UC Hastings La Raza Co-Hosts NLLSA Conference

UC Hastings La Raza is co-hosting the National Latina/Latino Law Student Conference March 5-7 with students at Berkeley Law La Raza. The national conference draws more than 300 students, attorneys, and academics from around the country.

The three-day conference includes a moot court competition, workshops, law firm tabling, distinguished panels, networking event, and a gala. UC Hastings will host the moot court competition March 5-6, as well as a networking reception in the Skyroom March 6 at 7 p.m., where Los Angeles County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia is scheduled to speak, along with attorneys from event sponsors Wilson Sonsini and Covington & Burling.

“This is the first time UC Hastings La Raza will be hosting this very important conference for our ‘gente Latina,’” said 2L Anthony Rascón, Co-President of UC Hastings La Raza. “This is a phenomenal opportunity for our Latino students to grow their networks and learn from their peers at a national level.”

Some 60 students belong to UC Hastings La Raza. The group has a powerful UC Hastings alumni network. “Our goal from the start this year has been to grow the legacy of La Raza by putting more of our people in positions of power to ensure that our voices are heard. So what better way to do that than at the national level?”

“This conference promises to be an excellent event that would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of our brilliant board working in tandem with Berkeley’s La Raza and NLLSA,” Rascón said.

Speakers at the 23rd annual conference include Latino attorneys in leadership positions in-house, in law firms, from nonprofits, and from academia. The conference concludes with a Saturday evening gala at the Rotunda Building in Oakland, with keynote speaker Arturo Gonzalez, a partner with Morrison & Foerster.

Other speakers include Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Berkeley Law; U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers; Willie Hernandez, Counsel at Hewlett Packard Enterprise; Dorothy Fernandez, Pro Bono Counsel at Morrison & Foerster; and Fred Rivera, General Counsel of the Seattle Mariners.

As a final comment, Rascón had this message of unity: “Teniendo NLLSA y La Raza en solaridad, seguiremos rompiendo barreras y marcando un nuevo futuro para nuestra raza.” (By having NLLSA and La Raza in solidarity, we will keep on breaking barriers and pave a new path for Latinos.)

Attendees can register for the conference here. Those interested in attending only the March 6, 7 p.m., networking reception in the UC Hastings’ Skyroom, please register here. The registration fee for the networking event—$10 for students and $30 for professionals—includes a corporate law firm panel plus open bar and appetizers.

History of NLLSA

While attending the 1996 Summer Law Institute in Guanajuato, Mexico, Latina and Latino student leaders held a series of meetings where they shared their struggles in law school. The culmination of these meetings was the resolution to hold a National Latina/Latino Law Student Conference. The Mexican-American Law Student Association (MALSA) at the University of New Mexico took on the responsibility of hosting this inaugural event in October 1997.

The conference was organized in part to confront alarming drops in enrollment of students of color in law school due to Proposition 209, which amended the California state constitution to prohibit state governmental institutions engaging in affirmative action, as well as Hopwood v. Texas, a Fifth Circuit case that found the use of race in college admissions was unconstitutional.

The goals of the first conference in 2003 at UCLA Law and this year’s conference remain: 1) to build long-lasting relationships between future Latina and Latino attorneys; 2) to increase awareness of pressing issues affecting the Latino community both within and without the context of the law; and 3) to strengthen our respective Latina and Latino law student organizations.