February 15, 2017

Washington, D.C. – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is proud to announce the exceptional attorneys who have been selected to receive the prestigious “HNBA Top Lawyers Under 40” Award.  

“We are incredibly proud to honor forty of our best Latino and Latina lawyers and community leaders from across the nation,” said Pedro J. Torres-Díaz, HNBA National President and Principal at Jackson Lewis, P.C. “This year the HNBA received the largest number of nominations in history, surpassing even last year’s record. The number of both nominees and honorees is just another example of the depth and strength of our community in the areas of law and leadership.  

“I want to thank the HNBA Awards Committee for their diligent work during the selection process. Clearly, there is no lack of highly qualified Latino and Latina attorneys for positions of leadership, both in private practice or in public service. We congratulate and encourage these leaders to continue their trailblazing path to personal and professional success, while serving their communities as an example to follow.”

After a rigorous review process and an unprecedented number of nominations, the Awards Committee selected forty highly qualified winners from across the country, the highest number of honorees in the history of the organization, from the highest number of nominations ever submitted. The “Top Lawyers Under 40” Award honors accomplished lawyers who have demonstrated professional excellence, integrity, leadership, commitment to the Hispanic community, and dedication to improving the legal profession. 

The awards will be presented during the 2017 HNBA Corporate Counsel Conference in Miami, FL on Friday, March 31, 2017. The attorneys to receive the 2017 HNBA “Top Lawyers Under 40" Award (listed in alphabetical order) are:

2017 HNBA Top Lawyers Under 40 Recipients

Karim Batista, Principal/Founder, Law Offices of Karim Batista, P.A.
Coral Gables, FL

Karim Batista is the Managing Partner at Karim Batista, P.A. located in Coral Gables, Florida. Karim focuses his practice in the area of family and matrimonial law and has represented clients in dissolution of marriage proceedings; as well as, paternity and appeals. Prior to opening his own practice in 2013, Karim was part of Special Counsel as a legal recruiter. During his time at Florida International University College of Law, Karim interned in numerous departments within the 11th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, including the misdemeanor domestic violence unit and the felonies domestic violence unit. In 2015, Karim was a finalist in the “Top Solo Practitioner” category in the Legal Luminaries Award ceremony presented by the Dade County Bar Association. Karim is involved with the Hispanic National Bar Association and the Family Law Section under the Florida Bar. Karim received his J.D. from Florida International University and his B.A./B.S. from Florida State University.

Victoria Beckman, Associate, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter
Columbus, OH

Victoria Beckman is an attorney with Kegler Brown Hill + Ritter in Columbus, OH, focused in the firm’s litigation, data + privacy, and global practices with an emphasis on Latin America. Victoria assists U.S. and foreign companies in complex commercial litigation, management of information systems, compliance, and data breach responses. She has litigated copyright infringement cases in the construction sector, data security and privacy claims in the banking sector, and breach of contract disputes in the technology sector. Victoria’s fluency in Spanish, unique background and work experience allow her to assist clients – helping them navigate through transnational disputes and issues of foreign law. Before relocating to Ohio with her family, Victoria spent years as a public defender in Arizona, first assigned to capital habeas appeals and later trying major felony cases. Prior to practicing law, she was an industrial engineer in the technology and automotive sectors and a competitive figure skater. Victoria received her J.D. from Arizona State University and her B.S. from Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

Bryan Browning, Partner, Bassford Remele
Minneapolis, MN

Bryan Browning is a shareholder at Bassford Remele, P.A. where he litigates complex commercial, products, and civil cases. Bryan is the 2016-2017 President of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, a Minnesota State Bar Association Council Member and Co-Chair of the MSBA Diversity and Inclusion Council, and the Chair of the 2016 DRI Diversity Corporate Expo. In addition, Bryan serves on the Board of Directors for the University of Minnesota's National Diversity Advisory Board. He is part of the Minnesota Latino Legal Experience team that is being recognized as 2016 Attorneys of the Year by Minnesota Lawyer, is a 2012-2016 Rising Star, a Fellow with the American Bar Foundation, the 2012 DRI Young Lawyers Outstanding Newcomer Award recipient, a 2014 Up & Coming Attorney as selected by Minnesota Lawyer, and the 2016 MDLA Deb Oberlander Award recipient. Bryan received his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School, and his B.A. from Aquinas College.

Denise M. Chanez, Partner, Rodey Law Firm
Albuquerque, NM

Ms. Chanez is a director and shareholder at Rodey, Dickason, Sloan, Akin & Robb, P.A. where her practice is focused on medical malpractice and long term care defense. Her work in this area earned her the designation of “Rising Star” in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of Southwest Super Lawyers. She also has experience in the areas of First Amendment/media law and personal injury. She co-chairs her law firm’s diversity committee and the State Bar of New Mexico’s Committee on Diversity in the Legal Profession. Ms. Chanez is a board member of the New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association and previously served as its president from 2013 to 2015.  She currently chairs the NMHBA’s education, mentorship and scholarship committees. Ms. Chanez was the 2016 State Bar of New Mexico Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year.  She is also a 2015 Albuquerque Business First 40 Under Forty honoree and a 2016 Albuquerque Business First Women of Influence honoree. 

