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www.latinoleaders.com Winter Edition 2021

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Vol. 22 No. 6

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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2021 FOLLOW US LatinoLeadersMagazine

•Pg. 12 Sustainability Oped by Rodrigo Kede Lima, President of Microsoft Latin America

Yvette Ostolaza

•Pg. 15 Introduction to Top Lawyers by Michael Rodriguez •Pg. 18 Interview with Yvette Ostolaza •Pg. 28 The List: Top Latino Lawyers 2021 •Pg. 35 Latinos To Watch 2021

John Santa Maria

•Pg. 38 Interview With John Santa Maria from Coca-Cola FEMSA •Pg. 41 Interview With Elisa Villanueva, CEO of Teach For America L

Elisa Villanueva



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Publisher Jorge Ferraez

President and CEO Raul Ferraez

Administrative Director Lawrence Teodoro Editor Ximena Vivanco ximena@latinoleaders.com Writters Bill Sarno Lorenzo Almanza Business Development Manager Cristina Gonzalez cristina@latinoleaders.com Art Director Fernando Izquierdo Editorial Art & Design Carlos Cuevas Luis Enrique González Moisés Cervantes Human Resources Manager Susana Sanchez Administration and Bookkeeping Claudia García Bejarano Executive Assistant to the Publishers Liliana Morales Digital Media & Design Manager Wendy Zacarias Events Coordinator Isabela Herrera For advertising inquiries, please call 214-206-9587

Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino (ISSN 1529-3998) is published seven times annually by Ferraez Publications of America Corp., 11300 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300, Dallas, TX, 75243, November/ December 2021. Subscription rates: In U.S. and possessions, one year $15.00. Checks payable to Ferraez Publications of America, 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Latino Leaders, 15443 Knoll Trail, Suite 210, 75248 Dallas, TX, USA.© 2001 by Ferraez Publications of America Corporation. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without the consent of Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino. The periodical’s name and logo, and the various titles and headings therein, are trademarks of Ferraez Publications of America Corp.

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For our final edition of 2021 you will find our annual published

list of Top Latino Lawyers and Latino Lawyers to keep on the watch. These names have all had successful careers. They have all represented crucial cases and clients together with community involvement and representation. You will find an introduction to this section by lawyer Michael Rodriguez and an exclusive interview with Yvette Ostolaza, Global Head of Litigation at Sidley Austin LLP. On another note, you will find a special sustainability oped piece by Rodrigo Kede Lima, President of Microsoft Latin America. To close off the edition we are also excited to share interviews with John Santa Maria from Coca-Cola FEMSA and Elisa Villanueva, CEO of Teach for America. To all of our readers, thank you for your support and for always being present. We can’t wait for next year and continue to do what we love best, sharing stories. Wishing you all nothing but the best for this new year. Happy holidays! Ximena Vivanco Editor


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THE LATINO COMMUNITY has some of the best examples of leadership in the legal profession. Every year, around 34,000 new lawyers graduate from law schools, however only 10% are Latinos. Although the percentage is not that bad as graduates, it goes down dramatically when you start following those careers on paths like joining big law practices, starting their own and eventually becoming partners of a practice. In that sense, Latino lawyers need to advance faster and get more leadership positions. This profession also includes the Chief Legal Officers and General Counsel of corporations. That community is also lacking a proportioned Latino representation, for according to our numbers, only 2% of General Counsel position for the F1000 companies are occupied by a Latino or Latina. Because our mission is to showcase and recognize role models, the two lists of the Top Latino Lawyers featured in this edition are a very good example of Law practitioners and professionals that have had a driving force. One is the best lawyers across the Country, which is a list in which we accept nominations all through the year, and later it gets edited by the selection committee. The second one is a list of young and emerging Layers that are a big promise and are on a clear path to become top at their profession. Enjoy this edition. Jorge & Raul Ferraez December 2021

Jorge Ferraez

Jorge Ferraez


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Tell us about your background/roots. I was born in El Salvador, during a time of civil war. I am the youngest of two. My father abandoned us when I was just three years old. From one day to the next, my mother became a single parent provided our everyday needs by selling shampoo at a supermarket. A year after my father left us, my mom immigrated to the United States, leaving my brothers and I with an aunt. Roughly 9 months after arriving to the U.S, she gained asylums for all of us, and we were able to enter the U.S. What’s your businesses purpose and mission? My purpose and mission have always been to educate people in insurance, taxes, how to start a business. I like it when my clients have an understanding of what they are paying for when it comes to insurance. With taxes, I want my clients to know what is right and what is wrong when filing their taxes, to stay in compliance with the IRS and to have an understanding of what they are filing in general. I try to educate my clients on how to start a business, what is the difference in being a sole proprietor vs an LLC, and I teach them about taxation when it comes to business tax returns. It is important that they know what they get themselves into when opening a business and that way they are always in compliance with the state and IRS. How is your relationship with Comerica and how are they helping you? What has been your experience as owner of your own I have a great relationship with my bank. They are always willbusiness? ing to assist me, and they stay connected with me. When a My experience as an owner of my own business has been chalnew product is introduced such merchant services or credit lenging at times but also very rewarding. There are days I card promotions; I will get a call or hear about it when I go work harder and longer hours than anyone else. There are by the bank. days I can take off from work and I know it will be ok because I have an amazing staff that will take care of things Where do you see you business in the next 10 years? while I am not at the office. The saying “work hard, play I most definitely see my business expanding in the next 10 hard” is true. years. I see myself opening a second or third location, addWhat have you learned as an entrepreneur? ing other services to what we already do, and maybe even As an entrepreneur I have learned that it’s ok be to be scared starting a new business in a different industry. The sky is when you venture off to new ideas, new ways of doing the limit. things or even just starting a new business. Sometimes it will work out, sometimes I won’t, but you tried, and you @suprememultiservices gave it your best. Sometimes I have failed and sometimes I facebook.com/suprememultisvcs succeed; at the end of the day, it’s all a learning experience.


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WORKING TOGETHER WITH OUR CUSTOMERS AND PARTNERS ON A NET ZERO FUTURE FOR ALL CLIMATE CHANGE and the collective responsibility we bear in addressing this issue is no longer up for debate. According to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased more than 20 percent in less than 40 years, owing largely to human activities. This represents well over 50 percent of the total increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. The world’s climate experts agree we all must urgently reduce our carbon emissions. As Microsoft’s operations and business continue to grow globally, we face the critical challenge of reducing our environmental footprint as we scale our computing power to advance digital economies, research, and inclusive economic opportunities. To address this, we have a set of bold company commitments – to be carbon negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030; and protect ecosystems by building a Planetary Computer. We believe technology can help solve the world’s greatest challenges and we are accelerating progress toward a more sustainable future through broad decarbonization, advanced research, and helping our customers and partners build sustainable solutions.

Data is now one of the greatest pain points for our customers We can’t ignore that the world increasingly runs on data. In fact, the demand for data and digital services will only continue to grow exponentially in the next decade, with the International Energy Agency forecasting that internet traffic will double by 2022. Datacenters are the compute engine of the cloud. Beyond powering 95 percent of the world’s Fortune 500 businesses, the Microsoft cloud is the trusted cloud for everyday digital experiences at work and at home, and even more importantly for critical digital infrastructure—from life and safety services, educational institutions, and governments, to advancing scientific research surrounding the world’s most pressing challenges, including climate change. Interestingly, our customers tell us daily that managing data is one of the biggest pain points in their sustainability journey. There is a torrent of data from all areas of the value chain, and unfortunately much of it is often poor quality, siloed and



difficult to share these days. Providing the forward-thinking guidance and innovative technology solutions that will help our customers overcome these challenges is essential to our net zero goals as a company.

Datacenters must be part of the solution Our goal at Microsoft is not only to be carbon negative by 2030, but to remove all the carbon we have ever emitted into the environment— either directly or through electrical consumption—by 2050. To achieve this, datacenters must be part of our solution for broad decarbonization. As we work to shrink Microsoft’s cloud footprint and advance our sustainable datacenters toward a carbon-negative future, we’re also innovating with the aim to help our customers tackle challenges brought by their vast computing-power needs. Our aim is to advance research in liquid cooling, and develop waterless cooling options. We’ve also created first-of-their-kind Microsoft Circular Centers that will help us extend the lifecycle of servers and reuse them to reduce waste. And, in order to ensure our buildings are energy and resource efficient, we’ve committed to certifying all our owned datacenters with LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental) Gold status. Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability (MCfS) is an extensible software-as-a-service solution that helps us record, report, and reduce our organization’s environmental impact through automated data connections and actionable insights. Today MCfS is helping us advance in our efforts, while collaborating with, empowering, and supporting other global organizations to pursue the same net zero goals. With real-time visibility into emissions activities, we can reliably report on our impact and progress, gleaning the insights required to continually test, refine, and scale sustainability initiatives. After all, if we’re not effective in measuring, we won't be effective in the actions we're taking. However, we must think even bigger than MCfS, dedicate the resources needed to find more creative solutions to today’s operational challenges and arrive at the forefront of bigger innovations. This means gathering bright and passionate minds to brainstorm new approaches to existing challenges, and it also means applying a growth mindset to future datacenter design and deployment. Which is why moving forward, our datacenter


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design will support local ecosystems and we will diligently research advanced materials that reduce embodied carbon. With the help of our colleagues at Microsoft Research, Project Zerix will aim to eliminate our environmental impacts through biodegradable plastics, sustainable printed circuit boards, and bio concrete materials.

Supporting our customers and partners on the path to net zero While we have bold sustainability commitments and a plan for meeting them, real progress can only begin with the recognition that, despite our best intentions, the ability to measure and account for carbon emissions is still remarkably nascent. That’s why it’s crucial that we all work together on the path to net zero. At Microsoft we are empowering our ecosystem of customers and partners to pursue their sustainability goals through various innovative endeavors. One of them is a 24/7 energy monitoring solution which we are currently in the process of launching and will enable our customers to use 100 percent renewable energy for each hour of consumption. Just as important are the renewable energy partnerships in our sustainable new regions. For example, a newly launched sustainable datacenter, where renewable energy will offset the energy use of the campus, and the new region will also use zero water for cooling for more than half the year, leveraging a method called adiabatic cooling which uses outside air. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Emissions Impact Dashboard is granting our customers visibility into their organization’s carbon emissions related to Microsoft cloud services usage, allowing them to quantify their cloud footprint and optimize decision-making to reduce future emissions.

