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Left to right: Members of the 2012-2013 & 2013-2014 MALSA Executive Board (Back) Devon Moody ('15); Olivia Mitchell ('15); Paul Onuska ('15); Consuelo Gonzales ('14); Jessica Candelaria ('14); David Mendes ('14); Allison Block ('14); (Front) Jenessa Reyes ('14); Dynette Marie ('15); Mabel Arellanes ('16)
This fall, the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association honored the Mexican American Law Student Association (MALSA) of the University of New Mexico School of Law with the 2013 National Achievement Award for Diversity. The award was given to members of the 2012-13 MALSA Board at the ABA Annual meeting in San Francisco, California.
Each year, the award recognizes the efforts of a Student Bar Association organization committed to activities that contribute towards the achievement and advancement of women, minorities, persons of disability, and persons of different sexual orientation and gender identities.
"This award is a result of over 42 years of relentless advocacy and courageous pioneering by the thousands of 'Malseros' that came before us to advance minority access to the law and legal education in New Mexico," says Consuelo Gonzales, MALSA Co-President. "This recognition gives national meaning to MALSA's legacy of exemplary service to the people of the State of New Mexico and to the cause of diversity in the practice of law."
Gonzales and fellow MALSA Co-President Jessica Candelaria explain that through a legacy of educational initiatives and mentorship programming, MALSA aims to bring people from every spectrum of New Mexico's community together to foster a legal ecosystem that closely reflects our society and addresses the needs of all its citizens. Candelaria adds, "This support includes everything from high school mock trial workshops to practice LSAT tests to mentorship opportunities with local attorneys and judges. Our focus is on empowering minority students and ensuring that our legal community is reflective of our community at large."
Max Minzner, Professor of Law at UNM and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, assisted in the preparation of MALSA's nomination. "The Law School is incredibly proud of MALSA and their recognition as a national leader in diversity in legal education," says Minzner. "This award reflects the deep commitment here at the UNM School of Law to serving the diverse communities of New Mexico and the nation as a whole."
Founded in 1970, MALSA is the largest student organization at the law school and is a critical support network for Hispanics/Latinos and other student minorities. Through outreach programs, MALSA organizes social, educational, and service-oriented events for its student members; as well as statewide mentorship to high school and undergraduate students interested in attending law school. This award gives national meaning to MALSA’s legacy of exemplary service to the people of the State of New Mexico and to the cause of diversity in the practice of law.
New Mexico’s only law school, the University of New Mexico School of Law is ranked in the Top Ten Best Value Law Schools Nationwide by the National Jurist, is an Above the law Top 50 Law School and regularly receives a high Top Graduate Schools for Hispanics ranking from Hispanic Business Magazine. Students can earn a J.D. and dual degrees and certificates in the School’s well-regarded Indian Law and Natural Resources & Environmental Law programs. The School’s Clinical Law Program is consistently nationally recognized. Learn more at lawschool.unm.edu.