Hon. J. Caroline Chavez, Administrative Law Judge, NY State Department of State, Office of Administrative Hearings
New York, NY

J. Carolina Chavez is an Administrative Law Judge for the New York State Department of State. In that capacity, she presides over applicant appeals and licensee disciplinary hearings in connection with the 33 occupational licenses regulated by the Department of State. Prior to her appointment, Judge Chavez was an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) with the New York County District Attorney’s Office. As an ADA in the Trial Division, Judge Chavez conducted multiple long-term investigations into fraud and narcotics rings in New York City and served as lead prosecutor in over 100 felony cases, taking eight of those cases to jury verdict. Currently, Judge Chavez serves as an Adjunct Professor with the Cardozo Law Lawyering and Legal Writing Program. She is a member of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association, and a member of two HNBA committees. She also volunteers as an Assistant Coach with Columbia University Mock Trial. Judge Chavez received her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her JD from the George Washington University Law School.

Iris Chavira, Assistant Corporation Counsel - Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division, City of Chicago Department of Law
Chicago, IL

 Iris Chavira is an Assistant Corporation Counsel with the City of Chicago Department of Law, where she defends City employees and the City of Chicago in civil rights lawsuits in state and federal court. Prior to joining the City of Chicago Department of Law, Iris served as an Associate General Counsel with the Office of the Illinois Governor. As an Associate General Counsel, Iris managed a portfolio of nine state agencies, focusing on public safety and education, and oversaw the Governor’s executive clemency process, which included making confidential recommendations to the Governor. Iris began her legal career as a prosecutor with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she was assigned to the Civil Actions Bureau and the Juvenile Justice Bureau. Iris is currently the Treasurer for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI), on the Board of Directors for HLAI Charities, and was recently appointed to the DePaul University Alumni Engagement Board. Iris received her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, and her B.A. from DePaul University.  

Melissa Colon-Bosolet, Associate, Sidley Austin LLP
New York, NY

Melissa Colon-Bosolet is a Senior Litigation Associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s New York office. Her practice focuses on a wide spectrum of complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts, as well as the defense and counseling of companies and individuals in investigations and enforcement matters. Melissa has represented clients in numerous industries on a variety of sophisticated commercial disputes, including the defense of antitrust, securities, intellectual property and tort-based claims. Melissa also represents financial institutions, broker-dealers, investment advisers and senior corporate officers in investigations and enforcement matters brought by government agencies and other regulators, including the SEC. Melissa was recognized as a “Rising Star” in New York City in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of Super Lawyers magazine. Melissa is Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Women in the Legal Profession Committee and serves on the Cornell Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors and is vice-president of Latino Lawyers of Cornell.  Melissa received her J.D. from Cornell Law School in 2007, where was she was managing editor of the Cornell Legal Information Institute and note editor for the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy. She graduated from Hunter College in 2003 with a B.A. in Political Science.

Joel Crespo, Associate, King & Spalding LLP
Washington, DC

Joel Crespo is an associate in the Special Matters and Government Investigations practice group in King & Spalding’s Washington, DC office. Mr. Crespo’s practice focuses on white-collar criminal defense, government investigations, and internal corporate investigations. His experience includes defending individuals and companies in investigations by the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and State Attorneys General. Prior to joining King & Spalding, Mr. Crespo was an associate at Skadden where he focused his practice on white-collar defense and business litigation. Mr. Crespo also served as a Planning Commissioner for the City of Santa Ana, California in 2013. He graduated from Boston University School of Law in 2011, where he was an article editor of the Public Interest Law Journal. Mr. Crespo received a B.A. in Criminology, Law & Society and a B.A. in Chicano Studies from the University of California at Irvine. While at UC Irvine, Mr. Crespo served as a reservist in the United States Marine Corps.

Anthony De Yurre, Senior Associate, Bilzin Sumberg
Miami, FL

Anthony De Yurre is an Associate in Bilzin Sumberg's Land Development & Government Relations Group and the International Group. His practice focuses on the representation of real estate developers and investors with an emphasis on land use, zoning and governmental relations, and experience including acquisition financing, complex mixed-use and condominium development, construction financing, debt restructuring, and distressed asset workouts. In addition, Anthony also has experience with complex real estate and corporate litigation and has represented clients in both state and federal court. His litigation background provides him the ability within the Land Development practice to create front-end solutions for clients to avoid future litigation pitfalls. Anthony is an adjunct professor at the University of Miami (U.M.) School of Law in the Real Property Development Program where he teaches problem solving on large scale, mixed-use development issues. A Miami native, he is a committed venture coach assisting start-up businesses at the University of Miami Blackstone Launch Pad business incubator. He is a past honoree of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in Miami-Dade County as an 'Outstanding Lawyer Under 40' and one of only 400 attorneys to have earned a Master of Laws in Real Property Development from U.M. following completion of his Juris Doctor. He earned his J.D. at Vanderbilt University and his B.A. at Duke University. Anthony is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish.

Elizabeth Del Cid, Partner, Murphy & McGonigle, P.C.
New York, NY

Elizabeth Del Cid is a Partner at the law firm of Murphy & McGonigle in New York.   Ms. Del Cid advises broker-dealers, insurance/annuity companies and their agents.  Ms. Del Cid has also handled cases in Spanish.  She has appeared before FINRA arbitrators, federal and state judges at the civil and criminal level, and SEC officers across the U.S.  Apart from handling unsuitability claims, she has defended financial institutions on failure to supervise claims arising from an advisor’s investment recommendations to elders, accredited investors and family trusts.  She has negotiated settlements on behalf of broker-dealers and their officers in the sale of private offerings and variable products.  She counsels supervisors and brokers on outside business activities, registered investment advisory services, and due diligence of REITs, TICs and other securities.  She graduated cum laude from UCLA and on the Dean’s List at the University of Minnesota Law School.  She credits her father with teaching her how to regatear (“bargain” in Spanish).  Ms. Del Cid is a leader of her law firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative and participated in the Collaborative Bar Leadership Academy.  She is admitted to practice law in California and New York.