In Latin America, Grupo Bimbo has been piloting our Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability program with auspicious results. The company is currently deploying an Industrial Internet of Things platform to gain complete visibility into its value chain—from production logistics to transportation. The timely information our technology provides is helping the organization to identify, adjust and correct inefficiencies in its use of water and energy, allowing it to significantly reduce carbon emissions and shrink its environmental footprint. Meanwhile in Brazil, we couldn’t be more thrilled about supporting PrevisIA, an innovative new tool which uses Microsoft AI technology to monitor deforestation and generate forest fire forecasts to help preserve biodiversity across the Amazon region. Last but certainly not least, we're working with our suppliers to help reduce their collective footprint. For a company like ours with a wide range of suppliers, it's crucial to think beyond and address the impact that our network of vendors can have. And, as of July 2021 we launched a supplier portal with a set of in-depth, capacity-building tools and resources to help them report their GHG emissions, develop clean energy strategies and reduce energy-related emissions. As our company’s journey to a net zero future continues, we also remain committed to helping our customers face each challenge along the way. Collaboration has never been more key to our collective success, which is why we must work together, share our learnings and progress, and continuously innovate to develop new tools and solutions. Each one of us has an essential role to play in this process, and we can’t do it without you. Visit microsoft.com/ sustainability to learn more about our sustainability commitments in action today and find out how you can get involved.


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On behalf of Latino Lawyers, it is a sincere privilege to share recognition amongst an elite group as a Top Latino Lawyer, the esteemed honor we carry as one, the greater impact this brings to the Hispanic community and to the legal industry in which we serve. We share a strong commitment to creating inclusive environments where all those recognized for their achievements are encouraged and supported to realize their fullest potential. Our diversity, or rather, our inclusiveness, makes us a stronger and more creative culture to enhance and thrive within society. Education is a critical asset to this growth. Our Community, as a whole, stands to greatly benefit from becoming more educated on the issues that we face and becoming more vocal in the ballot boxes through our votes. As recognized leaders in our communities - both professional and cultural - we unite as mentors to guide our future generations and encourage them to seek an education and an opportunity to change our society through positive actions. Focusing on providing appropriate resources for a strong education can breed success for so many others. We are a part of one of the most vibrant and influential communities across all nations. It is vital that we properly own our roles as leaders within our community and take power of the ability to influence fellow Hispanics to seek higher challenges in becoming more influential within our society. Setting the example for younger individuals to know that they can achieve anything regardless of circumstance because their only limits are the ones they place on themselves. Latino Leaders Magazine's programming is designed to help support those embarking on these endeavors and provides a critical stone in furthering that path. Driving connections and harnessing the power of purpose, culture and performance will help us capture the vision and voice needed to disrupt barriers and create room for next wave thinkers. As a leader in cultivating our community's culture, I hope you share in this dedication to building our next generation of leaders -- particularly guiding those within our shared legal community - through professional and personal development, mentoring, sponsorship and empowerment initiatives.



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DAVID A. SILVA is Counsel in Sidley’s White Collar Litigation & Investigations group, and regularly defends companies and their directors, officers, and employees in complex criminal and civil investigations and related government enforcement actions. He frequently represents clients in issues arising out of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, financial reporting misstatements, regulatory fraud, environmental violations, and employee misconduct. David has successfully defended over a dozen cases in federal and state court as lead counsel, and frequently conducts multinational investigations throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and often advises clients on anticorruption, compliance, ethics, and data privacy matters.

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The seeds for becoming a lawyer, and eventually a leader at Sidley Austin LLP, one of the world’s largest law firms, were planted in Yvette Ostolaza’s mind growing up in Miami.


he daughter of Cuban immigrants whose 58-year marriage began after their move to the United States, Yvette recalled that as a youngster, while her family and peers were not that attuned to the legal profession, her interest was piqued by television and the movies. “Seeing lawyers on the screen at a young age was something that has stuck with me,” she said, mentioning that she also loved “Perry Mason” and later “LA Law.” However, a legal career did not come into focus until she attended the University of Miami when, after a journalism course focusing on constitutional issues, the professor noticed that she had a special affinity for law. Yvette, who has always been studious, did a lot of reading during her youth. Although as an admitted “water girl,” she also spent a lot of time at the beach. As she grew older, she enjoyed writing and was on the staff of her college newspaper—in addition to being active in journalism and debate. “The skills learned through these activities are important in the legal profession.” Yvette’s interest in law was heightened after college when she saw how much it impacted so many areas, both in government and in business. When she started noticing friends from college attending law school, “I thought that might be an interesting career,” she said. “I always enjoyed debates, writing, and reading.” After graduating and working as an airline industry marketing professional, Yvette enrolled in the University of Miami Law School,

earning a Juris Doctor degree with honors. She was part of the University of Miami Law Review and Moot Court Board while working at law firms. Along the way, she accepted summer associate positions that brought her to Texas, where she acquired more than just legal experience. “I met my husband, who was a summer associate one year ahead of me and with another firm in Texas,” she said, and the two have been married for 30 years and have three children. Yvette has earned a reputation as a topflight litigator, counselor, and leader. Early in her career at the Texas office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges Yvette specialized in commercial litigation and investigations for 21 years before she was recruited by Sidley, a global firm with a 150+ year history that was expanding in Texas. “My client base matched quite well with Sidley’s global practice platform,” she said. The firm’s culture also was an attraction. “There was a lot of consistency with the way that I thought a professional services firm should operate.” According to 2020 law firm-reported results, Sidley is the sixth largest law firm in the United States in terms of revenue, with 2,000 lawyers advising clients throughout the world in 20 offices across a variety of leading litigation, corporate, and regulatory practices. Since joining Sidley, Yvette has been chosen for a variety of leadership roles at the firm. In addition to serving on both the firm’s executive and management committees, she was the managing partner of Sidley’s Dallas office for eight years, and serves as the global co-leader of the firm’s


More than 150 years after the founding of our firm, Sidley today comprises a diverse group of legal professionals from many cultures who are dedicated to teamwork, collaboration and superior client service. Forging enduring relationships with the business community, while remaining attuned to the dynamic legal landscape, we understand and work to fulfill the needs of our global clients. We are proud to serve this varied and high-caliber group of market leaders, many of whom are pioneers in their respective industries and professions.


The firm has built a reputation for successfully representing clients on complex transactional, regulatory and litigation matters spanning a range of legal areas. From our offices in the commercial, financial and regulatory centers of the world, we harness our knowledge to provide thoughtful advice for the myriad legal and business challenges that our clients face.


We strongly believe in creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds by retaining and promoting outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and communities that we serve. Our dedication to achieving greater diversity and inclusivity extends beyond our firm to the legal profession as a whole. We are passionate about making a meaningful impact by fostering positive change in many ways. Through our four firmwide pro bono projects, our lawyers and staff devote more than 100,000 hours annually to pro bono work, playing a vital role in people’s lives around the world. In addition, we partner with several charitable organizations as part of our corporate responsibility program, enabling our professionals to contribute their talents to a variety of volunteer projects that benefit communities in need.


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litigation group. However, her biggest assignment to date lies ahead, as Yvette was recently named chair-elect of Sidley’s management committee. As management committee chair, she will co-lead one of the world’s largest law firms—the first Latina and woman to be in this role at the firm. Yvette continues to be a full-time practicing attorney, and handles cases and investigations across the United States. At this point in her career, clients from a variety of industries call on her to navigate their most difficult legal issues, which she really enjoys. A strong work ethic and commitment to development in a field that is rapidly evolving are keys to Yvette’s professional achievements and success. They are what she recommends to young associates. “This is a profession and there is no substitute for learning the skills needed to succeed through being a lifelong, intellectually curious person, working hard, and open to new ideas. Accept the opportunity for training at any time and be creative,” she said. Working hard includes putting in the hours during the early stages of a career so that you have “reps” to impress clients. “There is no substitute for spending the actual time to learn your profession. Being a great lawyer to your clients is achieved by doing the work and accumulating experiences,” she said. In dealing with her colleagues and opposing counsel, the chairelect said she doesn’t take things personally. She teaches young lawyers that, “there are always going to be people that perhaps are not easy to deal with, but I always assume positive intent and move forward.” “The COVID-19 pandemic has been an interesting time not only to lead but also to advise clients on how to deal with a variety of legal issues including restructuring, employee, regulatory, litigation, and insurance matters,” Yvette said. “The transactional practices are busier than ever.” At the same time, the pandemic “grew the legal market, but also disrupted it,” Yvette said. “We learned that we all could work from home, and also that there were many different parts of our business that were evolving rapidly because of the pandemic.” She added that the professional services industry should examine its environment wholistically— including how to train professionals in this new environment. 20

The pandemic also impacts talent recruitment, which has changed from years past, she said, adding that the firm’s recruiting footprint is not limited to the big cities. Sidley predicts robust growth for the firm based on several factors, Yvette said, “including being in the right places with the right clients, and being a place that welcomes diverse talent.” Yvette will become chair of the management committee in April 2022, and feels honored to be a leader in a 155-yearold global firm with a rich history. “It is an exciting time to lead with Mike Schmidtberger, chair of the Executive Committee, as the legal industry continues to push forward and evolve–with every day presenting more opportunities to serve more clients.” From her perspective as a Latina, Yvette said that the world has changed a lot since she started practicing in 1990 as a summer associate. “It has become more diverse, which I think is great not only for the pro-

fession but for our clients and the world generally.” She said it was hard to find role models who were experiencing the same challenges that she was, but she was fortunate to have mentors who would support her throughout her career. Yvette views diversity of thought as essential to giving the best advice and counseling to clients. As a global firm, she said, it is important for Sidley to reflect its client base and the community. It also is important to engage in rewarding activities and have fun outside of work, she said. Sidley offices emphasize community and pro bono service. Yvette currently serves on the boards of the Dallas Theatre Center, the USAA Film Festival, and the ATT Performing Arts Center. She enjoys movies, an interest that has grown during her service as a member of the board of directors of Lionsgate, multimedia entertainment company that also owns STARZ.



