The Boston College Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA), along with recent LALSA graduates, took a leadership role at the recent Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Conference, held in Boston from September 2- 5, 2015.
The conference brought hundreds of prominent judges, attorneys, and public leaders from throughout the country to the city. United States Senator Elizabeth Warren served as the keynote speaker at the Gala. LALSA leaders had the opportunity to meet with Senator Warren (pictured above with Marx Calderon, Allison Henry, Heather Perez, Andrea Clavijo, and Natali Soto).
The conference culminated with a youth symposium where the participants, who were primarily high school students, had the opportunity to have discussions with distinguished panelists, observe a mock trial and simulated deal negotiation.
BC Law alumna Migdalia Iris Nalls, who is also the Vice President of the Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys, was the lead organizer for the Youth Symposium, who aimed to create a program that would inspire young Latinos in Boston to be leaders in our community and encourage them to be a part of the legal profession.
Tasked with organizing the symposium program, LALSA members organized different panels and demonstrations to execute this vision. Current LALSA president Heather Perez ’17 organized and moderated a panel on how to prepare for admission to law school, the importance of internships, and relationship building to jump-start an exciting legal career.
Brandon Rios ’10, a former LALSA student body president and current staff attorney for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, participated in the panel. “It’s inspiring to see so many young people interested in the legal profession,” Rios said. “Far too many students veer from a path toward the law because it all seems too distant or expensive. Events like the HNBA Youth Symposium are particularly important because they demystify the process and encourage students to believe that they can pursue an advanced degree.”
Andrea Clavijo ’16 created a mock trial where Walter Rodriguez ’15, Marx Calderon ’16, and Roxana Ortez ’16 all argued a case in front of Chief Justice of the Boston Municipal Court Roberto Ronquillo, Jr.
Mark Woodroffe ’14 organized a Deal Negotiation demonstration that included Louis Mercedes ‘01, Partner at Jones Day and another Boston College Law School alumnus. The Youth Symposium ended with a leader panel that included Chief Justice Ordonez, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and MBA President Robert Harnais.
“I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of both planning and participating in the Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Conference,” Perez said. “We invested a lot of time and thought in preparation of the Youth Symposium and seeing it come to fruition was especially rewarding. It was a powerful thing to see young Latinos who had never envisioned themselves as lawyers, ask questions to prominent judges and attorneys and start to build confidence in themselves as future lawyers who could really make an impact. I was extremely proud that Boston College law students—along with our alumni—played a role in making that a reality for these young people.”