLI students have completed the program, and over seventy-five percent (75%) of participants who have graduated from law school are now working in legal positions related to IP law.  In 2018, the IPLI expanded its curriculum to include a substantive “Tech Law” track, and additional corporate participants.


Youth Symposium
This annual program, which takes place during the HNBA Annual Convention, provides high school students with the opportunity to meet Latino attorneys, judges, law professors, and government officials from across the country. The Symposium provides discussion and activities that aim to inspire them to be leaders in their communities and to choose the legal profession as their career path. This important pipeline program has reached thousands of high school students in different states throughout the nation.


Latina Commission Pearls of Wisdom Program
Fulfilling the mission to strengthen the pipeline of Latinas in the legal profession, the HNBA Latina Commission’s work not only focuses on practicing Latina attorneys, but on the future generation of Latina leaders. Since 2012, the Commission’s pipeline program, Pearls of Wisdom, has been offered at least twice a year across the nation. During each Pearls of Wisdom event, distinguished Latinas across all sectors in the law meet with students (from elementary school to law school) and discuss their path to success, as well as recommended strategies for breaking the proverbial glass ceiling. Each program is followed by a Q&A and meet & greet sessions.


National Young Lawyers & Law Students Speed Mentoring & Regional Mentoring Programs
Dynamic and successful mentoring programs are carried out across the country, pairing seasoned attorneys with Latinx young lawyers and law students. Mentors provide guidance and share practical knowledge about the legal profession with their mentees, offering direct contact and access, coupled with the opportunity to develop needed professional resources. The Speed Mentoring Program takes place during the HNBA Annual Convention, and multiple other mentoring programs are carried out at the regional level. To date, mentoring programs have positively impacted thousands of Latinx young lawyers and law students.


HNBA Corporate Counsel Conference (CCC) – A VIA Fund Joint Enterprise
This annual conference focuses on providing education and specialized training to legal professionals working in corporate legal departments and the diverse law firm attorneys who advise corporations on litigation, regulatory, and transactional matters. Programming includes top-notch continuing legal education (CLE) panels, which qualify for accreditation in all U.S. jurisdictions, and the General Counsel Roundtable, with prominent GCs from Fortune 500 Companies discussing relevant topics pertaining to the legal profession and diversity and inclusion. Other educational/training programs offered at the CCC include: 1) Business Development Institute, providing professional advice and training to diverse legal professionals at various stages of their career; and 2) Specialty Training Programs, including but not limited to, Corporate Board Training Workshop Series, Mini-MBA Program, and others.


HNBA Annual Convention (AC) – A VIA Fund Joint Enterprise
The Annual Convention brings together the most influential Hispanic lawyers, leaders, elected officials, judges, law professors, and law students in the country. Participants attend cutting-edge continuing legal education (CLE) sessions and plenaries, which qualify for CLE credits in all U.S. jurisdictions, and feature leading practitioners from across the country, addressing legal trends on a wide range of topics. Among other highlights, the Convention features specialized training program aimed at helping the advancement and development of diverse legal professionals and students including: 1) Latina Leadership Academy, providing research-based training focused on removing barriers to the advancement of Latina lawyers in the legal profession; 2) National Young Lawyers and Law Students Speed Mentoring Program, where seasoned attorneys offer practical career advice, information and mentoring to diverse law students and young lawyers; 3) Youth Symposium, designed to expose minority high school students to choose to pursue higher education and careers in the law; 4) LGBT Leadership Summit, focused on assessing the needs of the Latinx LGBT community, as well as career and business development for the Latinx and LGBT attorneys.

SU CARRERA: CAREER DEVELOPMENT, LEADERSHIP TRAINING AND PLACEMENT

In fulfillment of our mission, the HNBA offers robust career advancement training and opportunities, from continuing legal education (CLE) sessions at our Annual Convention and Corporate Counsel Conference to our “boot-camp” style half- and full-day training sessions. These sessions focus on topics aimed at eliminating barriers to the advancement of Latinx attorneys and providing them with the skillset they need to succeed in their careers.


Latina Leadership Academy
The Academy offers relevant professional development and leadership training aimed at Latina lawyers. The Academy’s curriculum is specifically developed for Latina attorneys and draws from a significant body of research particular to women in the law to address areas identified as key to shattering the proverbial glass ceiling and securing the advancement and long-term success of Latina lawyers—the most underrepresented group in the legal profession. Latinas comprise 1.47% of all lawyers in the United States.