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Cozen O’Connor congratulates our friend and colleague Leslie Gomez, named to Latino Leaders Magazine 2021 Top Latino Lawyers list. Michael J. Heller

Vincent R. McGuinness

Executive Chairman & CEO (215) 665-4141 | mheller@cozen.com

President & Managing Partner (215) 665-2097 | vmcguinness@cozen.com

775 attorneys | 31 offices

cozen.com © 2021 Cozen O’Connor


Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP congratulates Kim Conroy for her recognition as 2021 Top Latino Lawyer and Melissa A. Barahona as a Latino Lawyer to Keep on the Watch.

Kim Conroy

Melissa A. Barahona

Kasowitz’s core focus is commercial litigation, complemented by our exceptionally strong bankruptcy/restructuring and real estate transactional practices. We are known for our creative, aggressive litigators and willingness to take on tough cases.


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We are pleased to publish once again another installment of the Top Latino Lawyers. Our team accepted nominations and completed a research that concluded with this list. All these lawyers have represented top clients, trials and carry an impressive career track.


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Managing Partner

Benny Agosto, Jr., a partner with Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner. He was born in New York City and raised in Puerto Rico. Some areas of practice inlude: Workplace Accidents, Personal Injury, Catastrophic Injuries, Wrongful Death, Product Defects and Business Litigation.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Eric Muñoz Corporate Partner

Eric Muñoz works with clients regarding debt issuance, maintenance and repayment. He also advises on debt covenant compliance and transaction structuring. Most recently, he has advised on recapitalizations to reduce debt and extend debt maturities, on structuring and issuing secured and unsecured debt, and on acquisition financing.Prior to his legal career, Eric held management positions in the health care and technology sectors. This background helps him understand strains on management, real-world implications of legal requirements and the impact of budget constraints.

Angel L. Reyes & Associates, P.C.

Angel Reyes Personal Injury President

Angel Reyes is Founder and Managing Partner of the law firm Reyes Browne Reilley. He began his legal career on Wall Street, subsequently relocated to Dallas, Texas and opened his law firm. Since 1993, Angel has helped over 40,000 injury victims receive over $1 billion in compensation for their injuries.Angel was named to the 2008-2021 Texas Monthly Super Lawyers list, the top honor issued to the best lawyers in Texas. Angel is often quoted by newspapers and periodicals throughout the country, and is a frequent guest on both national and local television and radio shows.

Armstrong Teasdale

Rafael X. Zahralddin Corporate and Commercial Litigation Partner

Rafael advises clients in corporate and commercial litigation, insolvency, distressed M&A, compliance, corporate law and entity formation, corporate governance, commercial transactions, cyber law, regulatory actions and cross-border issues. He represents clients in all aspects of bankruptcy and restructuring and has extensive experience in international commercial law issues. He has also worked for two decades with early stage companies and venture capitalists and private venture funds as both a transactional lawyer and a corporate litigator. He is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, which is limited to less than 1% of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction, and is a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Governance Fellow. He is co-editor and author of several chapters in the American Bar Association’s Reorganizing Failing Businesses, and has written an extensive number of publications for bar journals, periodicals, law reviews and trade organizations.

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De Castroverde Law Group

Carmen Rosas Estate Planning and Business Law

Alex De Castroverde Personal injury, criminal defense, and

Founder & Principal Attorney

immigration law Attorney, Managing Partner

Carmen’s comparison studies of the U.S. legal system and tribal systems in New Zealand, as well as her interest in policy change, led her to law school. Following this inspiration, she grew her legal skills and worked with three prominent Bay Area law firms while also volunteering with the Pro Bono Project of Silicon Valley. Today she is the founder and lead counsel of Carmen Rosas Law where she empowers women to take back control of their money, desires and life. Carmen’s unique approach to estate planning blends personalized, intuitive coaching with trusted legal advice to finally give women, especially Latina women, the chance to be seen and heard by an attorney who looks like them and gets it. Carmen has been featured in The Huffington Post, Forbes, The Penny Hoarder, Mamiverse, Modern Latina, and Blogs By Latinas where she shares her guidance and legal advice with women around the country.

Alex along with his brother Orlando, has continued what their father started and has built the largest Hispanic owned law firm in Nevada – and one of the largest Hispanic- owned Personal Injury law firms in the Western United States. The firm has grown from three attorneys to more than 80 people and has three offices in Southern Nevada (Las Vegas and Henderson) and one office in Reno, Nevada. Of the 80 employees, 20 are practicing attorneys. De Castroverde Law Group generated more than $10 million in revenue in 2020. The firm is also planning to expand into other states, starting with Arizona.


Benny Agosto Jr. Personal Injury & Business Litigation

Carmen Rosas Law

De Castroverde Law Group

Orlando De Castroverde Personal injury, criminal defense Attorney

Colorado Insurance Law Center

Damian Arguello Insurance Law Principal Attorney

Damian J. Arguello is the founder and Principal Attorney of Colorado Insurance Law Center, a private law firm representing insurance policyholders and providing insurance-related expert witness services. Damian is a former claims manager and counsels businesses, individuals, other attorneys, and insurance brokers on insurance matters. Damian is also an adjunct professor of insurance law at both the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the University of Colorado Law School. He writes and speaks frequently on insurance and risk management matters.

Cozen O'Connor

Leslie Gomez Institutional Response Group Vice Chair and Member

Leslie works directly with colleges and universities, K-12 schools, religious organizations, nonprofits, and corporations to design tailored and effective institutional responses to interpersonal violence and misconduct that integrate complex federal and state regulatory frameworks, a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of trauma and its impact on individuals and communities, and the unique institutional context. Prior to entering private practice, Leslie served as an assistant district attorney with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for 14 years, During her time at the District Attorney’s Office, Leslie supervised and mentored more than 100 young prosecutors. Leslie is a faculty member for ChildFirst Pennsylvania where she teaches forensic interviewing to multi-disciplinary teams of law enforcement and child protective services professionals. Leslie served on the stalking subcommittee of the U.S. Department of Education’s Negotiated Rulemaking Committee for the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and has been designated as an approved equity consultant by OCR.

Orlando De Castroverde has more than 20 years of experience practicing in the areas of Las Vegas personal injury and criminal defense. A partner at De Castroverde Law Group, which he founded with his brother Alex in 2005, Orlando is both a skilled trial lawyer and an experienced counselor. Following law school, Orlando De Castroverde clerked for District Court Judge Lee Gates for approximately a year and a half and then began to work for his father, attorney Waldo De Castroverde (1941-2014). Within weeks of going to work for his father, Orlando and Waldo tried a seven-count felony case in which the state charged Orlando’s client with defrauding the Bellagio for failing to pay back $300,000 in casino markers. Orlando was tasked with the jury selection, opening statement, and cross examination of several of the state’s key witnesses. After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. It was the first not guilty verdict on such a casino marker case in Las Vegas.

Diaz Leyva Group

Daniel Diaz Leyva Real Estate & Business Transactions Managing Partner

Daniel Diaz Leyva is an accomplished attorney and trusted advisor with a broad range of transactional experience, focused on the areas of real estate and business. He co-founded boutique law practice Diaz Leyva Group representing owner-operators, family offices, investors, home builders and developers as well as bank and non-bank lenders. Daniel supports clients in structuring, joint venturing, acquiring, financing, leasing, developing and selling real estate, as well as in loan transactions for bank and non-bank lenders. He advises clients on legal matters across daily business affairs, delivering a process driven approach to ongoing transactional needs. He also has extensive experience in government relations counseling clients with issues before local and state government.


Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner


07/01/22 9:33



Greenspoon Marder LLP

Bart Valdes

Adriana Collado-Hudak White Collar and Criminal Defense Senior Counsel

Bart Valdes is the Firm’s Managing Partner in the Tampa office. Bart is a Board Certified Specialist in Business Litigation by the Florida Bar. As a Board Certified Specialist, Bart is considered to be an expert in the area of business litigation. Board certification is the Florida Bar’s highest level of evaluation of the competency and experience of attorneys. Also, Bart holds the highest ranking an individual attorney can receive (AV), as designated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Bart has represented a variety of the Firm’s clients including small business owners, individuals, local governments, insurance companies, medium and large corporations, as well as nation-wide institutional clients in a wide range of matters. Bart has litigated, and continues to litigate, complex trial matters related to contract disputes, property disputes, eminent domain and condemnation actions, real estate disputes, insurance matters and general business disputes.

Gonzalez Olivieri LLC

Raed Gonzalez Immigration Chairman

Chairman, head of litigation, and managing partner of Gonzalez Olivieri LLC, where he has been helping clients with complex to ordinary immigration problems, assisted by his twenty years of immigration experience. Mr. Gonzalez is skilled in all aspects of civil and federal litigation. Gonzalez' practice involves all aspects of general immigration law, including family-based immigration, employment-based immigration, naturalization, and citizenship.

Greenberg Traurig

Cesar L. Alvarez Corporate


Senior Chairman

Cesar L. Alvarez is a Senior Chairman of Greenberg Traurig. He previously served as the firm's Executive Chairman for more than three years and as its Chief Executive Officer for 13 years. During his tenure as CEO, which began in 1997, he directed the firm's growth from 325 lawyers in eight offices to approximately 1850 attorneys and government professionals in more than 36 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America, including strategic alliances in Milan and Rome, Italy. Under Cesar's leadership, the firm was recognized as the fastest-growing law firm in the United States and is among the Top 10 law firms in the country. Throughout his career, he has represented numerous public companies and served on the boards of directors of several publicly traded corporations and charitable organizations.