Kristy M.  Docabo, Managing Associate, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
New York, NY

Kristy M. Docabo is a managing associate in the New York office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  A member of the Real Estate group, her practice entirely focuses on commercial real estate transactions.  Ms. Docabo regularly represents financial services companies, life insurance companies, and institutional and private investors in connection with their acquisition, disposition, financing, re-financing, leasing and joint venture activities involving commercial, mixed-use, retail/shopping center and large-scale/multi-unit residential apartment properties throughout the country.  She also actively represents one of the nation’s largest and most prominent retailers on matters and transactions involving its existing store facilities.  Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw LLP in 2011, Ms. Docabo served as a law clerk for the Honorable Mark A. Baber, J.S.C., of the Superior Court of New Jersey and for the Honorable Freda L. Wolfson, U.S.D.J., of the United States District Court, District of New Jersey.  

Mauricio España, Partner, Dechert LLP
New York, NY

Mauricio A. España is a partner in Dechert LLP’s New York office. Mauricio focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation and white collar and securities litigation matters. He also has significant experience in bankruptcy-related litigation and also advises on internal corporate investigations, as well as regulatory and state attorneys general investigations. Mauricio has been at the sharp end of some of Dechert’s highest-profile matters, including Fannie Mae’s $11.6 billion settlement with Bank of America, one of the largest private settlements in U.S. history. He has helped guide The Bank of New York Mellon through several multi-billion-dollar matters, all involving trials or hearings, including an $8.5 billion settlement with Bank of America, an $8.7 billion Allowed Claim settlement relating to Residential Capital’s bankruptcy, and other issues arising from ‘hindsight’ scrutiny of banks’ behavior prior to the 2008/09 credit crisis.  Most recently, Mauricio played a significant role in Dechert’s representation of Japanese auto-parts manufacturer Takata, a complex web of investigations, Congressional hearings, and litigation related to airbags.  Mauricio has been recognized as one of Law360’s Rising Stars of 2015, a national list of attorneys under the age of 40 whose legal accomplishments belie their age. He has also been named a Rising Star by the New York Law Journal in 2015, which is awarded to 50 outstanding attorneys under 40 who have made an impression on their colleagues, their clients, and the larger legal community. He was one of only five lawyers recognized for his work in the Securities area. He was also recognized between 2012 through 2016 as a New York “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers for Securities Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense and Business Litigation. Mauricio has also been named a Rising Star in Euromoney/Legal Media Group’s Expert Guides series in 2015 and 2016.  The Hispanic Executive also highlighted Mauricio’s white-collar practice and commitment to pro bono representation in its article titled, "White Collar Lawyer, Blue Collar Advocate."  Mauricio serves on the Board of Directors of LatinoJustice PRLDEF and was recently selected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Fordham Law Alumni Association.  He graduated from Fordham Law School (J.D. order of the coif, cum laude) and New York University (B.A. cum laude).

Matthew Fernandez Konigsberg, Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance Department of State, New York State
Brooklyn, NY

Matthew Fernandez Konigsberg is Special Counsel for Ethics, Risk and Compliance at the Department of State, State of New York. Mr. Konigsberg previously served as a senior associate attorney at a commercial litigation firm focusing on first-party property coverage, casualty/ liability litigation, subrogation recovery, as well as other types of commercial litigation. Before joining Foran Glennon, he was appointed as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the New York City Law Department in the Manhattan Trial Unit, where he held a hybrid position as a pre-trial and trial attorney.

He is the current Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association – Region II (New York). Before this, he served as Deputy Regional President from 2012-2016, including on the Region’s Judiciary Committee.  His bar association leadership began as a Trustee at Large for the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey from 2010-2013, where he was the chair of the E-Communications Committee and served on the Scholarship Committee. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of ASPIRA of New York, Inc., a Hispanic non-profit organization working to foster educational excellence and civic responsibility among young Latinos. Before joining the Board, Matthew served as pro bono Legal Counsel, counseling ASPIRA’s Rockland County Board on diverse legal issues. He has served on the Housing Court Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and as a volunteer attorney with the Housing Court’s volunteer lawyer program. He is an authorized public arbitrator with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and a volunteer arbitrator with the Civil Court of the City of New York.  Most recently, he was a 2016 Fellow with the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP). Mr. Konigsberg has a B.A. from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from Rutgers School of Law - Newark.

Javier F. Flores, Partner, Manion Gaynor & Manning LLP
Boston, MA

Javier Flores is a Partner in Manion Gaynor & Manning’s Boston office, and a member of the firm’s Complex Litigation Group. Javier is a practiced litigator with significant experience defending a wide variety of civil matters, including product liability, food-borne illness, class action, and premises liability claims. He has successfully litigated cases throughout the country on behalf of a broad range of defendants, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses. Additionally, Javier serves as chair of both his firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the HNBA’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section.  Furthermore, he is a 2017 Fellow of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and has been a featured speaker on topics of diversity and litigation practice. Javier received his B.A. from Kenyon College and his J.D. with Honors from the University Of Connecticut School of Law.

Steve Flores, Partner, Winston & Strawn LLP
Chicago, IL

Steve Flores is a partner in Winston & Strawn’s Chicago office concentrating his practice in employee benefits and executive compensation matters. Mr. Flores advises clients of all sizes, both in the public and private sector, on a broad array of employee benefit and executive compensation matters, including IRS and DOL audits, ERISA’s fiduciary and prohibited transaction provisions, HIPAA compliance, health care reform compliance, 409A compliance, PBGC liens and penalties, multi-employer withdrawal liability, and the implementation, administration, and termination of employee benefit plans, including tax-qualified retirement plans, defined benefit pension plans, multi-employer plans, health and welfare benefits, employment and separation agreements, non-qualified deferred compensation arrangements, stock options, and other incentive compensation arrangements.

