17th Annual National Latina/o Law Student Association (NLLSA) Conference

NLLSA Conference

Photo: Robert Johnston and RJ Photography

The 17th Annual National Latina/o Law Student Association (NLLSA) Conference attracted over 200 law students from 33 different law schools around the country. They were joined by faculty, practitioners, judges, elected officials, and prominent community leaders from across the U.S. at the State Roundhouse in Santa Fe this fall.

The 2013 Conference theme, "Voces Latinas," embraced the diverse range of views, philosophies and culture that exist within the Latino community through educational programming and networking opportunities. Conference speakers and attendees addressed the latest issues and public policy matters facing minority students at local and national levels.

This year was the third time in NLLSA history that the conference returned to its birthplace in New Mexico after its founding in 1997, when UNM School of Law student founders and visionaries called on students to promote diversity and access to resources in the legal field for minority students on a national scale.

"Today NLLSA stands as the nation's leading Latino law student association, proving that organizations like NLLSA and MALSA are needed now more than ever," says MALSA Co-President Consuelo Gonzales ('14). "By reconnecting this year's conference to its roots, we aimed to enhance and strengthen pipeline opportunities for Latino law students and future lawyers in a way different than years before."

Moot court held during the NLLSA 2013 Conference

Moot court held during the NLLSA 2013 Conference

Gonzales and David Mendes ('14) co-chaired the conference. Highlights included a National Moot Court Competition, which culminated at the New Mexico State Supreme Court with student finalists arguing before the complete bench of State Justices. Following the competition were a Career Fair, a Leadership Roundtable Forum, dozens of panel discussions held by local community leaders, and several networking receptions. To close the event, NLLSA hosted its Annual Banquet at the historic La Fonda Hotel and featured an inspiring keynote address delivered by ABA National Secretary-Elect, Mary Torres.

Gonzales says that seeing local community leaders and advocates from every level of practice come together at the State Roundhouse to teach and inspire ideas amongst our law student guests was an incredibly powerful and historic moment for MALSA and the UNMSOL community. "The richness and depth of our state's legal community came to life once again that weekend, and the support generated around the conference proved pivotal in making this year's event another memorable success," says Gonzales. "We are so grateful to our legal community for their ongoing wealth of support; we could not have hosted this event without them."

NLLSA Board

NLLSA Board (left to right): Kylie Cook ('14), Allison Block-Chavez ('14), David Mendes (‘14), Ashlee Wright (‘14), Consuelo Gonzales (’14), Jessica Candelaria (‘14), Paul Onuska (‘15), Tracy Goodluck (‘14), Jesse Gallegos (‘15), Dynette Cordova (‘15), Amber Macias-Mayo (‘15).
Photo: Robert Johnston and RJ Photography

December 18, 2013