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Over the last 16 years, Adriana has been recognized repeatedly as one of South Florida’s most respected White Collar and Criminal Defense litigators. Before entering private practice, Adriana worked in the Miami-Dade County Public Defender’s office (“PDO”) representing indigent defendants accused of criminal offenses. She has represented clients on numerous high-profile cases, including that of a UK investment broker involved in the notorious case of Anthony Gignac, the “Fake Saudi Prince.” As a member of Greenspoon Marder’s Diversity Council, Adriana is a driving force behind the firm’s inclusion and social justice initiatives. She helped successfully launch the firm’s Regional Diversity Ambassador program in which non-attorney staff work hand in hand with the Diversity Council to develop and implement the firm’s diversity initiatives. She volunteers her time to investigate and oversee complaints against members of the legal community.

Greenspoon Marder LLP

Marcela Bermudez Immigration & Naturalization Partner

Marcela Bermudez has distinguished herself as one of the most respected immigration lawyers in New York. Over the last 20 years, she has represented multinational companies, artists, athletes, banking, and high net worth individuals with their immigration concerns. She works with multinational corporations throughout the world to strategize and facilitate the transfer of its employees and their dependents for temporary assignments abroad, including obtaining the necessary residence and work permits, visa and post-entry registration. n the last year, she advised finance, manufacturing, entertainment and technology companies, entrepreneurs, and investors on global policy changes, work visas, and international travel bans due to COVID-19. What's more, Ms. Bermudez speaks on immigration issues at national and local conferences, including the American Immigration Lawyers Association and . She has co-authored articles for Cannabis Business Times and SHRM Magazine, and has been quoted and published in Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, Law360, and others.

Greenspoon Marder LLP

Myrna L. Maysonet Labor and Employment and Class Action Defense Partner and Chief Diversity Officer

With more than 20 years of experience, Myrna L. Maysonet is a partner with the Labor and Employment and Class Action Defense practice groups and serves as the firm’s Chief Diversity Officer. She concentrates her practice in employment litigation, counseling and defending corporations in all areas of employment including but not limited to hiring, disciplining, discharging employees and post-discharge litigation. Maysonet routinely protects employers’ rights against

administrative agencies such as the EEOC, DOL and the NLRB and multiple jurisdictions in states such as Florida, Nevada, Utah, Tennessee and South Carolina. Maysonet is recognized for her experience in the timeshare industry and has drafted analysis of the FHA and ADA rules, as they relate to the industry, for the American Resort and Development Association. Prior to joining Greenspoon Marder, Maysonet served as a Judge Advocate General in the United States Navy, where she represented service members in felony and misdemeanor cases.

Hernandez & Associates, P.C.

Arnulfo Hernandez Criminal Defense & Immigration Law Managing Partner

Hernández has dedicated his career to protecting the rights of others. For a decade, he has served his community through the legal representation of accused individuals. His law practice is broad and includes the defense of misdemeanors, felonies, and white-collar crimes. He is a courtroom attorney that regularly appears before Colorado state and federal judges. Arnulfo also protects the rights and liberties of others through immigration and crimmigration defense. He regularly represents individuals in immigration proceedings before federal agencies including the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. In situations where his client has been accused of a crime and faces immigration removal proceedings, a practice area known as “crimmigration,” Arnulfo has the hybrid knowledge to provide the most successful defense on all fronts.

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP

Kim Conroy Commercial Litigation Partner

Kim is among the select few of highly successful Latina partners handling highstakes, complex civil litigation and investigations. Kim represents major investment firms and hedge funds, financial institutions, corporations and high-net-worth individuals in securities, fraud, and business disputes. Kim is a key member of the Kasowitz team representing Alaskan Reefer Management and Kloosterboer International Forwarding, major shippers of frozen Alaskan fish, in a high profile case against the U.S. government and Customs and Border Protection involving the shipping of millions of pounds of Alaskan fish. In addition, Kim has adroitly led and managed several virtual trial teams during the pandemic. Kim was first chair of a six-day trial involving a complex valuation of a major hospital operator in a New York bankruptcy court. A pro bono champion, Kim is a key member of the Kasowitz team partnering with NYCbased advocacy organization LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

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Javier C. Grajeda is a Certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist under the Arizona Board of Legal Specialization. Following admission to the bar in 2010, Javier has exclusively represented Arizona injured workers. He serves as Treasurer for the Arizona Association of Lawyers for Injured Workers (AALIW). He’s also a member of the Bench and Bar Committee, comprised of Administrative Law Judges, claimant’s and defense attorneys to address issues related to the betterment of the hearing process at the Industrial Commission of Arizona.Javier served on the Board of Los Abogados, Arizona’s Hispanic Bar Association. He is also a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group (WILG). He has published and lectured on undocumented workers’ rights. He joined the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski in 2019 following eight years of practice as a partner in a major Phoenix workers’ compensation firm. At the Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, he continues his personal commitment to assist injured workers in securing maximum workers’ compensation benefits.

Manuel Diaz Law Firm, PC

Manuel Diaz Criminal, family, immigration, personal injury, civil CEO

Before founding the Manuel Diaz Law Firm, PC in Dallas, attorney Diaz worked as a corporate attorney with a top U.S.-based international law firm and was a partner at a boutique litigation firm in Dallas. In 2007, Attorney Diaz earned his Juris Doctor Degree at the SMU Dedman School of Law and received his undergraduate degree cum laude from Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business. In 2013, Attorney Diaz founded the Manuel Diaz Law Firm, PC to focus on serving the Hispanic community. The firm quickly expanded and has grown to a team of nearly 100 employees, 24 of them lawyers. The firm serves thousands of clients per year in the practice areas of criminal defense, family law, immigration, personal injury, and civil. It's main office is located in Dallas, with additional offices in Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Denton.

Lee & Peynado Immigration Law Group

Pamela Peynado Immigration Partner

Pamela is a Partner at Lee & Peynado Immigration Law Group in Alpharetta, Georgia. At the age of 29, Pamela became the youngest and only female partner in the history of the firm. Pamela handles a variety of immigration issues with a focus on deportation, removal and family-based immigration cases. Pamela is a symbol that hard work pays off as she now owns the firm where she was previously employed as a receptionist. Pamela has been recognized for her leadership, community service and achievement in the field. She is regularly invited to speak at conferences on immigration related topics and on women empowerment. Pamela has held leadership positions in various organizations, such as the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association. She served on Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s immigrant detention advisory council. In addition, Pamela was the only immigration attorney appointed to Senators Warnock & Ossoff Federal Nominations Advisory Commission which reviewed candidates for the presidential appointments of U.S. District Court Justice, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Marshals.

D.Business Scott Martinez and Governmental Law Managing Partner

Scott Martinez is a leading business and government law attorney and businessperson with first-hand knowledge of the interworking of the Colorado and US government. His blended background in business, law, and politics provides an edge to his clients and helps further their respective goals. He represents various non-profits, businesses, and industry leaders in their corporate matters and before local governments. He is a go-to problem solver for clients in every industry working under government regulation. Scott is known in Colorado and throughout the nation as more than a lawyer; he is an advisor and influencer when it comes to the businesses and politics that affect our community. As a visionary businessperson with a blended background in law and politics, he relies on his unique career experiences to shape the world to reflect Democratic policies. As a leading Latino entrepreneur and lawyer, he provides crucial insight into how political issues such as gerrymandering can affect the economics of communities of color long term.

Locke Lord LLP

Mauro Lilling Naparty, LLP

Katherine Handy Litigation

Richard Montes Civil Appeals



Katherine Handy’s practice extends to both federal and state courts, and includes all aspects of a claim from inception to final resolution. Katherine has previously managed a significant volume of cases involving personal injury and complex product liability. Her representative experience includes serving as lead trial attorney on three jury trials and

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Martinez and Partners, LLC

Richard J. Montes is a partner of Mauro Lilling Naparty LLP, the largest firm in the Northeast that handles appeals and litigation strategy. Since joining MLN eighteen years ago, Richard has handled numerous appeals in state and federal courts. His expansive practice includes medical and other professional malpractice; construction law; employment

law; general negligence; toxic tort; punitive damages; products liability; asbestos and commercial litigation. Richard, co-chairs the firm’s national damages program. In that role Richard has become a leading voice on the topic, including obtaining a landmark decision as lead appellate counsel in Cuevas v. Contra Costa County, 2017 WL 1507913 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2017). Numerous companies, insurance carriers and hospitals now turn to Richard to develop pre-trial, trial and mediation strategies in catastrophic injury cases. He is also a frequent lecturer and has published in a wide variety of practice areas.


Grajeda Javier Workers' Compensation

arguing on behalf of clients in hearings throughout Texas. Katherine also has extensive deposition and motion practice experience, and she has previously served as counsel on two discovery teams for global automotive manufacturers.

Latham & Watkins LLP

Marlon Paz Finance Partner

Marlon Paz counsels broker-dealers and other financial services firms in matters related to securities regulation, regulatory enforcement, internal investigations and examinations, and compliance. He also helps clients navigate acquisitions of brokers, dealers, and investment advisers. Paz combines government service, academia, and industry focus to help brokerage and advisory firms and individual executives as they manage complex securities laws. Clients turn to Paz when faced with complex regulatory matters before the SEC or one of the self-regulatory organizations, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Paz is an adjunct faculty member of Georgetown University Law Center and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, where he teaches courses on US regulation of financial institutions and securities markets, securities law and the internet, and international business litigation.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Alexis Amezcua Class Actions + Mass Torts, Product Life Cycle, Financial Services, Commercial Litigation + Trial Partner

Alexis has a successful track record defending and advising her clients in a variety of high-profile practice areas. She has extensive experience representing clients—including many major tech companies and household names—in complex, mass consumer class actions, along with federal MDL and state court-coordinated proceedings involving various unfair competition and deceptive trade practices state laws. Alexis, along with a number of other MoFo attorneys, headed to Texas and New Mexico as part of the immediate response to the migrant family crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. They provided legal assistance and advice, gathered donations for legal services organizations and shelters, and volunteered at local immigration clinics to work with detainees in search of asylum. Alexis’ commitment to pro bono has been a hallmark of her career—having had at least one active pro bono matter on behalf of the Latino community each year for the entirety of her career.


