The Hispanic National Bar Association Proudly Welcomes 2011-2012 Leadership

Zuraya Tapia-Hadley,, (202) 223-4777
Emily Bengtson,, (202) 223-4777

September 9, 2011

The Hispanic National Bar Association Proudly Welcomes 2011-2012 Leadership

Benny Agosto, Jr. takes the helm as the first Texas attorney to be HNBA President


Washington, DC – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is pleased to announce its newly installed Board of Governors for 2011-2012. Benny Agosto, Jr. takes the helm of the national association as its 38th president to serve in the post since the founding of the HNBA in 1972. Deeply committed to community, scholarship, and making a difference, Agosto is a member of many bar associations throughout Texas, such as the Houston Bar Association, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, and sits on the board of directors for several of them well.  Mr. Agosto is a founder of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas (MABATx) Foundation.  To date, the MABATx Foundation has raised over $100,000 in scholarships. Agosto is also a co-founder of the HNBA’s Legal Education Fund along with his colleagues Román D. Hernández and Omar Vargas.  The Legal Education Fund is the HNBA’s only 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Mr. Agosto is currently a partner with Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend. He is also a regular commentator on legal issues in print and television media and has been highlighted as a Latino Leader by Latino Leaders Magazine, Hispanic Business Magazine, and other national publications and organizations.

“I am honored to carry on the legacy of service and excellence in the HNBA. I look forward to all that we will achieve this year, ‘The Year of the Advocate’,” stated Mr. Agosto. “The incoming board brings together individuals who have a history of service to the community.  Together with my distinguished colleagues on the Board, I will advocate for Hispanics in regards to the fair and equitable administration of justice, promote diversity and equitable hiring practices, and continue the advancement of all Hispanics in the national legal community through professional development, advocating for the appointment of qualified Latinos to the federal bench and Executive branch, and through charitable work for Latino students and children,” concluded Mr. Agosto.

“I look forward to working with the Board of Governors under the leadership of Benny Agosto for a successful year advocating for diversity and providing the necessary support and resources to the HNBA’s growing membership,” said Zuraya Tapia-Hadley, HNBA Executive Director.

The following individuals were sworn in on Saturday, September 3, 2011 as the HNBA’s newly elected Board of Governors:

President:  Benny Agosto, Jr., Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend (Houston, TX)

President-Elect: Peter M. Reyes, Jr., Cargill, Inc. (Minneapolis, MN)

Treasurer: Jorge Barcelo, CCI Control Components, Inc. (Los Angeles, CA)

Secretary: Christina Vigil, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Albuquerque, NM)

VP of External Affairs: The Honorable Celeste Villarreal, Austin Municipal Court (Austin, TX)

VP of Membership: Liz Lopez, Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Washington, DC)

VP of Programs: Lawrence Valdivieso, Verizon (Los Angeles, CA)

VP of Regions: Karina Ayala-Bermejo (Chicago, IL)

VP of Sections and Committees: Cynthia Mares, Regulatory Counsel, Colorado Supreme Court (Denver, CO)

National Policy Director and White House Liaison: Claudine Martinez, Vice President and General Counsel, MCT Industries, Inc. (Albuquerque, NM)

National Finance Chair:  Miguel A. Pozo, Lowenstein Sandler PC (Roseland, NJ)

General Counsel:  Pedro Torres-Diaz, Jackson Lewis (Miami, FL)

Immediate Past President: Diana Sen, LatinoJustice PRLDEF (New York, NY)


Regional Presidents:

Region I (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT): Rene Ortega (Hartford, CT)

Region II (NY): Gelvina Stevenson (New York, NY)

Region III (NJ): Anna Maria Tejada (Jersey City, NJ)

Region IV (DE, PA): Ed Lanza (Wilmington, DE)

Region V (DC, MD, VA, WV): Juan Sempertegui (Washington, DC)

Region VI (NC, SC): Leticia Padilla-Morales (Raleigh, NC)

Region VII (AL, GA, MS): Dara Fernandez (Birmingham, AL)

Region VIII (FL): Teresita Chavez-Pedrosa (Miami, FL)

Region IX (IL, IN, MI, WI): Leopoldo Lastre (Chicago, IL)

Region X (KY, OH, TN): Melinda Molina (Columbus, OH)

Region XI (IA, MN, MO, ND, SD): Melisa Lopez Franzen (Minneapolis, MN)

Region XII (AR, LA, OK, TX): David Maldonado (Dallas, TX)

Region XIII (CO, KS, NE, WY): Meshach Rhoades (Denver, CO)

Region XIV (AZ, NV): Tom Tollison (Phoenix, AZ)

Region XV (NM, UT): Roxie Rawls DeSantiago (Albuquerque, NM)

Region XVI (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA): Jesse Valdez (Bellevue, WA)

Region XVII (Northern CA, HI): Helen Santana (San Francisco, CA)

Region XVIII (Southern CA): Donald Urrabazo (Los Angeles, CA)

Region XIX (Puerto Rico): Ricardo Aponte Parsi (San Juan, PR)


HNBA Affiliate Organizations:

  1. Broward County Hispanic Bar Association
  2. Colorado Hispanic Bar Association
  3. Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association
  4. Dallas Hispanic Bar Association
  5. Delaware Hispanic Bar Association
  6. Dominican Bar Association
  7. Georgia Hispanic Bar Association
  8. Hispanic Bar Association of Austin
  9. Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida
  10. Hispanic Bar Association of DC
  11. Hispanic Bar Association of Houston
  12. Hispanic Bar Association of Michigan
  13. Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey
  14. Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County
  15. Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania
  16. Hispanic Bar Association of Virginia
  17. Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois
  18. Hispanic Lawyers Association of Louisiana, Inc.
  19. Hispanic Ontario Lawyers Association
  20. Latina Lawyers Bar Association
  21. Latina/o Bar of Washington
  22. Latino Bar Association of Las Vegas
  23. Latino Lawyers Association of Queens County
  24. Long Island Hispanic Bar Association
  25. Los Abogados Hispanic Bar Association
  26. Maryland Hispanic Bar Association
  27. Massachusetts Association of Hispanic Attorneys
  28. Mexican American Bar Association of Houston
  29. Mexican American Bar Association of L.A. County
  30. Mexican American Bar Association of Texas
  31. Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association
  32. National Prosecutors Association
  33. New Mexico Hispanic Bar Association
  34. Oregon Hispanic Bar Association
  35. Puerto Rican Bar Association (NY)
  36. Puerto Rican Bar of Florida
  37. Puerto Rican Bar of Illinois
  38. San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association
  39. San Francisco La Raza Lawyers
  40. Santa Clara County La Raza Lawyers Association
  41. Tampa Bay Hispanic Bar Association