The Hudson Valley Hispanic Bar Association was founded in 2020 to fill an overwhelming need and interest in the county. The group is the first and only Hispanic Bar Association for Hispanic lawyers and legal professionals in the Hudson Valley. Sponsored by the Latino Judges Association and the Westchester County Access to Justice Program, the HVHBA is committed to offering professional and personal assistance for its members, prospective members, law students, and Hispanic attorneys. Its main focus is on professionals in the 3rd and 9th Judicial Districts of New York State—both of which cover the Hudson Valley region, which is 14.2% Hispanic as of 2020.
“We want to address the needs and concerns of both our legal professionals as well as the Hispanic community at large,” says HVHBA Executive Board Secretary, Doralba Lassalle, Esq. The group currently offers professional and personal mentorship to up-and-coming Hispanic lawyers and law students, as well as law-adjacent professionals like paralegals.
“We have a committee that’s dedicated to serving law students,” says Jessica Brenes, Esq., a member of the Public Relations Committee. “I know personally I could have benefited from one when I was coming up as a young lawyer. I’ve been a mentor, so I understand the advantages of one.” The group has already partnered up with the Haub School of Law at Pace University to assist in providing guidance and, in some instances, internship opportunities.
“Many members have their own practices, so they serve as a resourced in multiple areas,” explains Brenes. That assistance extends beyond just law school students and into already established professionals who want to elevate their careers. The group has several judges as members, who bring their heightened area of expertise into the arena. “No one really writes a book or tells you how to become a judge,” says Lassalle, “Our members who are already at the level are more than happy to speak to those who are interested, and guide them towards what steps to take towards obtaining that goal.”
Currently, the group is approaching 100 members. Membership is application-based and available online. For more information, or to apply for membership as a Hispanic lawyer or legal professional, check out the application here or send the organization an email at Hudsonvalleyhispanic@gmail.com.