Law Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski


05/01/22 9:30


Morrison & Foerster LLP

My Orlando Lawyer

Arturo Gonzalez

Irene Pons Family Law, Immigration and Probate

Chair, Commercial Litigation + Trial


Arturo has been trying cases for over 35 years. He may be the only lawyer in the country who has successfully defended three trials where the plaintiff sought over $1 billion and has also won four verdicts in excess of $10 million.Arturo has tried cases for Uber, VMware, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Del Monte, and Kaiser Permanente. He was MoFo’s lead trial counsel in what has been hailed as the trade secrets case of the century involving autonomous vehicles (which settled after four trial days) and won a defense verdict in a $110 million claim against VMware alleging copyright infringement. He is a fellow with the American College of Trial Lawyers, an associate in the American Board of Trial Advocates, and a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Ruti Smithline Investigations + White Collar Defense Co-chair of the firm’s Investigations + White Collar Criminal Defense group and co-chair of the firm’s Latin America Desk

Ruti is co-chair of the firm’s Investigations + White Collar Defense group and co-chair of the firm’s Latin America Desk. She regularly advises clients on cross-border investigations, global compliance programs and anti-corruption due diligence for acquisitions, joint ventures, and private equity transactions. Ruti’s recent work includes serving on the corporate compliance monitor team for Odebrecht (now known as Novonor) pursuant to DOJ, World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank settlements. She was one of the named partners in the 2020 resolution documents for an Asian bank settling a BSA/AML matter with the Southern District of New York and the New York Department of Financial Services. She is regularly recognized by leading industry publications such as Chambers & Partners in their Latin America guide for Corporate Crime & Investigations .

Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP

Michael Rodriguez Intellectual Property

Pons Meyers is an Associate Lecturer at the University of Central Florida in the Department of Legal Studies. She has been teaching at the University of Central Florida over 14 years. She is heavily engaged in community outreach and closely works with the Immigrant Justice Center and Farmworker's Association of Apopka. She provides guidance and legal advice to Mexican Immigrants in the areas of Paternity, Adoption and Immigration. Broadly, Pons' teaching innovation is interdisciplinary, combining legal studies, social justice, immigration, and film to uncover and expose the real-world social injustices at the United States-Mexican border. Irene Pons is a humble and selfless educator, mentor, and social activist.

Quintana Law Firm LLC

Salvador Quintana Real estate and estate planning Attorney & Partner

Quintana's areas of expertise focuses on the practice areas of real estate law; estate planning, estate administration and probate, and related civil litigation. Quintana is a native of Denver, Colorado. He has an extensive business background in addition to his legal experience. He earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Denver, Sturm College of Law; a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management & Entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Leeds School of Business; and then graduated with honors from New Mexico Highlands University where he earned his Master of Business Administration.Quintana founded the Quintana Law Firm, LLC in 2011 to be able to provide his clients more personal service and attention in resolving their legal matters in a timely, efficient way, and to be able to better help those in need of legal services. Prior to starting the law firm he was an associate attorney at a mid-sized Denver law firm where he practiced real estate law and civil litigation and previous to that he was in-house counsel for Mines & Associates, P.C. where he advised its executive leadership on strategic planning, negotiations, corporate compliance and governance.


Managing Partner


Michael is the managing partner of Munck Wilson Mandala’s Austin office, and he is part of the technology/intellectual property law group. Michael’s practice emphasizes patent and trademark preparation and prosecution and includes domestic and international patent procurement and enforcement; analysis of infringement and invalidity in support of litigation. He also counsels clients on copyright and trademark enforcement and compliance. He has experience prosecuting and defending reexaminations in a variety of technical areas including power electronic devices, computer software, and semiconductor devices.Prior to joining Munck Wilson Mandala, Michael worked as an associate at a prominent Dallas-based intellectual property boutique. Before attending law school, Michael was employed as a registered professional engineer with TXU, with senior engineering status.

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Roman Law Offices

Eneida Roman Estate/Real Estate/Small Business Law Founder & Principal

Eneida is a trained attorney and organizational psychologist, and for two decades, she has used her expertise in law, conflict resolution, cultural competence, and public affairs to advise her clients. Eneida is Founder of Roman Law, a Boston-based boutique law firm and Partner of Omega Global Advisors, a government relations firm. She is known as a catalytic pacesetter and an ardent champion of advancing women and Latinos. Eneida has served in prominent board leadership roles in the American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Massachusetts Bar Association.

In 2012 she co-founded The Latina Circle, Inc dba Amplify Latinx, a Boston-based social venture that is advancing Latina leaders across industries into positions of power and influence and is Chair of its Board of Directors. In 2018, Amplify Latinx launched its PowerUp Latinx Biz initiative focused on activating Massachusetts’ untapped economic potential by increasing growth and economic opportunity for Latinx-owned and led businesses. Among other notable accolades, Eneida is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a distinction limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction.


Jorge R. DeArmas Public Law Counsel

Jorge has extensive trial and appellate level litigation experience, having successfully represented clients before the Federal District Court of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Superior Court and Office of Administrative Law and the New York Supreme Court.Early on in his career, he also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Dorothea, O’C. Wefing, P.J.A.D. in the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division.He received his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, NJ. Mr. de Armas received his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ, where he majored in Economics and History.

Scarinci Hollenbeck

Ramon E. Rivera Corporate/Government Law Partner, Chair, Labor & Employment Law Group

Ramon is a Partner at Scarinci Hollenbeck and chairs the firm’s Labor and Employment practice group. Ramon focuses much of his practice on Labor and Employment matters in both the public and private sector on behalf of management. He focuses on resolution of employment disputes, collective bargaining, employee grievances, EEOC complaints, and other workplace issues. He represents several municipalities as Labor Counsel, wherein he provides legal advice and representation on employment matters, collective bargaining, employee grievances and a multitude of workplace issues. Ramon is a member of the Cannabis Law practice group at the firm. He has a thorough knowledge of the current state laws regarding medical cannabis and proposed legislation on adult use. Most recently, Ramon was appointed to the transition team of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy to serve on the Transition Counsel Committee. Ramon was also elected to the Essex County Democratic Committees Hall of Fame.

Sidley Austin LLP

Sara Garcia Duran Private Equity, M&A, Capital Markets Partner

Sara Garcia Duran, a partner at the global law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, guides leading private equity firms and public companies through a variety of complex corporate transactions. This includes

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Sidley Austin LLP

Yolanda Garcia

Practice: Commercial Litigation and Disputes; Energy; Securities and Shareholder Litigation Partner, Global Co-Head of Sidley’s Securities and Shareholder Litigation practice; Global Co-Head of Sidley’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Yolanda has spent two decades as a high-stakes litigator. She holds significant leadership positions at Sidley, including as Global Co-Head of its Securities and Shareholder Litigation practice, and as Global CoHead of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Yolanda represents corporations, corporate officers and directors in national class actions, multi-jurisdictional cases, domestic and international arbitrations, securities cases, and internal investigations.Yolanda was the lead trial lawyer on the historic Texas Rangers Baseball Partners restructuring and auction, a key member of the trial team in the American Airlines multibillion dollar antitrust suit, and lead litigator in the contested multibillion dollar restructuring of SemGroup Corp. She has conducted crisis management counseling for numerous companies under business-threatening circumstances, including MGM Resorts International. Yolanda also represented Texas Pacific Land Trust on its January 2021 reorganization into Texas Pacific Land Corporation (TPLC). Other clients have included Airbus Helicopters, Halliburton, The Williams Companies, Zale Corporation, ALFA, HealthMarkets, Inc. and BearingPoint, Inc.

Sidley Austin LLP

Yvette Ostolaza Litigation and Investigations Chair Elect, Management Committee; Global Head of Litigation

Yvette is the chair-elect of Sidley’s Management Committee, global co-leader of the litigation practice and a member of the firm’s COVID-19 task force. Yvette was also the youngest woman and the first Hispanic woman to be named to Sidley’s Management and Executive Committees, which oversee the 2000-lawyer firm. She is an elite litigator and a strong advocate for diversity, and has built Sidley’s Dallas office into one of the city’s most prominent and diverse law offices. She developed Sidley’s Dallas office from 15 lawyers with a limited number of practices in 2013, to 61 lawyers today which serve clients involving various areas of law including intellectual

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Squire Patton Boggs

José Feris International Dispute Resolution Partner

José Feris is a partner in the firm’s International Dispute Resolution Practice Group specializing in international commercial arbitration, public international law and investment arbitration. José represents private and public entities, as well as sovereign states in commercial and investment arbitration proceedings. He has worked extensively with clients and entities in Latin America, Africa, Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia and has a particular focus on disputes in the construction and energy sectors.Before joining the firm, José served at the ICC International Court of Arbitration where, in addition to Deputy Secretary General, he occupied the positions of Acting Secretary General, Managing Counsel, Counsel and Deputy Counsel. Previously in his career, José served as law clerk to Judges Kooijmans and Rezek at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and also worked for the Legal Advisor to the President of the Dominican Republic and represented the Dominican Republic during the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

Squire Patton Boggs

Paula Galhardo Corporate Principal

Paula Galhardo is principal in the firm's Corporate Practice Group and chair of the firm's Brazil Country Desk. Paula represents of a diverse range of businesses – from owner-managed groups to multinationals operating in the chemicals, energy, industrial and manufacturing sectors – in inbound and outbound international transactional matters involving Latin America, including mergers and acquisitions, international contracts, anticorruption compliance and investigations. Paula spent the first years of her career as a business and transactional lawyer in Brazil before moving to the US in 2006. Dual qualified in New York and Brazil, Paula focuses her practice on advising US, Latin America, Europe and Asia clients on corporate transactions in numerous jurisdictions. Currently, Paula serves as regional counsel for a public chemical company in Latin America, which includes operations in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. Paula also advises clients in anticorruption compliance in Latin America.

