Supporting Latinos Working in the Justice System
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — In a valley with millions of people from different backgrounds, it’s important that all races be represented in the justice system.
As we continue to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, 13 Action News reporter Kelsey McFarland watches as the organization dedicates itself to supporting Latinos in the legal system and inspiring future lawyers.
The Nevada Latino Bar Association’s mission is to help Latinos succeed in the legal profession. They do this through mentorship programs, scholarship opportunities, and education.
The Latino population makes up approximately 32% of Las Vegas and 18% of the United States.
“Yet we only represent 5% of lawyers, so there’s still a lot of work to do,” says Ellsie Lucero, vice president of memberships for the Nevada Latino Bar Association.
She and Briana Martinez are both originally from Las Vegas and seek to fill in the gaps in Southern Nevada’s justice systems.
“Diversity in the courts is important because it helps ensure that the justice system is fair for everyone. Diversity brings a wide range of experiences and ideas, which helps judges make more informed decisions. And it’s also important that the judges on the bench reflect the diversity of the population,” says Elsie.
They both attended the William S. Boyd School of Law, before becoming associate attorneys at Kaempfer Crowell Law Offices. Early in their careers, Ellsie and Briana had mentors who inspired them to pursue their dreams.
“I was able to meet several other Latino lawyers and legislators, and it was really motivating because I felt like if these people were able to get here and they looked like me, I could do the same. “, says Elsie.
Now their mission, through the Latino Bar Association, is to do the same for others.
“For me, it’s like giving back to the community that has helped me a lot, like I want someone to do it. People have done it for me. And so I want to give back to others and help them because that it’s really a scary process. If you don’t know what you’re doing and you have no one to go to,” Briana says.
The Latino Bar Association hosts networking events, helping young lawyers take their careers to the next level.
“Networking is very important. And in my opinion, it was just because I was successful every step of the way, like law school, that I got my job here,” says Briana.
In an effort to remove the money barrier for aspiring law students, the Latino Bar Association also raises funds for scholarships. The Andale Scholarship pays for registration for an LSAT prep course, application fees, and more, totaling thousands of dollars.
Briana is also a mentor through Huellas. It is a program of the Hispanic Law Association at the Boyd School of Law at UNLV. They pair a high school student, an undergrad, a law student, and a legal professional in a group so they can help each other.