15th Annual Hispanic Law Conference will Focus on the 2012 Elections and the State of U.S. Electoral Politics

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC, February 29, 2012 – American University Washington College of Law will host the 15th Annual Hispanic Law Conference, held each spring as part of the law school’s Founders’ Celebration.

The March 6 event will bring together Latinos and Latinas from the American University Washington College of Law community and the Washington, D.C., area to discuss the high-stakes election year.

“Alongside leaders from The Hispanic National Bar Association, The Hispanic Bar Associations of DC, Maryland, and Virginia, LaLSA, and LAAW, we are proud to once again co-sponsor a conference that addresses issues of importance to the Latino community, both nationally and internationally,” said Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law. “We look forward to engaging young people in a discussion about the importance of higher education, while also bringing together Latinos and Latinas to discuss what the 2012 election could hold for the direction of the nation.”

"What is at Stake in the 2012 Elections?," will encourage participants to discuss political issues confronting the nation, including redistricting and voter registration.

Students from area high schools such as Wilson High School, Cardozo High School, Capital City High School, and Bell Multicultural High School, are invited to American University Washington College of Law to participate in morning sessions that discuss the importance of higher education. Students will also engage in lessons about the Constitution with the Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project

The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia will join law students at a lunch session to discuss opportunities in the judiciary in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

Afternoon panels made up of members of the legal community will cover the state of electoral politics in the U.S., recent redistricting cases, voter registration, and representation. Members of both sides of the aisle will also debate Democratic and Republican positions on the major issues of the election cycle, including unemployment, the economy, health care, and foreign policy.

The annual awards dinner, with opening remarks from Dean Claudio Grossman and keynote address from Benny Agosto, Jr., President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, will cap off the day’s events.  List of awards and recipients

The event is sponsored by the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Associations of the District of Columbia, Maryland,and Virginia, the Latino/a Alumni Association of American University Washington College of Law, and American University Washington College of Law’s Latino/a Law Students’ Association.

Read more information or register for the event.

Media interested in attending the event should contact Megan Smith, 202-274-4276.

 

Schedule of Events

9- 10:30 a.m. - The College Experience: High School Breakfast with Law Students

International local high school students will join American University Washington College of Law students for a breakfast discussion to learn about life as a student lounge college student, the importance of receiving an education, and their goals and aspirations for the future.

Welcome remarks:

  • Liliana P. Vargas, president, Latino/a Law Students’ Association, American University Washington College of Law

10:30a.m. - Noon - The College Experience: Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Workshop

International high school students will participate in a constitutional literacy workshop where they will go through a brief overview of the 14th, 15th, and 19th amendments of the United States Constitution, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and Bush v. Gore.

Instructor:

  • Luisa Fernanda Cardona Contreras, project fellow, Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy, American University Washington College of Law

Noon – 2 p.m. - Opening up Opportunities from the Judiciary (lunch will be served)

Speakers will discuss opportunities available to law school students within the judiciary in the D.C. metropolitan area and the lessons that such opportunities have to offer.

Moderator:

  • Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College Of Law

Panelists:

  • The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina, district judge, United States District Court for the District of Columbia
  • The Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo, associate judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia

3 - 4:30 p.m. - Electoral Politics in the United States

A discussion will revolve around the general state of electoral politics in the U.S., recent redistricting cases, voter registration and representation, and the roles each panelist has within the field. Following the presentations, panelists will welcome questions from the audience.

Welcome remarks:

  • Juan M. Sempertegui, chair, Latino/a Alumni Association of American University Washington College of law
  • Jessica Chipoco, Esq., president-elect, Maryland Hispanic Bar Association

Moderator:

  • David Lublin, professor of government, School of Public Affairs, American University

Panelists:

  • Myrna Pérez, senior counsel, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School Of Law
  • Nina Perales, vice president of litigation, MALDEF
  • Julie Martínez Ortega, J.D., Ph.D, vice president for policy & advocacy, PowerPAC.org; principal, Project New America Latino
  • Jamin Raskin, professor of law and director of the Law and Government Program, American University Washington College of Law

4:45 - 6:15 p.m. The Issues from Both Sides of the Aisle

Panelists will present the democrat and republican positions on the major issues of this election cycle. The moderator will pose questions about the economy, unemployment, taxes, how to manage the federal government's $14 trillion debt, the new health care law, and U.S. foreign policy. Following the round of questions to the speakers, the audience will have an opportunity to pose questions to both sides.

Welcome remarks:

  • Lyzka P. Delacruz, president, Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia
  • Juan m. Sempertegui, region V president, Hispanic National Bar Association

Moderator:

  • Zuraya Tapia-Hadley, executive director, Hispanic National Bar Association

Republican Panelist:

  • Omar Franco, managing director, Washington D.C. Office of Becker & Poliakoff; former chief of staff to U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart
  • Leslie Sanchez, political analyst; author, “Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics
    and Republicans Need Each Other”

Democrat Panelist:

  • Estuardo V. Rodriguez, Jr., principal, The Raben Group

6:15- 7 p.m. Mentoring Reception

An opportunity for JD and LL.M. students to meet with representatives from organizations in the private and public sectors who will share their experiences and career paths during a networking reception.

 

6:15- 7 p.m. Law Board Elections

 

7- 9 p.m. Annual Awards Dinner

The dinner will include a keynote address and awards will be presented to those individuals who have significantly contributed to the progress of the Latino community.

Master of ceremonies:

  • Jorge Contreras, professor, American University Washington College Of Law

Opening remarks:

  • Claudio Grossman, dean, American University Washington College Of Law

Keynote speaker:

  • Benny Agosto, Jr., president, Hispanic National Bar Association

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About American University Washington College of Law

In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 100 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, and intellectual property to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its 1700 JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit wcl.american.edu.