Squire Patton Boggs

Rhina Martinez Brea Corporate Partner

Rhina focuses her practice on corporate, lending and real estate matters. She advises and assists clients with the drafting and negotiation of a variety of contracts including joint venture, shareholders’, stock purchase, escrow, services, consulting, stock pledge and chattel mortgage agreements. She also provides legal advice to non-Dominican and Dominican corporate clients, including US and European banks, in the structuring, implementing and securing of international financial transactions. Some of her representative matters include: Acting as Dominican counsel to Banco Popular Dominicano, Acting as Dominican counsel to a major US investment bank and Acting as Dominican legal counsel to Advent International Corporation and its subsidiaries Advent Airports, B.V. and Latin America Airport Holdings, Ltd.


property, private equity, global finance and commercial litigation and disputes. She litigates matters in U.S. state and federal trial and appellate courts on behalf of global clients. Yvette also serves as the Vice Chair, Ethics and Investigations Subcommittee of the ABA Corporate Governance Committee. Her clients include MGM Resorts, Hunt Oil, Chuck E. Cheese Entertainment, Tuesday Morning Corporation, EnLink, Inc., Neiman-Marcus, MHR Holdings, Alix Partners, Zale Corporation, Michaels, Trinity Industries, McAtee, Inc., Special Committee of Southwest Airlines, SM Energy, Inc., and VBH.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Brigida Benitez Partner

Brigida Benitez focuses on complex civil litigation, internal investigations, and global anti-corruption issues. She has represented a wide range of clients, including financial institutions, pharmaceutical companies, universities, international development firms, and individuals, as well as boards of directors and special litigation committees of public company boards. She has litigated high-profile cases in trial and appellate courts throughout the United States, including the US Supreme Court. Brigida draws on almost 30 years of experience representing clients in high-stakes, complex disputes and helping them solve challenging problems that stem from business disputes, compliance matters, and employee misconduct.Brigida is a past president of the DC Bar, the largest unified bar in the country, with more than 100,000 members worldwide. She serves as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches a course on international business litigation and federal practice.

The Castro Firm, Inc.

Tabatha Castro Private Managing Attorney/Owner

Tabatha will be the newest HBA NJ president. She is a member of the Melson/ Arsht and Judge Randy Holland Inns of Court and the Immediate Past Chairperson for the Multi-cultural Judges and Lawyers section of the Delaware State Bar Association. Castro was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Women’s Business Center in Wilmington. She also serves on the Executive Boards of the Delaware Hispanic Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey (Trustee for Cumberland, Salem and Gloucester Counties). Castro co-founded “Latinos Unidos,” which is an affinity organization through the United Way of Delaware and sits on the Steering Committee for the First Generation Lawyers at Delaware Law School.


industry-changing public and private acquisitions, divestitures, and investments. She also advises clients on general corporate governance matters and compliance issues with a focus on security regulators. Sara’s range, experience, and results have earned her significant recognition, including most recently by this very publication, and she is noted for her deep community involvement. A thought leader, she has contributed to leading legal publications such as Business Law Today, Law360, and the Business & Bankruptcy Law Journal, among others. Prior to joining Sidley in October 2013, Sara worked as a corporate associate in the Dallas office of Weil Gotshal and Manges where she represented a wide range of clients in a variety of industries. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin Law School.


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The Dominguez Firm

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Zamora Law Boutique

Juan Dominguez Injury and employment law

Manuel Berrelez Complex Commercial Litigation

Hilda Zamora Family Law and Criminal Defense

CEO and Managing Partner


Attorney At Law

Juan J. Dominguez is a nationally recognized, award-winning personal injury attorney. He is the founder, CEO and Managing Partner of The Dominguez Firm, LLP; a Los Angeles based personal injury, workers' compensation and employment law practice with a legal staff of over one hundred and twenty employees. The firm is one of the most successful and well-known injury law firms in Southern California. Dominguez is a lifetime member of the exclusive Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Elite Lawyers of America and a long-time member of several other major national, state and local bar associations, including The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 and The Order of Distinguished Attorneys of the Beverly Hills Bar Association. His significant experience as a trial lawyer was recognized by the Trail Masters lawyer association with a lifetime membership and the Seal of Experience award.

Vasquez Law Group

Regina Vasquez Bankruptcy Attorney/Owner

Regina has been practicing exclusively in bankruptcy law since November 2011. She designed her firm to be dedicated to assisting people in their time of financial need. She's also a counselor for her clients to guide them through a very stressful time. Regina attended St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas and graduated in 2007. While there she worked for the House of Representatives. Her last clerkship was with David Peake, who is a standing Chapter 13 trustee in the district. Her goal with the law firm is to give every case the attention it deserves.

Verónica Quiñónez Law, PLLC

Veronica Quinonez Family and Mediation



Verónica Quiñónez is the owner of Veronica Quinonez Law, PLLC. Her practice focuses on providing legal representation and mediation services in the area of family law, including civil protection orders and cases involving issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse. She received her Juris Doctorate degree from Seattle University School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from The University of Texas at El Paso. Verónica is a 2017 graduate of the University of Washington Law School Washington Leadership Institute, a 2021 graduate of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Latina Leadership Academy, and a current Ladder Down fellow. She taught negotiations and alternate dispute resolution as an affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Law in 2018.


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Manuel Berrelez is a trial and regulatory enforcement lawyer who represents businesses and individuals in a wide range of litigation and investigation matters. Manuel’s practice focuses on fraud and fiduciary duty claims, government and internal investigations, various regulatory and compliance matters, bankruptcy-related litigation, and other complex business disputes. He frequently advises and defends current and former directors and officers facing regulatory enforcement actions, including matters alleging fiduciary duty claims, unsafe and unsound practices, and violations of other federal and state laws. He also counsels clients in bankruptcy-related litigation.His notable victories include his successful defense of a bank CEO and board chairman sued by the federal government in a regulatory matter.

Hilda is the founder and lead counsel for Zamora Law Boutique where she provides a variety of legal services including family law, criminal defense, personal injury and lemon law to clients in the Coachella Valley. Her passion and winning reputation have earned her the title of "La Defensora Del Pueblo," the " People's Defender" or " The Ombudswoman." She has been practicing law for 9 years. Today she's known as a legal giant in her community as she works on behalf of the voiceless and powerless in the Coachella Valley. Now, she is taking her story, lessons and advice across the country to inspire other women, particularly, Latina women, to get educated and live the life they always dreamed of and become la mujer poderosa they are meant to be.

Ybarra Maldonado and Alagha, PLLC

Jazmin Alagha Criminal Defense Partner

Jazmin J. Alagha is a partner with Ybarra Maldonado & Alagha, PLLC. Her practice areas include criminal defense and plaintiffs and personal injury litigation. She has been practicing law in the valley for the last ten years.Alagha continued her pursuit to become a trial attorney when she joined the Maricopa County Public Defender’s office following a year of practice in immigration law at a local boutique immigration firm. As felony trial attorney, she managed a heavy caseload ranging from minor drug possession to large scale drug conspiracy and aggravated dangerous offenses.Eventually, Alagha opened her own law firm and eventually partnered with Ray Ybarra Maldonado to provide exceptional services and reliable representation to Latinos, immigrants, and Hispanic communities in Arizona.

Ybarra Maldonado Law Group

Ray Ybarra Maldonado Immigration and Personal Injury Partner

Ray is a Stanford Law School educated attorney who focuses on high profile, complex criminal, immigration, and personal injury cases. He is an adjunct faculty member, teaching Evidence, at the Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law at Arizona State University. He has attained not guilty verdicts for his clients in both state and federal courts. In addition to attaining not guilty verdict he has won motions to suppress evidence that have resulted in complete dismissal of cases and has attained victories at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and at the Arizona Supeme Court. In the immigration context, his clients have successfully been bonded out of immigration detention, attained U Visas, have had VAWA applications approved, won appeals after denials from USCIS, and attained permanent resident status following an individual hearing (equivalent of trial in immigration court), and he has had multiple cases completely dismissed or had stay of deportations granted.


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We present this year’s list of young Latino Lawyers that have an impressive background, successful work and have been involved deeply within their community. These lawyers continue to leave their mark and pave their career path.



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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Alan Carrillo Financial Restructuring Associate

Carrillo is an associate in the firm’s financial restructuring practice, where he represents debtors, creditors, and committees in chapter 11 proceedings, workouts, and bankruptcy litigation. Before joining Akin Gump, he served as an inaugural law clerk to the Honorable Brantley Starr, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and as an associate in the Dallas office of another international law firm. At Patrick Henry College, he studied government (concentrating in strategic intelligence), excelled in moot court and debate, and completed an investigations internship with International Justice Mission—a global non-profit organization that protects people in poverty from violence. Now Alan prioritizes in his career pro bono representation, public justice system reform, and local nonprofit advocacy in Dallas.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Ashley Garcia Investment Funds Associate

Ashley Garcia is a member of the firm’s investment management practice and has experience in fund formation, structuring, regulatory compliance and operation of domestic and offshore private investment funds, including private equity, real estate and hedge funds. Her key experience includes representing investment managers in connection with the launch of various private investment funds and assisting with on-going operational and regulatory compliance matters.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Victor Salcedo Labor




Salcedo advises on a range of labor and employment matters. His work extends to: Wage and Hour/Fair Labor Standards Act litigation and counseling, class actions , California labor and employment litigation, wrongful termination matters, Misclassification disputes, payroll recordkeeping requirements. Representative work: represented a Big 4 accounting company in a Private Attorneys General Act dispute regarding recordkeeping, assisted a retail and manufacturing global brand in a putative class action dispute regarding employee misclassification, counseled an emergency health care entity in a dispute alleging racial discrimination and hostile work environment, aided a film organization in a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, represented a major retailer in a wage and hour class action lawsuit.

lando, FL. While in law school, Ms. Alvarez worked as a Certified Legal Intern for the Department of Children and Families in the 9th Judicial Circuit in Orlando, FL. This allowed her to represent the State’s interest in protecting abused and/or abandoned children under the supervision of licensed attorneys. After receiving her license to practice, Alvarez became Of Counsel at a small Central Florida family law firm where she managed the family law department and maintained her own solo practice. Ms. Alvarez has handled hundreds of cases with complex legal issues throughout the Central Florida region particularly in the areas of paternity and dissolutions of marriage.