Mr. Flores also advises clients with employee benefit and executive compensation issues in mergers and acquisitions and lending transactions. Mr. Flores received a B.A. in Political Science in 2003 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a
J.D., magna cum laude, in 2007 from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, where he was associate editor of The Elder Law Journal. Mr. Flores was named a 2017 Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers. Mr. Flores received Winston & Strawn’s Pro Bono Commitment to Service Award and was named a 2015 Alumnus of the Year by Latina/o Law Student Association at the University of Illinois College of Law. In addition, Mr. Flores was selected by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) to participate in its 2016 Fellows Program.

Jason Gavejian, Principal, Jackson Lewis PC
Chester, NJ

Jason C. Gavejian is a Principal in the Morristown, New Jersey office of Jackson Lewis P.C., a member of Privacy, e-Communication and Data Security practice group, and a nationally recognized expert in the field. Jason is a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) with the International Association of Privacy Professionals and has received annual recognition as a Rising Star from Super Lawyers Magazine (2009-2017). Jason is Co-Editor of, and a regular contributor to, the Workplace Privacy Report and his views on privacy and data security topics have been discussed in multiple publications, including but not limited to the National Law Review, Bloomberg BNA, Inc.com, @Law Magazine, Copyright & New Media Law, Risk and Insurance Magazine, LXBN TV, Business Insurance Magazine, and HR.BLR.com. Jason counsels international, national and regional companies on the vast array of privacy and security mandates, preventative measures, policies, procedures, and best practices. This includes requirements under both state and federal law and implementation of some of today’s most cutting edge technologies (e.g. social media, electronic signatures, electronic monitoring, bring your own device programs, and compliance under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act). Jason has extensive counseling and litigation experience representing clients with respect to the issues outlined above as well as more traditional labor and employment matters involving HHS/OCR, state attorneys' general, federal and state courts, the EEOC, the NJDCR, and the DOL.  Jason served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Richard J. Donohue on the Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County. He received his J.D. from Rutgers Law, and his B.S. from The College of New Jersey.

Ela María Hernández, Associate Attorney, Wood & Associates
Miami, FL

Ela María Hernández is an associate attorney at Wood & Associates in Miami, Florida in the office’s litigation division. She represents various insurance carriers in coverage disputes effectively counseling clients on all aspects of litigation and through trial. Prior to joining Wood & Associates, Ms. Hernandez represented policyholders. Ms. Hernandez’ parents instilled in her a commitment to community service. Shortly after arriving to the United States in 1995 from her native Honduras, her parents introduced her to the League Against Cancer/Liga Contra el Cancer, an organization dear to her and which she remains involved with as a Juniors’ Executive Committee member. This commitment has continued driven, in part, by her own immigrant story. She is a founding member of Students Working for Equal Rights (SWER), an organization seeking equal access to education for all students regardless of immigration status, and the current Chair to the Junior League of Miami’s Membership Directory Committee as well as a volunteer attorney representing children in immigration proceedings through the CABA Pro Bono Project and currently serves as HNBA Deputy Vice President of Regions and Affiliates. She further serves as Florida Regional Deputy President and Co-Chair of the Florida Young Lawyers Division. Ms. Hernandez is a product of Miami Dade’s public schools and received her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and her B.A. in Political Science and International Relations from Florida International University.

Charles F.  Kondla, Associate, Kubicki Draper, P.A.
Miami, FL

Charles Kondla is an Associate practicing in the Kubicki Draper’s Miami office. He is an accomplished litigator with experience in complex and multi-party civil litigation. Charles handles a broad range of litigation matters, including construction defect claims, product liability, construction accident claims, condominium association law, tort law, and environmental law. Charles is a zealous advocate for his clients and works diligently to obtain swift and favorable resolution on every case. Charles is a Miami native. He received his B.A. from Florida State University in 2009 and then attained his J.D. from Florida International University in 2013. While in law school, he was a member of the Board of Advocates and participated in the school's judicial externship program, interning for United States District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke.

Javier Lopez, Partner, Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton
Coral Gables, FL

Javier Lopez is a partner in Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton and focuses his expertise in complex litigation. Javier has particular expertise in advising and representing international clients in matters brought in U.S. federal and state courts. He has represented many high-profile internationals individuals in entertainment contract dispute, commercial transactions, and intellectual property matters. Javier has a passion for civil rights and is frequently appointed by courts to represent the interests of the less fortunate against government entities and law enforcement.

In 2007, Javier was honored as a Golden Angel for his support of the Jackson Memorial Foundation through JUNTOS, the philanthropic foundation he co-founded. Since 2005, he has been a member of the Harvard Alumni Association’s Interviewing Committee. From 2010-2015, he was named a “Rising Legal Star” by Florida Super Lawyer’s Magazine, a “Rising Star” by the Daily Business Review and a “Top 40 Under 40” by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He was elected to the Cuban American Bar Association’s Board of Directors in 2009.

Prior to joining Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton, Javier was a legal intern in the White House Counsel’s Office for Alberto Gonzalez where he was very involved in the vetting process for the replacement of then Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Javier also worked at the United States House of Representatives for Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart serving as part of the legal review team for new policy and legislation.

Javier is very active in the South Florida Cuban community and charitable organizations such as the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program.

