HNBA VIA (Vision in Action) Fund
ABOUT HNBA VIA
The HNBA VIA Fund [formerly known as the HNBA Legal Education (LEF) Fund] is the Hispanic National Bar Association’s 501(c)3 charitable arm. HNBA VIA, and as a joint enterprise with the HNBA, works to empower the U.S. Latino community, a historically underrepresented group of persons in many industries including the legal profession, through programs and initiatives that expand their access, influence, and contributions in the areas of legal services, leadership, education and career advancement. Through a combination of targeted programmatic activities (i.e., programs, presentations, initiatives, training, pro bono services and others), as well as educational conferences in collaboration with the Hispanic National Bar Association, VIA works to support the development and advancement of diverse students, legal professionals and community members.
HNBA VIA & HNBA JOINT ENTERPRISE PROGRAMS & INITIATIVES
SU FUTURO (Your Future): Education, Mentoring & Pipeline
Su Futuro suite of programs, events and initiatives impact the elementary to law school pipeline, as well as diverse law students, lawyers and other legal professionals at all stages of their careers. Through a unique combination of programs and initiatives, Su Futuro suite is focusing on students of all ages in order to ensure a robust pipeline of exceptionally prepared and qualified Latinx Lawyers. 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 approximately $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 July of 2013, 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 25 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 75% of participants who have graduated from law school are now working in legal positions related to IP law.
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 (Your Career): Career Development & Leadership Training
Su Carrera suite of programs, events, and initiatives offer robust career advancement training and opportunities, from continuing legal education (CLE) sessions and plenaries 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.
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.
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.
Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy (CBLA)
This innovative program is a collaborative effort among the American Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, National Bar Association, National LGBT Bar Association, National Native American Bar Association, and National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. The CBLA strengthens the pipeline of diverse bar association leaders through leadership training and professional development programs. The CBLA benefits current and future bar leaders, the bar association community, and the legal profession overall, and lays the foundation for further collaborative efforts, while fostering diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
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.
LGBT Leadership Summit
The annual Summit focuses on assessing who LGBT Latinx legal professionals are and the needs of the LGBT community. The Summit advances the mission of educating on the legal issues facing the Hispanic LGBT community, providing leadership training, and promoting the expertise, advancement, and empowerment of Hispanic LGBT legal professionals.
SU COMUNIDAD (Your Community): Community Information & Outreach
Su Comunidad programs, events and initiatives aim to positively impact the social and economic development of Latinos around the country by offering information, free workshops, and pro bono legal services. As joint enterprises with the HNBA, we encourage our sponsors and friends to get involved in these important efforts that impact millions of Latinos around the country.
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.
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!
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.
HNBA VIA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Alba Cruz-Hacker, President
HNBA VIA Fund
Erica V. Mason, Chair
Constangy, Brooks, Smith, & Prophete
Jennifer Salinas, Vice-Chair
Jessica Massey, Secretary
Monica MacGregor, Treasurer
Berkeley Research Group
Luis Avila, General Counsel
Hispanic National Bar Association
Bryan Browning, Development Director
Josefina Fernandez McEvoy, Independent Director
Los Angeles, CA
Aida C. Rodriguez, Independent Director
Beacon Hill Staffing Group