LUZ E. HERRERA, CHAIR
The mission of the Commission for Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities (Hispanic Commission) is to identify and address the legal challenges and responsibilities facing Latinos in the United States. Latinos, who numbered approximately 50.5 million in 2010, and represent the fastest growing group in our nation.
In its first three years, the Hispanic Commission held hearings throughout the United States to obtain feedback from Latinos throughout the United States about their interaction with our legal system. The results of the input are memorialized in the report released in August of 2013, Latinos in the United States: Overcoming Legal Obstacles, Engaging in Civic Life. The report reveals the issues this community faces in the areas of employment, housing, education, health status and access to quality health care, criminal justice, voting rights, media images and diversity in the legal profession. It explores the impact of laws and practices on this population which has specific needs that inhibit its access to legal services but it also offers legal frameworks to address the issues raised.
Although Latinos constitute approximately 16% of the U.S. population, only 3.3% of U.S. lawyers claim Latino heritage. While these figures give rise to a continued discussion of diversity pipeline issues, it also reveals that many non-Latino attorneys can benefit from a better understanding of this large and growing client base. The Hispanic Commission seeks to work with other entities, within and outside of the ABA, to address issues of mutual concern that greatly impact the Latino community in this country. It plans to engage in a dialogue with the legal profession about how the growth of this particular community will continue to impact the changing role of lawyers, courts and other legal institutions. I and other members of the Hispanic Commission look forward to working with you.
All the best,
Luz E. Herrera