Stand Alone Committees

AN OVERVIEW OF HNBA STAND-ALONE COMMITTEES,
PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSIONS AND TASK FORCES

Pursuant to Article XII § 1 of the HNBA By-laws, the National President may “appoint or designate (i) such committees, divisions or sections as he or she may, in his or her sole discretion, deem necessary to carry out the purposes of the Association or to assist the Board [of Governors] in the orderly management of the affairs of the Association, consistent with these By-laws . . .” The by-laws specify a total of only five committees, divisions and boards. All other sections, committees and similar entities are established by the President, who also appoints their chairs and members with the advice of the Vice President of Committees. Art. XII § 2. To be eligible for appointment, individuals must be HNBA members in good standing. Id.

Committees and similar entities may select their own officers except for the chairs. They may also adopt their own rules provided they are consistent with the HNBA bylaws. Id. §4. All HNBA committees and other similar entities are required to provide periodic reports to the Vice President-Committees, the President and the Board “on all matters pertaining to . . . [their] activities” and “shall make an annual written report to the Board and file it with the President at least 30 days before the Annual Convention.” Id.

Traditionally, the HNBA has had several committees that continue their work from year to year although their membership may change with each new Board of Governors term. Those committees are described below. Additionally, ad hoc task forces, work teams and commissions are created by each President periodically as the press of HNBA business and policy and other developments demand. The entities identified as “new” have been established at the start of the 2008-2009 Board of Governors term.

STAND-ALONE COMMITTEES, DIVISIONS,
COMMISSIONS AND TASK FORCES

Amicus Committee
The purpose of the Amicus Standing Committee is to review requests that the HNBA become involved in matters pending before the federal courts and to recommend to the Board of Governors whether the Association should appear as an amicus in the litigation. The Committee coordinates the efforts to file briefs of the highest possible quality upon the request of the Board of Governors.

By-laws Committee
This Committee is being established to review and evaluate the HNBA By-laws and to recommend any necessary amendments to the Board of Governors.

Commission on the Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession
This Commission is being established to explore and assess the status of Hispanic women in the legal profession. Recent statistics demonstrate that Latinas are severely under-represented in most segments of the profession. For example, according to Diversity & the Bar, in 2007 there were only 2 Hispanic women serving as general counsel of Fortune 1000 companies. The under-representation at major law firms, where Latinas comprise only .39% of partners and 1.8% of associates, is both marked and troublesome, since such law firms serve as talent sources for other segments of the profession, including the judiciary, high level government appointments and corporate legal departments.

While much has been written about the status of minorities and women in the profession, there has been little if any focus on the particular issues facing Latinas. The Commission is tasked with identifying barriers to the professional development and advancement of Hispanic women attorneys and with developing and recommending solutions to overcome those challenges. The Commission is also charged with developing both short-term and long-term strategic and programmatic recommendations for implementation by the HNBA.

Executive Endorsements Committee
This Committee is being formed to vet Hispanic lawyers interested in federal executive appointments and to make recommendations for endorsements to the Board of Governors. The Committee is to conduct its activities pursuant to an HNBA written policy on executive endorsements. The Committee will not endorse candidates – the Board of Governors must vote on all endorsements except those made pursuant to written expedited procedures approved by the Board.

Hispanic Appointments Project National Steering Committee
This Committee is being created to assist the HNBA in identifying and advocating for the appointment of Hispanics by the new U.S. Presidential Administration. The Committee will conduct outreach to potential appointees for executive and judicial appointments, and advocate before the administration and the U.S. Senate for the nomination and confirmation of candidates endorsed by the Board of Governors pursuant to the recommendations of the Judiciary Committee and the Executive Endorsements Committee. The Steering Committee will work closely with the HNBA Regions and affiliates.

HNBA Oral History Committee
This Committee is charged with assisting the work of the HNBA Historian in gathering, documenting and preserving the history of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

HNBA Immigration Reform Task Force
The Immigration Reform Task Force shall as necessary provide immediate and learned advice to the President on national IR developments and on then development and advancement of the HNBA IR program.

To view principles, click here.

Judiciary Committee
The Judiciary Committee vets all judicial candidates who request the HNBA’s endorsement and makes recommendations concerning requested endorsements to the Board of Governors. The Committee conducts its activities pursuant to the HNBA’s “Policies and Procedures Governing Judicial Endorsements” (the Judicial Endorsement Policy”) adopted in 2002. The Committee does not endorse judicial candidates – the Board of Governors must vote on all endorsements except those made pursuant to the expedited procedures specified in the Judicial Endorsement Policy. The Judiciary Committee is composed of HNBA members from across the U.S. who have demonstrated interest, experience and expertise in the judicial selection process.

La Promesa en el Derecho (The Promise in the Law) Committee
This Committee was established in 2006 to develop and implement the community outreach project known as La Promesa en el Derecho: The Promise in the Law. The project aims to grow trust and confidence in our form of government by providing information designed to enhance community understanding of governmental institutions, legal processes, and certain legal concepts. During the 2008-2009 Board term, the Committee is being tasked with coordinating HNBA Law Day activities throughout the country, in collaboration with the Regional Presidents and Affiliates, using La Promesa as a center piece for the Law Day Program.

Legislative Affairs Committee
The Legislative Affairs Committee serves as the policy and advocacy arm of the HNBA. Traditionally, it has been co-chaired by a Republican and a Democrat, and been composed of members from both major political parties. The HNBA’s advocacy is non-partisan and focused on issues relevant to Latino lawyers and the Hispanic community.

Mentoring Program Committee
Formed in 2006, this Committee was created to address the dearth of Latino lawyers and the pipeline problems faced by young Hispanics. The Committee created and oversees the HNBA’s National Mentoring Program, a joint project with the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, which is designed to help increase the number of Hispanics who go to law school and to support their successful transition into legal careers.

Project S.A.F.E.* 2008 Voter Protection Task Force
This committee is being created to coordinate and oversee the HNBA’s voter protection initiatives in connection with the November 2008 elections. All activities of the Steering Committee shall be non-partisan and focused on protecting the ability of Latinos to exercise their right to vote without impediment. The Committee will work under the auspices and in consultation with the HNBA Voting Rights Section.

*Safe And Fair Elections

Rapid Response Team
This team is tasked with the rapid development of responses to emerging issues affecting the Latino community.