Colorado Common Cause

Amanda Gonzalez Elections and Government Transparency Executive Director

Gonzalez is a connector, advocate, and systems change whose work focuses on creating more inclusive governments, business, and communities. In her time as the executive director at Colorado Common Cause she has lead work to ensure that all Coloradans are able to participate in our democracy. She’s also served as a board member for Focus Points Family Resource Center, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Colorado Lawyers Chapter of the American Constitution Society, New Era Colorado Education Fund, and the Colorado Fiscal Institute. Amanda holds an undergraduate degree (psychology/cognitive science) from Occidental College and a law degree from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

De Castroverde Law Group

Kimberly Valentin Personal injury Attorney

Valentin received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2007. She earned her law degree from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Kimberly received CALI awards for the top grade in three classes. She joined De Castroverde Law Group as a law clerk in 2010 and has been with the firm ever since. She primarily practices in the area of personal injury litigation. She feels great satisfaction in helping clients who are not familiar with the American legal system and are in much need of an advocate and counselor through the intense and adversarial litigation process.

Christina Alvarez Family, Probate Managing Attorney

Alvarez graduated with her Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Or-

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Greenspoon Marder LLP

Amanda Phillips Real Estate Associate

Phillips has distinguished herself as one of the top young women lawyers in the South Florida legal community. As an associate in the Real Estate practice group at Greenspoon Marder, her practice focuses on assisting with the representation of a variety of clients in commercial real estate transactions, including retail, mixed-use, and self-storage. Phillips has worked on numerous million-dollar real estate transactions, including counseling developers and lenders on both commercial and residential properties. As a transactional real estate and banking attorney, her success is achieved when each party reaches favorable terms for her client's, closes a loan or a purchase of property, and allows each party to have a measure of satisfaction. Phillips graduated from the Leadership Broward Class XXXVIII.

Gutierrez Law Group

Patricio J. Gutierrez Corporate & Business Founder & Managing Attorney

Patricio J. Gutiérrez is the Founder and Managing Attorney of Gutierrez Law Group PLLC and focuses his practice on corporate and international transactional law. As a business and corporate lawyer, Patricio advises clients on a variety of transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, business formation, corporate financing and private securities, real estate acquisitions, contract drafting and negotiation, and federal trademark registration. He assists domestic and international clients with the creation, governance, and sale of corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, and other legal entities in the State of Texas. Patricio obtained his Juris Doctor from the SMU Dedman School of Law and earned his B.A. in Political Science from The University of Texas in Austin.

Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP Fisher Phillips

LaLonnie Gray Labor and Employment Associate

C. Alvarez Law

defends clients against nationwide class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and related state wage-and-hour laws and representative actions brought under California’s Private Attorneys General Act. She has extensive experience defending equal pay litigation and agency investigations in response to state and federal Commissioner’s Charges.

LaLonnie represents clients, ranging from small businesses to national companies, in all areas of labor and employment law. She focuses her practice primarily on defending employment related claims in both state and federal courts in California and Colorado and counseling employers on preventative measures to avert litigation. LaLonnie regularly

Melissa A. Barahona Employment Litigation; Commercial Litigation Associate

Melissa, an associate at Kasowitz Benson Torres, is one of the nation’s most promising Latinx litigators at a top national law firm. As one of Kasowitz’s most accomplished rising stars, Melissa has rapidly developed a successful track record of recovering or defending against claims for hundreds of millions of dollars for major companies and prominent senior executives in employment and commercial disputes, showcasing

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Jeanette Mora Wills, Estates, Trusts, Guardianships Managing Attorney

Jeanette is the Managing Attorney of the Law Office of Jeanette Mora, P.A. Mora serves her community by providing legal services in the areas of Probate, Guardianships, Estate Planning and Special Needs Planning. Prior to obtaining her law degree, for over 20 years Ms. Mora served as a Certified Financial Planner™ and Wealth Management Advisor in the securities and financial services industry working for companies such as Citibank, Merrill Lynch, Vanguard, and MassMutual. She is a board member of the Hispanic American Professional Business Women’s Association (HAPBWA), an active member of the Central Florida Association of Women Lawyer; Orange County Bar Association; Osceola County Bar Associations; Paul C. Perkins Bar Association; serves as an Osceola County Mediator.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Kelly Kuschel Real Estate Associate

Kelly is part of a team of attorneys representing real estate owners and stakeholders in connection with their ownership, use, and financing of real estate. Clients include national and international companies, real estate investment trusts (REITs), institutional lenders, private equity funds, pension funds, and advisers. Kelly represents clients in the acquisition and sale of real estate and multiple-property portfolios of all sizes, assists with the real estate aspects of corporate acquisitions and mergers and represents institutional investors in multimillion dollar real estate joint venture transactions. In his facilitation of energy projects across the United States, Kelly provides diligence and transactional support at all stages, including acquisition, development, sale, operation, and financing.

Munck Wilson Mandala LLP

Jocelyn Leinart Sports & Entertainment Associate

Jocelyn is an associate attorney in Munck Wilson Mandala’s entertainment and sports practice. Josie’s legal career has involved her working on litigation matters, including drafting pleadings, motions, and settlement agreements, preparing discovery, and handling negotiations with involved parties. She also supports clients in transactional and corporate law, and she will work in the firm’s entertainment and sports practices, helping the firm build business in the LA market. She received her J.D. from Loyola Law School in LA. She attended UCLA for her undergraduate degree, earning a B.A. in mass media communications.

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Tomas Alarcon Commercial Litigation & Tort Defense Counsel

A Laredo, Texas native, Tomas is a skilled litigator with experience on both sides of the bar. His practice focuses on business torts and high-stakes personal injury defense. Tomas has particular experience conducting investigations, identifying potentially problematic issues before they develop, and finding litigation strategies that are designed to maximize dispute resolution while preparing the matter for trial.

Rivero Mestre LLP

Sylmarie Trujillo Commercial Litigation Associate

Trujillo focuses her practice on complex, cross-border disputes, specifically involving Latin America. She has played an important role in a wide-range of high-stakes litigation matters involving the FCPA, fraud, tort claims, federal and state court litigation, and international arbitration. Sylmarie earned her Bachelor of Science in Economics from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. She earned her Juris Doctor at Florida International University College of Law. While there, she served as the Executive Managing Editor for the FIU Law Review and was a member of the Board of Advocates, earning 10th Best Oralist in the Price Media Moot Court Competition at Oxford University. She also earned the FIU Law Award for Outstanding Oral Advocacy Skills.

the associate ranks. Melissa’s engagements span numerous industries and legal claims, including those involving breach of contract, business torts and securities claims. She defends and counsels financial institutions, broker-dealers, investment advisers and senior corporate officers in investigations and enforcement matters brought by government agencies and other regulators, including the SEC. A graduate of Cornell Law School, Melissa clerked for Judge George B. Daniels in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York.


Law Office of Jeanette Mora, P.A.

Norton Rose Fulbright USLLP

Sidley Austin LLP

David A. Silva White Collar Defense and Commercial Litigation and Disputes Counsel

David A. Silva is Counsel in Sidley’s White Collar Litigation & Investigations group, and regularly defends companies and their directors, officers, and employees in complex criminal and civil investigations and related government enforcement actions. He frequently represents clients in issues arising out of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the False Claims Act, financial reporting misstatements, regulatory fraud, environmental violations, and employee misconduct. David has successfully defended over a dozen cases in federal and state court as lead counsel, and frequently conducts multinational investigations throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. He is a member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and often advises clients on anticorruption, compliance, ethics, and data privacy matters.

Squire Patton Boggs Shipman & Goodwin LLP

Natalia Sieira Millan School Law/Education Associate

Natalia is a member of the firm's School Law Practice Group. She is active in all areas of school law, including freedom of information hearings, policy development, student disciplinary matters, employee disciplinary matters, and all other legal proceedings involving boards of education. Natalia also represents boards of education in labor relations matters, including collective bargaining with both certified and non-certified bargaining units. In addition, Natalia teaches school law courses at the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education and the School of Education at Quinnipiac University.

Sidley Austin LLP

Melissa Colón-Bosolet Commercial Litigation and Disputes Partner

Melissa represents clients in high-risk business disputes in federal and state courts, as well as arbitrations and internal investigations. Her litigation experience spans all aspects of pleadings, discovery and trial. She is the second Latina at the 2,000-lawyer global firm to rise to partnership from

Francisco Batlle International Dispute Resolution Senior Associate

Francisco J. Batlle is a senior associate in our International Dispute Resolution Practice, focusing on international law and arbitration. He has significant experience in public international law matters. Francisco acts as counsel to sovereigns, state-owned companies and individuals in complex international legal proceedings involving a wide range of institutions, procedural rules and treaties. He regularly intervenes in investor-state arbitrations and cross-border disputes to address public international law elements.

Squire Patton Boggs

Miguel Cano Corporate Associate

Miguel Cano is an associate the firm’s Corporate practice specializing in capital markets. He previously served as head of the legal, trust and compliance division for several broker/ dealers, and was in charge of managing litigation and providing advice to the treasury department of a global commercial bank in the Dominican Republic. He has more than six years of experience as a banking and capital markets attorney. His work involves


her remarkable courtroom advocacy and negotiation skills, and her ability to think strategically. Her practice focuses on all aspects of employment-related and commercial litigation.


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advising on monetary and financial regulation, as well as the financial structuring of transactions and instruments. He holds degrees from Boston University (LL.M., M.A.) Torcuato Di Tella University, (LL.M., Bs. As.), and Pontificia Univer. Catolica Madre y Maestra (LL.B., D.R.).

Uribe Reyes Law

Cristina Uribe Reyes Immigration Solo Practioner

Vinson & Elkins LLP

Yuri Bazan Law

Rafael Alvarado Finance

Yuridia Bazan Personal Injury/Family Law

Senior Associate


Rafael’s practice focuses on the representation of financial institutions and corporate borrowers in a wide range of commercial lending transactions. He has assisted clients with domestic and international transactions, including syndicated credit facilities, senior and subordinate credit facilities, energy loans, acquisition financings and other leveraged financings.

Yuri Bazán is a bilingual trial lawyer whose practice focuses on family law and personal injury disputes. She was born in Tamaulipas, Mexico and was raised by a single mother in southern Texas. She's a passionate lawyer, business woman, and a single mother herself.


Cristina was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and came to the United States when she was two years old. Her passion for immigration law came from her own experience of growing up undocumented in the United States. She has since become a citizen of the United States and helped many clients obtain their own citizenship.


