Fifteenth Annual Hispanic Law Conference
What is at Stake in the 2012 Elections?

Co-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 the Washington College of Law,
and WCL's Latino/a Law Students' Association

Tuesday, March 6, 2012
9:00 AM - 9:00 PM

Updated schedule as of February 14th with additional participants to be confirmed soon

American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Ave., NW Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20016

American University Washington College of Law hosts the Annual Hispanic Law Conference each spring as part of WCL's Founders' Celebration. This important event for the WCL Latino community brings together a unique mix of personalities devoted to the progress of Latinos/as in the U.S. and in the hemisphere.

Schedule of Events

9:00 am - 10:30 am  (International Student Lounge)
The College Experience: High School Breakfast With Law Students
Local high school students will join WCL students for a breakfast discussion to learn about life as a 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, Washington College of Law


10:30 am - 12:00 pm  (International Student Lounge)
The College Experience: Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Workshop
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, Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project Fellow


12:00 pm - 2:00 pm  (JD Student Lounge)
Opening up Oportunities from the Judiciary (LUNCH WILL BE SERVED)
Speakers will discuss opportunities available to law school students within the judiciary in the DC metropolitan area and the lessons that such opportunities have to offer.

Moderator: Claudio Grossman, Dean, Washington College of Law

Panelists: The Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina, District Judge, United States DistrictCourt of the District of Columbia

The Honorable Hiram E. Puig-Lugo, Associate Judge, Superior Court of the District of Columbia


3:00 pm - 4:30 pm  (Room 603)
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 have within the field. Following the presentations, panelists will welcome questions from the audience.

Welcome Remarks: Juan M. Sempertegui '07, Chair, Latino/a Alumni Association of the Washington College of Law

Jessica K. 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, Principal, Project New America Latino

Jamin Raskin, Professor of Law and Director of Law and Government Program,  Washington College of Law


4:45 pm - 6:15 pm  (Room 603)
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 '07, Region V President, Hispanic National Bar Association

Moderator: Zuraya Tapia-Hadley, Executive Director, Hispanic National Bar Association

Republican Panelists: Omar Franco, Managing Director, Washington D.C. Office of Becker & Poliakoff and Former Chief of Staff to U.S. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Democrat Panelists: Estuardo V. Rodriguez, Jr., Principal, The Raben Group


6:15 pm - 7:00 pm  (Outside Room 603)
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 pm - 7:00 pm  (Room 600)
LAAW Board Elections

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm  (6th Floor Student Lounges)
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, Washington College of Law

Opening Remarks: Claudio Grossman, Dean, Washington College of Law

Keynote Speaker: Benny Agosto, Jr., President, Hispanic National Bar Association



Annual Diversity Award Recipient: The Honorable Marisa J. Demeo
The Diversity Award is given in recognition of an individual or organization that has contributed to the advancement of the Hispanic community of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Edward Bou Alumni Award Recipient: Omar Vargas, Class of 1998
This award is named in honor of Mr. Edward Bou, class of '58, for his numerous contributions to the Washington College of Law's Latino/a students and to the overall WCL community. The Edward Bou award is to be presented annually to a WCL graduate with demonstrated commitment to the Latino community of WCL.

LaLSA Scholarship Recipients: TBA
To support education, foster leadership, and encourage the pursuit of dreams, WCL's Latino/a Law Students Association awards scholarships to Latino high school students who have demonstrated the desire to continue their education and a commitment to community service.

Premio Inspiración Recipient: Brenda González, Class of 2012
Created in 2007 in celebration of the Tenth Annual Hispanic Law Conference, Premio Inspiración is given annually to a Juris Doctor (JD) student who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the Latino/a community nationally or internationally.

Goldman-Grossman Award Recipient: Monica Maldonado
The award was established in honor of Professor Robert Goldman and Dean Claudio Grossman, renowned experts in the Inter-American legal system and pioneers of the International Legal Studies Program. It is given annually to a Legum Magister (LL.M.) student who has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the national and/or international Latino/a community.

LAAW Bar Review Award Recipient: TBA
Founded in 2006, the Latino/a Alumni Association of the Washington College of Law (LAAW) is a volunteer membership organization with the primary goal of supporting the academic performance of Latina/o law students at WCL through workshops, mentorships, and scholarships. Since 2008, LAAW has presented the Bar Review Award to a deserving WCL student.

PDF of conference flyer


Registration is free but required
Register Online

For further information, please contact:

Office of Special Events & Continuing Legal Education
American University Washington College of Law
Phone: 202-274-4075; Fax: 202-274-4079; or