Julia A. López, Associate, Reed Smith
Princeton, NJ

Julia A. López is an Associate at Reed Smith LLP and member of the Pharmaceutical Complex Litigation Group. She has vast experience in assisting clients in the life sciences industry and concentrates her practice in complex business disputes. Julia also defends pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in mass tort litigation, involving products such as contraceptives and vaginal mesh. Prior to joining Reed Smith, she served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Esther Salas, United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, as well as to the Honorable John E. Wallace, Jr., Retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Her litigation experience coupled with her clerkship experience provide her with distinct experience in resolving disputes at all stages of litigation in both federal and state courts. Among other leadership roles, Julia serves as an HNBA Deputy Regional President for Region III and as the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey’s Vice President of the Northern Region, HNBA Liaison and HNBA Endorsements Committee Chair. Julia received her B.S.B.A. from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

Edward J. Loya, Jr., Counsel, Venable LLP
Los Angeles, CA

Edward J. Loya, Jr. is a counsel in Venable LLP’s Los Angeles, CA office and a member of the firm’s White-Collar Defense and Investigations and Commercial Litigation Practice Groups. He represents companies and individuals in internal investigations, white-collar enforcement and regulatory matters, and general civil litigation. As part of his community involvement, he serves as outside counsel to the Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles County, California, and oversees Venable’s participation in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Fellow Program. Prior to joining Venable, Edward served with distinction as a federal prosecutor in the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC, where, on a nationwide basis, he investigated and prosecuted public corruption matters at all levels of government.An experienced trial lawyer, Edward has successfully tried more than 20 criminal jury and bench trials in state and federal courts and served as trial counsel in, among other high-profile cases, the final trial arising from the FBI’s historic police corruption investigation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, known as “Operation Guard Shack.” For his work in the Justice Department, he received the Criminal Division’s Distinguished Service Award, the Justice Department’s Special Achievement Award, and the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency’s Award for Excellence in Investigation. Prior to joining the Justice Department, Edward served as a law clerk to Judge Harris Hartz of the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and to Judge S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. He received his J.D. from Stanford Law School and his B.A. from the University of California, San Diego.

Anna M. Lozoya, In-House Counsel, Maida Valle LLC
Chicago, IL

Anna M. Lozoya is in house counsel for a real estate investment firm in Chicago. Ms. Lozoya handles all aspects of commercial and residential real estate transactions and represents the firm in all legal matters including but not limited to condominium law, regulatory matters, and evictions. Ms. Lozoya also advises executives and management of potential legal exposures and develops strategic solutions to minimize risks. Anna recently joined the Law Offices Michael V. Favia & Associates as of Counsel, where she consults on regulatory matters with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and the Illinois Department of Public Health and provides medical chart examinations and analysis for plaintiff and defense.
Prior to her in house position, Ms. Lozoya worked as a worker’s compensation defense attorney. Ms. Lozoya worked as a credit union auditor for a CPA firm in Miami before attending the University of Miami’s School of Nursing and Health Studies. Ms. Lozoya graduated from DePaul University’s College of Law in 2012. Ms. Lozoya currently holds the position of recording secretary of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Region IX Deputy President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), and is a Council Member of the Health Law Committee of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

John E.  Mancebo, Partner, LeClairRyan, PC
New York, NY

John Mancebo is a partner at the national law firm of LeClairRyan. Resident in the firm’s New York City office, he represents public and private companies in a variety of employment and business litigation matters. John also devotes part of his practice to serving clients in Latin America, advising both U.S. and foreign clients on their business ventures in the Dominican Republic, where he was born, as well as Latin American corporations with legal needs in the U.S. John is also the co-founder of The Water Street Club, a network of diverse insurance industry professionals, and the founder of PARAGON – Diverse Attorney Panel, organizations which work together to increase diversity in the legal and insurance industries. While growing up in New York John played ice hockey, and now enjoys volunteering for Ice Hockey in Harlem, where he coaches and mentors inner city youth on their opportunities on and off the ice, and often shares with students the importance of higher education and why he became a lawyer.

Sulema Medrano Novak, Partner, SmithAmundsen LLC
Chicago, IL

Sulema Medrano is at SmithAmundsen LLC and a member of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  With a practice in the competitive field of commercial litigation, Sulema has earned a steady stream of devoted clients, clients who recognize that this young lawyer’s combination of tenacity and legal knowledge is a rarity. Among the litigation she routinely handles, Medrano has successfully defended Fortune 25 companies in several matters, including complex breach of contract disputes, spoliation and extra-contractual claims, and has advised various corporate clients in actions alleging breach of fiduciary duty, consumer fraud and misrepresentation claims. Prior to joining the firm, Sulema worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office where she divided her time as an assistant state’s attorney between the domestic violence division and the criminal appeals division. As an Assistant State’s Attorney, Sulema tried more than 24 bench trials and won more than 18 criminal appellate briefs and motions.  Sulema sets herself apart with her commitment to her profession and community. She regularly mentors young associates at Chicago’s SmithAmundsen and is a member of the firm’s diversity committee. Sulema currently serves as a Latina Commissioner and Region IX President for the HNBA. In addition, Sulema volunteers for the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, which provides resources for victims of domestic violence. She is a host committeewoman with the network, a role in which she promotes events to raise money for the organization.  Sulema received her J.D. from Chicago Kent College of Law and her B.A. from Michigan State University. 

