The CHBA strives to serve its members and the community in a wide variety of ways, including providing networking, business development, referral, mentorship, and award opportunities.
The CHBA focuses on enhancing professional opportunities for Hispanic attorneys, and it does so in part through events where members can meet each other and others in the legal profession. The CHBA sponsors events such as the Annual Awards Dinner, the CHBA Summer Social for members, their families and friends, and other receptions throughout the state. In addition to social and networking events, the CHBA has organized several panels which focus on employment opportunities in the judiciary, the public sector, private practice, and corporate work. Events open to the public are either free, or offered at a reduced rate, to members.
CHBA members have the opportunity to represent the CHBA in numerous collaborative events and activities. The CHBA is a member of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity (“LCD”), which encourages private and public legal employers to set and achieve diversity goals. The CHBA has successfully sponsored a number of events with the LCD, the Hartford County Bar Association, the Connecticut Lawyers’ Group, the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, the Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association and the South Asian American Bar Association. The CHBA has also supported activities of the Hispanic Professional Network, the Connecticut Association of Latin Americans in Higher Education, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and the Society for Hispanic Engineers.
In April of 2008, the CHBA formed a Judicial Selection Committee to look at ways we can increase the number of Hispanic lawyers applying to become a judge, as well as to increase the number of Hispanic lawyers on state boards and commissions. As part of this initiative, the CHBA hosted, at one of its meetings, the Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission, including Chairperson Michael Thompson, Commissioner Robert Ross and Karen Netherton (Manager of the Judicial Selection Commission), who provided an informal orientation about the judicial selection process. Governor M. Jodi Rell also attended a CHBA meeting to discuss her efforts to diversify the judiciary. We continue to push for a larger number of Hispanic attorneys to be nominated to the bench, to be put on the “list” vetted by the Judicial Selection Commission, and to sit on the state’s Judicial Selection Commission, which currently has no Latino members.
Members have exclusive access to the CHBA Directory, which is available online. The Directory serves to enhance communication among members and to provide a source for referrals, employment and business development opportunities.
CHBA members have the opportunity to shape legislation which affects the legal profession. In the past, the CHBA successfully pursued the passage of legislation to require professional training and standards for court interpreters in Connecticut—an issue of great importance to Hispanics in the state. CHBA members have also sought an increase in the number of qualified court interpreters. In addition, CHBA members actively participated in the Task Force on Minority Fairness’ examination of the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities by the court system.
Through its affiliation with the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), CHBA members receive discounts on HNBA membership and increased opportunities for networking nationally.
CHBA recognizes annually, at its Annual Awards Dinner, the achievements of those who have made contributions to the Hispanic community. The CHBA has recognized the achievements of our judges, legislators, administrators, business and community leaders, and others who have contributed to the improvement of the status of the Hispanic community in Connecticut and nationally. Members have the opportunity to nominate award recipients, to contribute to the administration of this program, and to help with fundraising efforts.
CHBA sponsors a scholarship program for law students which has, over the years, awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships. The awards are based on academic excellence and commitment to community service. The Annual Awards Dinner is the primary source of new funding for the CHBA scholarship program. Members have the opportunity to participate in the administration of this program.
The CHBA’s efforts in the community have been recognized in awards bestowed upon members who have led the organization as officers and directors. Among other awards, our officers and directors have received the following awards: 40 Under 40 Outstanding Alumni of the University of Connecticut; Latino of the Year by the Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission; New Leaders of the Law by the Connecticut Law Tribune; the Maria C. Sanchez Community Service Award; the Lawyers’ Collaborative for Diversity Annual Edwin Archer Randolph Diversity Award; the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Connecticut Law School Alumni Association; and the Hartford Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award.