Press Releases Aug 26, 2019

Three BB&K Attorneys Elected to Hispanic Bar Association of the Inland Empire Board

Group Serves Local Community, Supports New and Aspiring Hispanic Attorneys

For Immediate Release: Aug. 26, 2019
Media Contact: Denise Nix • (213) 787-2552 • denise.nix@bbklaw.com
 
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Three Best Best & Krieger LLP attorneys were recently elected to the Hispanic Bar Association of the Inland Empire Board. They each also played a role in HBAIE’s recent formation.
 
Partner Joseph Ortiz and associates Albert Maldonado and Daniella Hernandez worked with other Inland Empire-based attorneys, including Sheppard Mullin Partner Ruben Escalante and Mario Alfaro of Stream Kim Hicks Wrage & Alfaro, to create the region’s first Hispanic bar association.
 
Recognizing the importance of creating an environment to support one another, engage with the Hispanic community and mentor and recruit new attorneys to the profession, HBAIE helps the legal community — and the Hispanic community at large. It’s mission is to “uplift the Inland Empire’s Hispanic legal community by fostering engagement with communities, businesses, and the Bar, while celebrating Hispanic culture. We are a family that cultivates and champions the education and recruitment of Hispanic attorneys, as well as their professional advancement through continued mentorship.”
 
The Inland Empire has a large Hispanic population. Hispanics account for 47 percent of Riverside County’s population and 52 percent of San Bernardino’s, according to the Pew Research Center. However, the number of Hispanic attorneys does not mirror that population — a trend seen throughout California. According to the State Bar of California, 35 percent of the State’s adults are Hispanic, but only 7 percent of its more than 125,000 attorneys are Hispanic.
 
Ortiz says that, growing up, no one talked to him or his siblings about going to college or pursuing a profession. “There was no support for it,” he says.
 
As a first generation immigrant in Southern California, Ortiz’s experience wasn’t unique. Many Hispanic attorneys in California’s Inland Empire also found their way to the Bar largely on their own.
 
“It’s a problem that Hispanics don’t have the resources to tap to talk about what it means to be an attorney,” says Ortiz, who is based in Riverside and serves on BB&K’s Recruitment Committee. “There’s a real need for mentorship, networking and professional development within this community.”
 
Ortiz handled HBAIE’s incorporation by overseeing its application for nonprofit status, securing an employer identification and coordinating with other local bar associations.
 
HBAIE aims to partner with the community to ensure that their legal needs are being met. For example, many Hispanic-owned businesses in the Inland Empire operate without legal guidance. There are Hispanic families in need of asset protection not seeking legal advice on wills and trusts because there is an inherent distrust or lack of connection to the non-Hispanic lawyers in the community.
 
Maldonado and Hernandez are excited for their roles, which will let them serve as positive examples for young Hispanics in the Inland Empire and help strengthen the business and legal communities.
 
“In my experience, just a few words can really change someone’s path,” says Maldonado, who grew up in Rancho Cucamonga. “It doesn’t really take money, just a little bit of time and a few encouraging words.”
 
“I want to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am today,” said Hernandez, a San Bernardino native. “The group was created to inspire others to come into the legal field, especially Hispanics. Having a group to promote that — inspire that — and help them on the process can really help.”

Learn more by visiting HBAIE’s Facebook page @HispanicBarAssociationIE.

Read More:

Attorneys Form Hispanic Bar Association of the Inland Empire, InlandEmpire.US

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Best Best & Krieger LLP is a national law firm that focuses on environmental, business, education, municipal and telecommunications law for public agency and private clients. With more than 200 attorneys, the law firm has 10 offices nationwide, including Los Angeles, Ontario, Riverside and Indian Wells. For more information, visit www.bbklaw.com or follow @BBKlaw on Twitter or @BestBestKrieger on Facebook.

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