Latina Commission




The Latina Commission serves the community and the legal profession by identifying and studying 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. The Commission seeks to inform and shape the policies and priorities that affect women lawyers and the legal culture in which they practice, creating forums for the exchange and expression of the views of Latina lawyers, and serving as a voice to advocate for these views.


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 1.47% of all lawyers even though they represent one in four 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:

  • Participate in research about Latina Lawyers. This fall HNBA is working with the ABA on a focus group study about minority women, including Latinas, who have JDs and who have been out of law school for at least 15 years to assess the unique career dynamics facing them and why they stay or leave the profession. To learn more and participate e-mail: You can also contact the Commission for information about additional studies we are participating in.
  • Present a Latina Leadership Academy in your city or region.  The Commission has developed an academy “in-the-box” that you can use to present this program 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.  Reach out to your local high school or grammar school with Latina students and local Latina lawyers.    
  • 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 1.47% of all lawyers even though they represent one in four 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

In 2008, the Commission created the Primeras Abogadas Award to honor the legacy left by the earliest Latina lawyers.  It seeks to honor Latina trailblazers who opened doors for others to follow and honor their unique and lifetime contributions to the legal profession and our community. This award is given annually to a Latina lawyer trailblazer who, licensed for 30 years or more, has achieved great distinction by opening-up opportunities historically closed to Latina attorneys. 


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…

Norma L. Garcia
Latina Commission Chair
Dallas, TX

Grissel Seijo
Latina Commission Vice Chair
Restaurant Brands International
Miami, FL