Poder25 Program
The first GC pipeline program that specifically targets Latinx attorneys and tackles the unique challenges that research informs us that Latinx professionals face, including but not limited to: anti-Hispanic implicit bias, lack of mentorship/sponsorship, and lack of exposure to the networks required to gain entrance into the highest strata of the legal profession. The goal is to increase the number of Hispanic General Counsels at Fortune 500 companies to 20 by the year 2025. Today, only 1.8% of Fortune 500 General Counsel are Hispanic. Not only should the General Counsels of Fortune 500 corporations drive diversity in the legal industry, they should also be diverse themselves so that corporate executive suites reflect the faces of the communities in which the corporations do business. This program aims to be a catalyst for greater diversity, including increased representation of Hispanics, in the Fortune 500 GC ranks.


Business Development Institute
The HNBA’s robust Business Development Institute (BDI) is designed to teach new and aspiring law firm partners the business development strategies they will need to employ to become successful rainmakers at their firms. A panel composed of high-ranking in-house counsel with hiring authority and senior law firm rainmakers with successful practices, will act out various scenarios including a cocktail reception elevator pitch and a more formal pitch meeting scenario. Role play of each scenario will be followed by a Q&A session. The institute consists of a one-hour panel featuring 3 in-house counsel panelists and 2 outside counsel rainmaker panelists, followed by a second hour of breakout sessions each led by one of the panelists. Finally, during the third hour closing exercise, participants buddy up with another participant to create a marketing plan and become accountability partners with respect to their business development/marketing plan throughout the year.


Corporate Board Training Workshop
Hispanic inclusion in Fortune 500 boards remains extremely low, at around 3 percent. According to the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), “there are over 850 Fortune 1000 companies that have no Hispanic inclusion on their boards.” This Series aims to provide substantive training for participants to be qualified to serve on corporate boards nationwide, focusing on the complex oversight challenges that boards face, including corporate governance, regulatory compliance, financial competency, executive compensation, communication strategies and the demand for greater transparency, among other relevant topics. This important workshop series is offered during selected national conferences.

SU COMUNIDAD COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND ADVOCACY

As the National Voice of the Hispanic Legal Community and the Latinx community in general, the HNBA’s reach expands well beyond its attorney members, and into the communities where we live and serve. Through our various community outreach programs and advocacy efforts, we encourage Latinx legal professionals, friends, and partners to get involved in these important efforts that impact millions of Latinx individuals around the country.


HNBA/MassMutual Su Negocio Program
Latinos are the fastest growing group of small business owners and entrepreneurs (includes solo, small- and medium-size law firms) in the United States, growing 15 times faster than any other group. However, Latinos may not have sufficient access to information and options. Su Negocio provides both legal and business assistance to Latino small business owners. Launched in 2016, this important community program is offered free of charge at selected cities across the country, empowering Latinx small business owners and legal professionals at all stages of business/firm formation, funding and expansion, by providing targeted information and resources to help them succeed.


HNBA/Prudential Su Dinero Program
This community outreach program offers participants access to a variety of educational materials and financial tools to achieve overall financial wellness for themselves, their families, and even future generations. Even as Latinos grow in influence and power, we might neglect to protect ourselves and our families for those unexpected situations. Su Dinero two-prong approach features an online tool that allows participants to access digital financial wellness content as well as in-person financial education seminars in selected cities across the country. The curriculum offers practical, down-to earth information, focusing on key financial concepts such as budgeting, debt management, protection of assets, tax implications of investment decisions, preparing for retirement, and creating a financial legacy for your family.


Immigrant Legal Defense Fund
The Immigrant Legal Defense Fund provides grants for low-cost legal representation to assist in the defense of select immigration cases across the country, including but not limited to cases involving DACA individuals, asylum seeking, and unaccompanied minors. Please DONATE to the Immigrant Legal Defense Fund today!


La Promesa en el Derecho
La Promesa en el Derecho (The Promise in the Law) is a community outreach and education initiative designed to instill confidence and trust in the U.S. legal system.  This bilingual booklet provides explanations at the 9th grade reading level of ten basic features of the American system of government: (1) The Constitution of the United States; (2) Separation of Powers; (3) The President of the United States; (4) The Congress of the United States; (5) The Supreme Court of the United States; (6) The Courts; (7) The Jury Process; (8) Basics Rights in a Criminal Proceeding; (9) The Freedom to Engage in Civic Activities; and (10) Voting.

For an interesting look into the workings of the legal system through the eyes of one little girl: Victoria Goes to Court!


Humanitarian and Legal Relief Initiatives
Encouraging and/or providing pro bono legal services, volunteers, partnerships and financial donations to individuals and to organizations working with those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, the earthquake in Mexico, and the wildfires in California. Join in the efforts and help HERE.