Jessica Mendez, Associate, Armstrong Teasdale
St. Louis, MO

Jessica Mendez is a member of Armstrong Teasdale’s Intellectual Property practice in St. Louis, Missouri. Recognized as one of the top Intellectual Property attorneys in Missouri and Kansas by Super Lawyers®, Mendez counsels brand owners in matters involving trademark selection, clearance, registration, and enforcement. In Intellectual Property Litigation matters, Mendez represents clients in disputes involving infringement of patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets pending in state, federal, and appellate courts throughout the United States. She is also actively involved in the legal community and Hispanic community. Mendez serves as president emeritus, and was a founding member, of the Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis.  She is also General Counsel to the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan St. Louis. In her spare time, Mendez volunteers with the Hispanic Educational, Cultural, and Scholarship Fund to help raise money for college scholarships for Hispanic high school students. Recently, she received the Women’s Justice Rising Star Award, which recognizes women who have demonstrated leadership, integrity, sacrifice, and accomplishment to exemplify the highest ideals of the legal profession. Mendez received her LL.M. in Intellectual Property and J.D. from Washington University School of Law. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and English, cum laude, from Boston University.

Uriel A. Mendieta, Partner, Hunton & Williams LLP
Miami, FL

Uriel A. Mendieta is a partner at Hunton & Williams LLP in the Miami office. Uriel’s practice focuses on general corporate representation, including mergers and acquisitions, structured finance, and national and international project finance.  Uriel has represented a wide variety of public and private clients, including those in the following industries: financial services, real estate, telecommunication, internet advertising, health care, premium spirits and retail brands and transportation infrastructure. His clients have ranged from start-up operations to Fortune 500 companies. Uriel is recognized among leaders in his field and most recently was listed among "Latin America's Rising Legal Stars: Partners to Watch" by Latinvex, a key international attorney in the “Latin Lawyer 250” by Latin Lawyer and named one of M&A Advisor’s Emerging Leaders in 2016. He has been part of the team highlighted by Chambers and Partners for "Corporate & Finance” in International work in the Chambers Latin America Awards 2015, “Counsel in Latin America - Law Firm of the Year" 2014, Corporate & Finance – “International Counsel in Latin America” Law Firm of the Year, 2013, and “Awards for Excellence - Latin American Investment" in 2009. Uriel received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and his B.A. and M.A. in International Business from the University of Florida.

Martha R. Mora, Partner, Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri LLP
Coral Gables, FL

Martha Mora is an accomplished commercial litigator and a partner at Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri LLP, a minority law firm in Coral Gables, Florida, specializing in domestic and international business transactions and disputes.  Martha routinely represents businesses in complex commercial disputes concerning contracts, fraud, class action defense, e-discovery, information technology, banking, mergers & acquisitions and real estate, as well as in leading confidential corporate investigations in the United States and abroad. As a Cuban American fluent in Spanish, Martha is also experienced in disputes concerning business transactions in Latin America and in representing foreign clients doing business in the United States. Martha is a long-time member of the HNBA with a proven record of service to the profession. Martha is serving her fourth consecutive term on the HNBA’s Latina Commission, was awarded the 2015 “Distinguished Services Award” by the HNBA Region VIII (FL) for her service to the Miami Hispanic community, serves as Chair of a Florida Bar Grievance Committee, and is an appointed Florida Bar arbitrator for attorney-client fee disputes. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Martha was born and raised in Miami and, after graduating from Georgetown Law, started her career as a law clerk for Justice Fred Lewis of the Florida Supreme Court and then practiced for several years at an AmLaw 100 law firm before joining several partners in leaving to establish their current law firm which Martha helped grow to over 20 attorneys in six practice areas. Martha has also been recognized as a top lawyer in her field by several organizations, including Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. 

Juan Morado, Jr., General Counsel, State of Illinois, Health Facilities and Service Review Board
Chicago, IL

Juan Morado Jr. serves as the General Counsel and Ethics Officer to the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board (HFSRB).  Juan also served in Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s administration from 2013-2015. Juan’s last appointment was as a Deputy Chief of Staff where he served as the Governor’s Senior Advisor on Transportation and Infrastructure Policy. Juan was also an adviser on healthcare, economic development and employment issues facing the Latino community in Illinois. Juan’s first appointment in Governor Quinn’s administration was as an Associate General Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel where he was responsible for overseeing a portfolio of 10 state agency legal teams. Before joining the Governor’s office, Juan served as an Assistant General Counsel for the HFSRB from 2011-2013. Juan began his legal career as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago. Juan is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, Berwyn Masonic Lodge, and the SLB Chicago Alumni Association. Juan is in his third term as the Communications Secretary of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI) and is a past winner of the HLAI President's Award. Juan is an active member on the boards of several non-profit organizations including the Teatro Vista Honorary board, ASPIRA of Illinois, Inc., the National Mexican Fine Arts Museum Auxiliary Board and is the founder of 30th Ward United.

Glenn Nieves, General Counsel, Vice President - Government Affairs and Corporate Secretary, Wilcon
Los Angeles, CA

Mr. Nieves is general counsel, vice president of government affairs, and corporate secretary for Wilcon, the largest privately held fiber optic network provider in Southern California. Mr. Nieves oversees all legal, regulatory, human resources and government affairs matters. Mr. Nieves has been recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine for his in-house counsel achievements as well as his commitment to mentoring first generation law students. Additionally, he has been recognized as a “Leader in Law” by the LA Business Journal. Prior to joining Wilcon, Mr. Nieves was in private practice with the law firms Reed Smith LLP and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. He is admitted to practice law in California. Mr. Nieves received his J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Adria Perez, Partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
Atlanta, GA

