Latina Commission

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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.


The Hispanic National Bar Association’s Latina Commission is seeking candidates interested in serving on the Commission for the 2022-2023 HNBA Association year. Members of the Commission are appointed by the President to serve for one full year. Commission membership is open to women who are members in good standing of the HNBA and wish to contribute to the Commission’s mission.

The deadline for submission of applications is by 6:00pm PT on Friday, August 26th.

Please fill out the nomination/self-nomination application and send it to with the subject line “Latina Commission Nomination” by no later than 6:00pm PT on Friday, August 26th.



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


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.



Primeras Abogadas Award
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 opening-up 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 2022 HNBA/VIA Annual Convention.

Nomination Deadline: July 29, 2022


Eligibility Criteria

  • The Primera Abogada Nominee has practiced law for a minimum of twenty five (25) years.
  • The Primera Abogada Nominee:
    1. is a pioneer in her field;
    2. has achieved professional excellence in her field; or
    3. has a demonstrable record of contributing to or assisting members of her community, including at least one of the following:
      • The Primera Abogada Nominee has influenced other Latinas to pursue legal careers.
      • The Primera Abogada Nominee has opened doors for Latina lawyers in a variety of job settings historically closed to them.
      • The Primera Abogada Nominee has advanced opportunities for Latinas within a practice area or segment of the profession.
      • The Primera Abogada Nominee has made significant contributions to the legal profession.
      • The Primera Abogada Nominee has made significant contributions to the Latino community as a direct result of her legal work.
  • The Primera Abogada Nominee is not required to be an active member of the HNBA or be actively practicing law. Retired attorneys are eligible for nomination.
  • Current Latina Commission members or liaisons are not eligible for the Award for the duration of their terms and for three years following service.

Submission Requirements

  • The following documents and submission forms must be fully completed and timely submitted online:
    • Primera Abogada Nomination Form.
    • Primera Abogada Nominee’s Resume to include a full biography, describing the nominee’s background and contributions.
    • A description of Primera Abogada Nominee’s eligibility criteria.
      • Description must include specific examples of how the nominee meets the criteria detailed above.
      • Description may not exceed two typed pages and must be double-spaced in 12-pt font.
  • The following documents are optional for submission:
    • Letters of Support or Recommendation: No more than five letters of support from individuals or organizations may be submitted in support of a nominee. If more than five letters are submitted, the Commission staff will determine which letters will be included with the final nomination packet to be considered by Commission members.
    • Articles: No more than 10 news or magazine articles written by or about the candidate may be submitted in support of a nominee.
  • The nomination online form and supporting materials constitute the sole basis for the nomination. Materials will not be returned.



Submission Address

Nominations and supporting documentation can be submitted by July 29, 2022 online at:


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…


Latina Commission Chair
Bentonville, Arkansas


Latina Commission Chair
Houston, TX