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As chief executive officer of Mexico-based Coca-Cola FEMSA, John Anthony Santa Maria Otazua has embarked one of the biggest missions of his four-decade career in the soft drink industry.


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JOHN SANTA MARIA is guiding the transformation of the world's largest bottler of Coca-Cola products into a digital platform able to fulfill orders "any place, any time" for its Latin American customers. "We are going from retail trade, being serviced by specific companies, to retailers being serviced by platforms and that is a huge, huge disruption for Latin America," Santa Maria said. However, he expects that two or three years down the road, that these new ways of buying, shopping and selling will engulf Latin America. In 18 months, Coca-Cola FEMSA has gone from zero of its 1,900,000 clients on an omni-channel platform to 700,000 in the ten countries in its franchise. Santa Maria projects this platform will have two million accounts as well as other services in three years. The company's transition, he said, is bolstered by its strong customer relationships, its vision and the partnership of the Coca-Cola company. Santa Maria’s leadership is fueled by his devotion to keeping abreast of his industry and trade trends. Essentially, he bridges the problematic divide between young people native to the digital world and people who are in a risky situation because of the lack of these capabilities. What has driven Santa Maria's development as a company leader are the values fostered by his multi-national and bilingual family while he grew up in New York City, where he was born, and New Jersey and Mexico. His parents were immigrants, with his father Spanish and his mother of Spanish and Mexican descent. He describes their contribution as "an equation of competitiveness, sensitivity and frugality, as well as valuing achievement and not having a sense of endowment – earn it." Santa Maria said his parents also taught him the value of being humble. As CEO, he regularly visits frontline employees, a time which he says is precious. "Being able to listen and act and to see something come out of it is an enormous part of why you are successful," he said. Moreover, this interaction gives workers the confidence that allows them to get more empowered and engaged in what they are doing. A key point in Santa Maria’s took place when his father took a job in Mexico City. The future CEO graduated from the American School and then went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he studied business administration and finance. He

returned to Mexico to work with 3M company where after a year he was asked to become vice president of marketing, an assignment well-suited to his interests. However, his father suggested he would have greater opportunities if he got an MBA, which he did at SMU. With the graduate degree in hand, he worked at McKinsey and Company and then spent 13 years at PepsiCo which included a stint in London. Santa Maria returned to Mexico and became new business development and strategy director. "We started developing all the returnable plastic bottles which was an innovation in the industry," he said. In 1995, Santa Maria joined Coca-Cola FEMSA as chief operating officer for Mexico. In 2014, he became CEO. "What I look to do is to be in every corner of our operation, know every warehouse we have, and every plant, this is the only way you know how competent your organization is." Moreover, knowing what is behind the numbers enables him to understand "what selling soft drinks is all about." At Coca-Cola FEMSA the numbers include 1.9 million customers and 900,000 transactions every day at the point of sale. "We started off with half of what we now have in Mexico and a subsidiary in Argentina, he said, "and we tripled the size of the business covering a third of Latin America to become the leading bottler within the Coca Cola system." The company reaches those customers at least twice a week which enables it to de-

sign a commercial system that understands where that customer is and what kind of promotions are needed. While distribution is relatively concentrated in Mexico City there are routes that run two hours to the tops of mountains and very rural areas. There also are challenges in different markets, different countries, different cultures," he said. There can be bumps in the road, and Santa Maria said "sometimes you have to understand what is economically feasible and what is not. However, you don't stop, you learn, and you keep pushing forward, you try to succeed." Santa Maria's advice to young executives is: "Don't think about your career, think about doing the right thing for your business, the career part will come." The need to keep updated and trained is a trait that Santa Maria advises for young executives. "That is your responsibly not the company's," he added. He also suggests, "Do what you enjoy doing, something where you can make a difference. This is something you are going to do for the rest of your life so you better be doing something you like." he said. Santa Maria is devoted to giving back to society and to his community. "There is a lot of things we are involved with that goes beyond business," he said. But what he enjoys the most is something he learned growing up, which is the importance of family and of building people, especially children. He has four. "This is probably the biggest life's job and responsibility," he said, "and if you are successful about it, you have done a great job."


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LATINOS IN EDUCATION Elisa Villanueva, as chief executive officer of Teach for America is deeply involved in achieving the nonprofit organization's goal of providing low-income students with greater opportunities to reach their potential through a more equitable and outstanding public education experience.


AT THE CORE of this mission and the impetus behind Villanueva's 23-year TFA career Is what she views as a "crisis of injustice," that where one is born determines that person's life prospects. This problem was heightened by COVID-19, she said, "but long before the pandemic we saw how inequitable the education system was for so many kids and Latino kids are in the middle of that, left out of the system." For Villanueva, a Rio Grande Valley native, overcoming this disparity hits close to home, emerging from her struggles during her first year at DePauw University in Indiana. Villanueva grew up family where education was central and fundamental to everything in her life and that getting a college degree was stressed as essential. Elisa graduated from high school in McAllen, Texas, and then with the encouragement of a mentor she left home to attend college in the Midwest, a place totally foreign to her, and enrolled at DePauw University where people of color were seven percent of enrollment. Villanueva's goal was to become a lawyer and she expected to do well at the Indiana college. After all, she was the "kid who did absolutely everything right in school," she said, and was an A-plus student, student body president, and an all-star basketball player. But she quickly discovered that her education had not prepared her for the rigors of college, particularly in comparison to her peers who came from white, upper middle-class America. Three months into what she recalled as a shocking and deflating


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experience there was a pivotal phone call with her mother. Villanueva said she didn't think she was college material and could not figure a path forward. Elisa's mother said she was very sad for her daughter but made it clear that she could not come home until she got a college degree from DePauw University. "This was quite harsh at the time," Villanueva said, "but she also gave me a big gift because she said I know you can do it and I will not accept that you can't do it." With her confidence reinflated, Villanueva persisted through year one. Then, she said, "I found my footing and I was doing really well." Villanueva also saw that her struggle was not unique for students coming from low-income Black and Latino communities, "I really got turned on to do something about that," she thought. In those years, Villanueva learned about Teach for America and was drawn to its mission, and that "these are people who will literally tear down walls for kids," she said. "I found my passion in 1998 at the age of 22 and haven't looked back," she said of her joining the nonprofit. TFA teachers are placed in in urban and rural school where the greatest need is and usually work with other corps members for two years. However, Villanueva stayed

three years at a Phoenix, Arizona school. "I have found it is remarkable that eight in ten of our 60,000 Teach for America alumni continue to work in education or have careers serving a low-income community. She returned to Texas where she began a 20-year path up the TFA leadership ladder, including the last six years in Houston as CEO. Villanueva said that to achieve TFA's goals requires a reappraisal of American education. "Educating children is a community effort and everyone has different circumstances. I had a mom who is incredibly fierce and very clear of her expectations for me, and kids need that," she said. In addition, Villanueva said, "We really need to nurture their ability to be proud of who they are, to feel valued as human beings." She observed that TFA teachers find that their students capabilities will be unleashed if they are held to the highest expectations and are provided with deep care and love, she said. One obstacle is that 27 percent of the children in public schools are Latino but less than 10 percent are Latino teachers, Villanueva said. There also is a disparity regarding principals and administrators, Villanueva continued, "We know that deeply matters. You can't be what you don't see and this matters to kids’ trajectories," she added.

TFA participants are among the most diverse educators in low-income communities, with 50 percent being people of color. Moreover, the TFA CEO said, "a third of our teachers are first generation college graduates and a third are STEM teachers. Another challenge, Villanueva said, is how to prepare students for the unpredictably of the digital age job market, which is helped by learning the basics of math, computational thinking. Studying history is important "to understand democracy and know how they are going to be able to contribute to strengthening our communities, our society, our country," she said. "We have a once in a lifetime opportunity and an obligation to put equity and the needs of our kids front and center for education, she said. "We have to overcome this defining moment for our country that we all are going to be talking about in 10 to 20 years – question what did we do in our leadership roles – that we met the moment," she said.



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Luis E. González


HEN OPENING A BOTTLE of Burgundy, I usually want to taste it by itself first. Usually delicate and flowery their fruity notes and perfumed ethereal character is sometimes difficult to appreciate from the beginning. It takes time and depending on the temperature the wine will start evolving and revealing itself; like this harmonic Domaine Chevillon-Chezeaux Nuits-Saint-Georges Vieilles Vignes 2015 with violet and rose petal notes and a silky textured approach. It was medium bodied and very ample in sweet and spiced aromas and a delicate balance. A beautiful wine. •On an early dinner with pasta and Italian charcuterie and cheese I decided to open this cellared Barolo from Marchesi di Barolo, Coste de Rose 2011 I got from Eataly in Chicago. Kind of expensive (more than $75) but revealing fantastic bright fruit and aromatic nuances of dark cherry and plum. Its medium bodied with hints of cherry, ripe strawberry and licorice brings brightness to the mouth with every sip. Ample, complex and succulent. I was one told that Barolos should be drank with several years of cellaring, but I definitively couldn’t resist to this one with only 10 years of age! •This one was brough to the table on a Sunday with a Paella Valenciana! I hardly can avoid drinking Ribera del Duero with Paella; the saffron, morcillas, chorizos and chicken are a wide variety of flavors and spices that a Ribeño would usually marry them very well. For this Dominio de Cair. Cruz del Pendon. Ribera del Duero 2014 ($56) was an excellent example with a full bodied with ripe blue and black fruit. Licorice, plum and wild berry notes evaporate from the glass as you swirl.it is definitively complex, sophisticated and ample in aromas. Always a great option. •Beautiful and round with fruity and mellow aromas, this sophisticated Chardonnay from Napa was a real treat before dinner showing vanilla, some caramel and guava accents with pineapple and sweet apple notes. With a medium to full bodied structure this AMICI Charles Heintz Vineyard 2019 Chardonnay ($56) is a really nice wine to sip around. After pulling it from the fridge, I always wait 7 to 10 minutes and I start drinking when I pour whites. Too cold (less than 50 degrees) makes wine hide some of its aromas. Too warm (above 64 degrees) it loses it brisk and brightness, becoming too acidic and dull. 40 LATINO LEADERS NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2021

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