Adria Perez focuses her practice on representing both corporations and individuals in white collar criminal defense matters, government enforcement issues, as well as internal, criminal and SEC investigations. Her experience includes handling issues relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, False Claims Act (including government contracting, healthcare and tax matters), Civil Investigative Demands and export enforcement. Ms. Perez assists clients in responding to inquiries from and government investigations conducted by the DOJ, SEC, OCC and Office of Inspector General from a variety of federal agencies. She also counsels clients on developing and strengthening compliance programs and policies.
Ms. Perez was recognized as a 2011 “40 Under 40” Rising Leader by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. In 2016 and the four years immediately preceding, Super Lawyers magazine recognized Ms. Perez as a Georgia "Rising Star" in the area of White Collar Criminal Defense. She was selected as an “On the Rise” honoree in 2016 by the Daily Report. In 2013 and 2014, Ms. Perez was listed as a Georgia Trend "Legal Elite" in the area of Criminal Law.

Maria Piva, Associate, Richards Goldstein LLP
Coral Gables, FL

Maria Piva is an associate attorney at Richards Goldstein LLP. She represents and counsels domestic and international clients in different arenas, including litigation in State and Federal courts, alternative dispute resolution, and transactional and compliance matters. Maria primarily practices in the areas of commercial and aviation law, but has represented clients in a wide range of matters including construction law cases and arbitration proceedings before a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel. Maria graduated with honors from Emory University of School Law after receiving her B.A. in political science from Florida International University. She is now a Deputy Regional President for Region VIII of the Hispanic National Bar Association and Co-Chair of the Region’s Young Lawyers Division.  

Lillian A. Plata, Member, McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC
Roseland, NJ

Lillian A. Plata, Esq. is a General Partner at the law firm of McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, L.L.C.  Lillian is the head of her firm’s Tax Department and serves on the Executive Management Team.  Lillian specializes in the area of tax and structured finance.  Prior to joining McManimon, Scotland & Baumann, LLC, Lillian practiced tax and structured finance in the Global Infrastructure Department at Fulbright & Jaworski, LLP in New York.  Lillian provides tax and structuring advice to corporations, partnerships, developers, non-profits and government entities on an array of complex financings with a focus on syndicating Low Income Housing Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits as well as other federal and local tax credit programs.  She has been instrumental in advising clients on the best way to leverage both public and private sources of funding.  Lillian is also involved in various professional, community and political activities.  She is currently the Vice President of the Neighborhood House Association and serves as a Director on the Don Pedro Development Corporation Board.  She was a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Ethics Committee, District XII and has served as a Region III Deputy Regional President of the Hispanic National Bar Association.  In 2016, Lillian received the “Building the Bench Award” from Emerge New Jersey, and in 2015, she received the Engagement Award from Leadership Newark and the Lawyers’ Award from the Tri-County Scholarship Fund.  Lillian received her Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Taxation from New York Law School, her Juris Doctorate from Rutgers University School of Law – Newark and her B.A. from Drew University in 1999.  She is admitted to practice law in the states of New Jersey, New York and the District of Columbia.

Raymond A. Ramirez, Associate, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
Washington, DC

Ray serves as Regional President for Region V of the Hispanic National Bar Association.  He is an associate in Eversheds Sutherland’s Washington, DC office and represents clients in matters related to derivatives and structured products. He advises government-sponsored enterprises, insurance companies, publicly-traded commodity funds, energy companies and electric cooperatives that are derivatives end-users with respect to derivatives trading and compliance with the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulations. In particular, Ray counsels clients on how they may be impacted by the new regulatory regime imposed on the over-the-counter derivatives market by the Dodd-Frank Act and assists them in negotiating documentation and developing internal policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new requirements.
Ray is a member of Eversheds Sutherland (US)'s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Eversheds Sutherland (US)'s Hiring Committee.  Ray received his J.D. from Pace University School of Law, a M.S. with distinction from Mercy College and his B.A. from Boston College.

Freddy Saavedra, Shareholder, Alex & Saavedra, P.C.
Phoenix, AZ

Freddy Saavedra is a shareholder at Alex & Saavedra, P.C., a plaintiff’s personal injury litigation firm in Phoenix, Arizona. He is an AV Rated attorney and represents victims of negligence in construction accidents, products liability, motor vehicle accidents, and wrongful death litigation. Prior to practicing law Mr. Saavedra served 11 years in the U.S. Army. His duty stations included Rose Barracks in Bad Kreuznach, Germany and Ft. Bragg in North Carolina. He deployed as part of Stabilisation Force (SFOR) to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1997-98 and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF1) in Iraq in 2003-04. Mr. Saavedra received his undergraduate degree from Arizona State University with a focus on Computer Networking in 2009. He received his J.D. from ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in 2013.
Mr. Saavedra and his firm are committed to public service. He is currently the HNBA Regional President for Region XIV (Arizona and Nevada) and he was recognized as one of the Top Pro Bono Attorneys by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education.

Edgar Saldivar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU of Texas
Houston, TX

Edgar Saldivar is senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas, an affiliate of the National ACLU. Saldivar defends the civil rights and liberties of ACLU clients in high impact litigation in state and federal courts throughout Texas. Prior to joining the ACLU, Saldivar was a commercial litigator in private practice for twelve years, handling a variety of complex, multi-party lawsuits. After an accomplished career in the private sector, Saldivar yearned to fight “the good fight” and use his talents to pursue justice and equality for the most vulnerable and underserved in our society. In the last year, Saldivar helped the ACLU of Texas secure significant victories for civil rights, including two record-breaking settlements against the federal government that resulted in changes to immigration enforcement policies at the border. Most recently, following a successful legal challenge by the ACLU staying the president’s Muslim ban, Saldivar led the team of volunteer lawyers at Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport in the broad effort to prevent constitutional violations of travelers affected by the ban and protesters standing in solidarity with immigrants and refugees. Aside from litigation, Saldivar gives presentations to vulnerable communities on their constitutional rights and has become a go-to civil rights lawyer for the Spanish-language news media, providing commentary on topics of state and national interest. The son of Mexican immigrants, Saldivar received his J.D. from the University of Houston Law Center and his A.B., cum laude, from Harvard University.

