I am honored to serve as your 23rd President of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and to be given the oath of office by Chief Judge Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois. It was a truly inspiring experience to celebrate with my family and so many of you at the HLAI/HLAI Charities Gala at The Wit Hotel. HLAI honored several worthy awardees at the Gala, the memory of one of the founding members, Mercedes Luque Rosales, our Aguila Award winner Judge Mark Lopez, and we raised money for law student bar exam prep scholarships. I would like to thank our Immediate Past President Martin Quintana for his steadfast leadership of this organization over the past year. We had an excellent working relationship and my transition to the presidency was made seamless because of his efforts. The Gala would not have been possible without our generous sponsors including: our Diamond Sponsor, Benesch, our Platinum Sponsor Quintana Law Group, our Silver Sponsors, IICLE, Drinker Biddle, and Hinshaw and all of our Bronze Sponsors. You can view a complete list of sponsors and the Gala program by clicking HERE.
Over the past 22 years, HLAI has established itself as one of the premiere bar organizations in the state of Illinois. Established in 1995, HLAI was founded when the Mexican American Lawyers Association led by Martin R. Castro and the Latin American Bar Association led by Jorge Montes united to better serve their respective memberships and the Latino community. We are grateful for their vision and foresight that created the organization that we have all come to love.
Our plans for the next year are ambitious, and we will need everyone’s help to make them a reality. Most importantly, we want to hear back from you, the membership. How can we help you attain your goals? Do you want to be judge? Do you want to transition into a new job? Do you want to move from government to a firm, from a firm into public service, or into an entirely new sector? Are you interested in running for public office? Would you like an appointment to a state/city/local board or commission? Would you like to grow your business and connect with other attorneys in your practice area or with in-house counsel? We all have different aspirations but we can only help you if you communicate with us. Together we can deliver on our shared HLAI mission, and achieve our goals. Send me a message directly at email@example.com so that we can work together to make your goals a reality.
This year we will be focusing on bringing to fruition a number of new initiatives and we will continue bringing you the same high quality CLE programming and events that you have come to expect from us. This year we will:
- Launch the Lincoln Juarez Society, which is an effort to re-engage past HLAI Board Members and other prominent members, so that they have the ability to have a direct line of communication with the governing Board, and can continue supporting HLAI and the important work they started.
- Bring you the HLAI Inaugural Golf Outing, to take place on July 20, 2018. You can support this event by purchasing a ticket or sponsorship here.
- Co-Host a symposium, The State of Latinos in the Law on October 12, 2018.
- Launch the HLAI Latina Lawyers Commission to expand on the great work done by our Latina Lawyers Committee, and to give our Latina Lawyers a more prominent voice in our organization moving forward. This year we are proud that our Board is over 50% female and we all look forward to the important work the commission will do this year.
- Have an increased focus on holding law firms, public institutions and corporations accountable for parity in contracting and jobs for HLAI members and the Latino community in general.
- Announce the HLAI Advisory Committee, which will be made up of leaders outside of the legal community who hail from the government, not-for-profit, and corporate sectors. This will afford our organization access and input from other successful leaders in our state.
- Expand our organization footprint by chartering regional chapters of HLAI to ensure that our members throughout the state are supported, and that we stay organized and united.
- Work with other bar associations and allies to foster strategic relationships that will be of value to each organization.
During this bar year, I intend to work hand in glove with President-Elect Leynee Cruz, so that she may benefit from the same seamless transition that I am now afforded.
Together, we are committed to ensuring that every member gets value for their dues. Thank you for being a dues paying member, and my personal call to action for each of you is that you ask a colleague to join our organization by visiting our new website, www.hlai.org and filling out a membership application. Remember that none of this work would be possible without your support.
We have several new Board members this year with experience working on HLAI committees and because of them I am confident that our future as an organization has never been brighter. I thank you for electing me to be your new President. I am humbled to serve you, and I look forward to the 2018-2019 bar year ahead.
Juan Morado Jr.