The Latina Commission serves the community and the legal profession by addressing barriers to the professional development and advancement of Latina lawyers. The Commission develops programs and strategies for Latina lawyers and students to overcome barriers to entry and advancement into the profession.


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.



Currently, Latinas comprise 2% of all lawyers even though they represent nearly one in five women in the United States. If you are interested in working with the Commission or helping to promote the advancement of Latina Lawyers here is what you can do:

  • Collaborate with the Latina Commission to host a Regional Latina Leadership Academy in your city or region.  The Commission has developed a virtual or in-person program that can be modified and presented 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:
  • Host a Pearls of Wisdom program.  Work with Commissioners to present to your local high school or grammar school Latina students a virtual or in-person panel of Latina lawyers who will discuss their experiences, overcoming challenges and entry into the law.
  • 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:



The Latina Leadership Academy and the Latina Executive Leadership Program offer curriculum specifically developed for Latina attorneys and draws from a significant body of research from both the Commission and other leading organizations. The programs address areas identified as key to shattering glass ceilings and securing the advancement and long-term success of Latina lawyers—the most underrepresented group in the legal profession. Currently, Latinas comprise 2% of all lawyers even though they represent nearly one in five women in the United States.  To help advance Latinas in the profession, this year the Commission will be presenting two leadership programs and we invite eligible women to apply. For more information, please click here.



Now Accepting Nominations!

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 creating access to opportunities historically closed to Latinas, and has been licensed for 25 years or more. Retired attorneys are eligible for nomination. The award will be presented at the 2023 HNBA/VIA Annual Convention.

Nomination Deadline: June 30, 2023

Eligibility Criteria

The Latina has practiced law for a minimum of twenty-five (25) years; andThe 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 or be actively practicing law. Retired attorneys are eligible for nomination.


Submission Requirements

  • Nomination Form: Complete and submit the online nomination form.Nominee’s Resume: Include the nominee’s resume or biography, describing her background and contributions.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 SubmissionsArticles/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

The nomination online form and your supporting materials constitute the sole basis for the nomination. Materials will not be returned.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.Nominations can be submitted online at: are to be uploaded with your online nomination form at the time of submission.Current Commission members or liaisons are not eligible for the Award for the duration of their terms and for three years following service.

Past Honorees

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.

2019-2020 Latina Commission Roster – Coming soon…