Jessica S. Sanchez, General Counsel, Tempe School Districts (Kyrene Elementary School District, Tempe Elementary School District, and Tempe Union High School District)
Tempe, AZ

Jessica Sanchez has been the General Counsel for the three Tempe, Arizona school districts (Tempe Elementary, Kyrene Elementary, and Tempe Union High School District) since June 2014.  Prior to becoming the General Counsel, Ms. Sanchez was a partner and associate at Udall Shumway, PC. Ms. Sanchez has focused her practice solely in the area of education law, representing school districts and charter schools throughout the State. Ms. Sanchez routinely presents at conferences and seminars throughout the Arizona. Ms. Sanchez is active in both the Maricopa County Bar Association and in the State Bar of Arizona. Ms. Sanchez has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association, an affiliate of the HNBA, since 2007.  In 2013, Ms. Sanchez received the “Emerging Leader Award” from Los Abogados and served as the President of the organization in 2016.  Ms. Sanchez is committed to public education and in various pipeline and diversity initiatives. Ms. Sanchez is happily married to Edward Solares and the proud mother of Jacob Solares.

Haydee Sera, Attorney, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L.
Coral Gables, FL

Haydee Sera is an associate in Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L.’s Coral Gables, Florida office and a member of the Municipal Government Law practice. As counsel to local municipalities, Haydee drafts and reviews proposed legislation, resolutions, and agreements on a variety of matters including elections, ethics, land use and zoning, procurement, and public records. Prior to joining the firm, Haydee was the Assistant Town Attorney for the Town of Miami Lakes where, among other things, she served as counsel to the Town’s Planning and Zoning Board, Charter Revision Commission, and advisory committees. Haydee represented the Town in various civil matters including Chapter 119 public records litigation and interpretation of the Town’s Charter. In addition to her municipal experience, Haydee has represented domestic and international clients in probate and guardianship administration and litigation, and commercial litigation matters. Haydee received her J.D. (2009) and BBA (2006) from the University of Miami.

Jason Torres, Senior Counsel, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Chicago, IL

Jason is a Senior Counsel in Seyfarth Shaw’s Chicago office, and a member of  the Labor & Employment department. Jason is a member of Seyfarth’s Diversity & Inclusion Action Team, and he has served on Seyfarth’s Hiring Committee and as head of the Associate Mentoring Committee. Jason is national employment counsel to several Fortune 100 companies and has successfully represented management through all stages of labor and employment litigation, including as lead trial, arbitration, and appellate counsel. In 2012, Jason was seconded to Accenture and managed all of Accenture’s employment litigation in North America. Jason is a member of the federal trial bar and is an adjunct professor of law in the Trial Advocacy program at Northwestern University. Jason seeks to support the legal community through his volunteer and pro bono practices, representing clients in asylum and immigration proceedings through the National Immigration Justice Center and serving on the Board for the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund and the Dinner Board for the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund. Jason received his B.S. and J.D. from Indiana University, where he was four-year letter winner in baseball.

Lola Velazquez-Aguilu, Assistant United States Attorney, United States Department of Justice
Minneapolis, MN

Lola is an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota and is assigned to the white-collar and public corruption section of the criminal division.  Lola has been an Assistant United States Attorney since 2010 and in that time has prosecuted large-scale financial crimes including bank fraud conspiracies, mortgage fraud, investment fraud, embezzlement, and tax fraud.  Before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office, Lola was an associate at Dorsey and Whitney where she represented civil litigants and criminal defendants charged with white-collar crimes.  Lola also clerked for Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan C. Page and U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery.  Lola received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, where she was the first student of color to ever serve as Editor-in-Chief of the Wisconsin Law Review.  Lola is an active member of the Federal Bar Association and the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, and she currently serves as the Fourth District attorney member of the Minnesota Commission on Judicial Selection.  Lola is also the President of the Infinity Project, which works to increase the gender diversity of the judiciary throughout the Eighth Circuit with a specific emphasis on women of color. 

Ashley Villaverde Halvorson, Associate, Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, PLC
Phoenix, AZ

Ashley Villaverde Halvorson is an Associate at Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, where she concentrates on bad faith and insurance coverage, as well as wrongful death and personal injury defense. Ms. Halvorson received her law degree from Arizona State University College of Law in 2009, and is admitted to practice in Arizona. Prior to joining her current firm, she interned for Rep. Ed Pastor, U.S. House of Representatives, former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, Hon. Mary Murguía, U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and Hon. Jon W. Thompson, Arizona Court of Appeals. Ms. Halvorson is the Chair of her firm’s Diversity Legal Writing Program, and serves as the Vice President of Los Abogados, Arizona’s Hispanic Bar Association. Ms. Halvorson also served a three-year term on the State Bar of Arizona’s Minorities and Women in the Law Committee.  As a member of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, she serves on both the diversity and mentorship committees. Since 2013, she has made the Thompson Reuter’s Southwest Rising Stars list. Ms. Halvorson is passionate about promoting diversity within the legal profession, and about the advancement of the Latino community.