The Chicano/Latino Bar Association of California




California La Raza Lawyers is committed to the diversification of the bench and bar in California and the Nation.  Only about 10% of all Judges are Latino in California, despite over 40% of the population.

Law School Admissions Lag Among Minorities
 By TAMAR LEWINPublished: January 6, 2010 New York TimesWhile law schools added about 3,000 seats for first-year students from 1993 to 2008, both the percentage and the number of black and Mexican-American law students declined in that period, according to a study by a Columbia Law School professor. What makes the declines particularly troubling, said the professor, Conrad Johnson, is that in that same period, both groups improved their college grade-point averages and their scores on the Law School Admission Test, or L.S.A.T.“Even though their scores and grades are improving, and are very close to those of white applicants, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans are increasingly being shut out of law schools,” said Mr. Johnson, who oversees the Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic at Columbia, which collaborated with the Society of American Law Teachers to examine minority enrollment rates at American law schools. However, Hispanics other than Mexicans and Puerto Ricans made slight gains in law school enrollment.The number of black and Mexican-American students applying to law school has been relatively constant, or growing slightly, for two decades. But from 2003 to 2008, 61 percent of black applicants and 46 percent of Mexican-American applicants were denied acceptance at all of the law schools to which they applied, compared with 34 percent of white applicants. “What’s happening, as the American population becomes more diverse, is that the lawyer corps and judges are remaining predominantly white,” said John Nussbaumer, associate dean of Thomas M. Cooley Law School’s campus in Auburn Hills, Mich., which enrolls an unusually high percentage of African-American students. Mr. Nussbaumer, who has been looking at the same minority-representation numbers, independently of the Columbia clinic, has become increasingly concerned about the large percentage of minority applicants shut out of law schools. “A big part of it is that many schools base their admissions criteria not on whether students have a reasonable chance of success, but how those L.S.A.T. numbers are going to affect their rankings in the U.S. News & World Report,” Mr. Nussbaumer said. “Deans get fired if the rankings drop, so they set their L.S.A.T. requirements very high.“We’re living proof that it doesn’t have to be that way, that those students with the slightly lower L.S.A.T. scores can graduate, pass the bar and be terrific lawyers.”Margaret Martin Barry, co-president of the Society of American Law Teachers, said that while she understood the importance of rankings, law schools must address the issue of diversity. “If you’re so concerned with rankings, you’re going to lose a whole generation,” she said.The Columbia study found that among the 46,500 law school matriculants in the fall of 2008, there were 3,392 African-Americans, or 7.3 percent, and 673 Mexican-Americans, or 1.4 percent. Among the 43,520 matriculants in 1993, there were 3,432 African-Americans, or 7.9 percent, and 710 Mexican-Americans, or 1.6 percent. The study, whose findings are detailed at the Web site A Disturbing Trend in Law School Diversity, relied on the admission council’s minority categories, which track Mexican-Americans separately from Puerto Ricans and Hispanic/Latino students. “We focused on the two groups, African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, who did not make progress in law school representation during the period,” Mr. Johnson said. “The Hispanic/Latino group did increase, from 3.1 percent of the matriculants in 1993, to 5.1 percent in 2008.” Mr. Johnson said he did not have a good explanation for the disparity, particularly since the 2008 LSAT scores among Mexican-Americans were, on average, one point higher than those of the Hispanics, and one point lower in 1993. Over all, Mr. Johnson said, it is puzzling that minority enrollment in law schools has fallen, even since the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2003, in Grutter v. Bollinger, that race can be taken into account in law school admissions because the diversity of the student body is a compelling state interest. “Someone told me that things had actually gotten worse since the Grutter decision, and that’s what got us started looking at this,” Mr. Johnson said. “Many people are not aware of the numbers, even among those interested in diversity issues. For many African-American and Mexican-American students, law school is an elusive goal.” 
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Past Presidents of California La Raza Lawyers

Founders: Mario Obledo, Cruz Reynoso & Luis Garcia

1977-1978 Rodrigo Mayorga (Sacramento)

1977-1978 Carlos Ynostrosa (Alameda)

1978-1980 Fernando Zazueta (Santa Clara)

1980-1982 JeanneRaya (Los Angeles)

1982-1983 Frank Roesch (Alameda)

1983-1985 John Martinez (Los Angeles)

1985-1986 Emily Vasquez (Sacramento)

1986-1987 Joel Contreras (Sacramento)

1987-1988 Victor Cabral (Los Angeles)

1988-1989 Joel Murillo (Fresno)

1989-1990 Tom Speilbauer (Santa Clara)

1990-1991 Tony Nevarez (Sacramento)

1991-1992 Maneul Ramirez (San Diego)

1993-1994 Norma Garcia (San Francisco)

1994-1995 Tom Speilbauer (Santa Clara)

1996-1997 George Aguilar (San Diego)

1997-1998 Mike Perez (San Diego)

1998-1999 Ruben Arizmendi (San Diego)

1999-2000 Roberta Sistos (San Diego)

1999-2001 Tony Nevarez (Sacramento)

2001-2002 Christopher Arriola (Santa Clara)

2002-2003 Ruben Arizmendi (San Diego)

2003-2004 Luis Rodriquez (Los Angeles)

2004-2005 Miguel Marquez (San Francisco)

2005-2006 Maribel Medina (Los Angeles)

2006-2007 Beatriz Mejia  (San Francisco)

2008  Eric Alderete (Orange County)

2009  Alberto Gonzalez (Sacramento)

2010 Patricia Higuera (Los Angeles)

2011 Mario Trujillo  (Los Angeles)

2012 Micael Estremera (San Jose)
2013 Christopher Arriola (San Jose)
2014 Joel Murillo (Fresno)
2015 Patricia Castoreno (San Jose) 
2016 Nadia Bermudez (San Diego)
2017  Nadia Bermudez (San Diego)
2018  Christopher Arriola (San Jose)