Hundreds of Latino law students from 33 law schools across the country converged recently in Albuquerque to attend the 12th annual conference of the National Latino/a Law Student Association, hosted by the Mexican American Law Student Association (MALSA) and the UNM School of Law.
In addition to a number of workshops, attendees participated in a moot court competition, a career fair with more than 20 employers from across the country, a community service mentoring event, an environmental justice “toxic tour” and even a poetry slam.
The conference featured New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Edward Chavez (`81), U.S. District Court Judge Mary Murgia of Arizona, Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez, U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici, New Mexico State Auditor Hector Balderas (`01), New Mexico General Services Secretary Arturo Jaramillo, State lawmakers Antonio “Moe” Maestas (`98) and Al Park, former speaker of the New Mexico House of Representatives Raymond Sanchez (`67), New Mexico Supreme Court justices Petra Maes (`73) and Patricio Serna, and Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court judges Ben Chavez (`72) and Maria Dominguez (`95).
Also participating were Dean Leo Romero and UNM law professors Margaret Montoya and Laura Gómez.
UNM law students, with assistance from the UNM School of Law media staff, produced a documentary on the history of MALSA that was shown at the closing awards banquet.
NLLSA is focused on advancing Latino academic success and has a commitment to community service. The student organizers worked on planning the conference for more than a year. The first NLLSA conference was held at the UNM School of Law in 1996 and this was the first time the conference had returned to Albuquerque.