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Celebrate HIS’ 45th Anniversary!

Please join the Hispanic Issues Section at this year’s State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting where we will be celebrating our 45th anniversary!


Hispanic Issues Section programming typically is held Thursday afternoon at the Annual Meeting, with an early evening reception to follow.  Stay tuned for updates. 


The Hispanic Issues Section has put together a poster commemorating this anniversary with pictures of all of our chairs, past and present.  (Click on the image to see it full size.)  We hope to celebrate with you soon!


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HIS and St. Mary’s Host Successful Hernandez v. Texas Event

Thank you to all of the attendees of our special event at St. Mary’s University Law School commemorating the 70th anniversary of Hernandez v. Texas!


An additional thank you to St. Mary’s Unversity Law School, our panelists and moderators, and the members of the families that attended!


Click here for materials from the event, and click here to go to our Hernandez v. Texas at 70 page with more information.


See photos of the event below.


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FREE CLE Webinar Thursday, March 28 – McCarthyism vs. Clinton Jencks

Please join the Hispanic Issues Section for a FREE webinar CLE presentation by Raymond Caballero, former mayor of El Paso, Texas, discussing the 1957 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Jencks v. United States, which exposed the systemic injustices facing Mexican Americans in our court system at that time.  This presentation has been confirmed for 1.0 hours of CLE credit for Texas lawyers.


Date and Time: Thursday, March 28, 2024, 12:00 – 1:00 PM CST


Click here to register for the Zoom webinar.


Click here for a flyer with more information.

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Save the Date for a Commemoration of Hernandez v. Texas, and a Message from the Chair

**UPDATE – We have added a page to our website regarding the 70th Anniversary of Hernandez v. Texasclick here to access.**


Save the Date


January 25, 2024


70th Anniversary Commemoration of Hernandez v. Texas


 St. Mary’s University Law School


Members and Friends:


Mark your calendars and join HIS as it commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision, regulating the legal intersection of the constitution, class and jury service, Hernandez v. Texas.  The CLE program, both in-person and available by Zoom, occurs from 12:30 p.m.  – 1:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s University Law School in San Antonio on Thursday, January 25th.  Leading the commemoration are our distinguished jurists and panel members:


  • Honorable Gina M. Benavides (13th Court of Appeals);
  • Honorable Chief Dori Contreras (13th Court of Appeals); and,
  • Honorable David M. Medina (Ret. Texas Supreme Court).


We thank our panelists for their upcoming presentation. The judicial trio continue the commemoration at the State Bar Annual Meeting in Dallas on June 20th; our jurists will provide an analysis of the attorneys that obtained the victory at the U.S. Supreme Court.  More details forthcoming.


45th Anniversary of HIS


At the State Bar Annual Meeting in Dallas, we also invite all past Chairs and members as we celebrate our 45th anniversary with a discussion of our legal history and the attorneys who shaped our organization.  Please look for our ad in the February 2024 Texas Bar Journal.


Successful Fall Event- LawTeria


Thank you to our sponsors (and donors of fantastic prizes), our judicial celebrity callers, and all who participated in our 4th annual LawTeria; we collectively raised over $50,000 for access to justice initiatives!  A special thanks to the Texas Access to Justice Foundation and it’s Executive Director, Betty Balli Torres, for a successful partnership!  TEAJF presented HIS with an Access to Justice Award (for substantial contribution and commitment to justice for low-income Texans) at its annual October Texas Supreme Court luncheon in Austin.  HIS Immediate Past Chair, Novert Morales and I accepted on behalf of HIS. 


Notable Loss


Frumencio Reyes, a co-founder of the Mexican American Bar Association of Houston, recently passed away on December 6, 2023.  Licensed for 50 years, his contributions to our profession will reverberate for years to come.  A legal leader, and friend, we extend our thoughts and prayer to his family.


Felices Fiestas to all.  We look forward to seeing you all in 2024!  Please join us in all our events!


Adelante – Angelica M. Hernandez, Chair 

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Join Us on Zoom for LAWteria Thursday, September 14 at 5:30!

The Hispanic Issues Section is thrilled to announce the return of LAWtería for 2023!  Join us for another fun evening with Celebrity Callers, door prizes, and raffles as we raise money for access to justice programs.




Date: September 14
Time: 5:30 PM
Held via Zoom
Door Prizes and Intermission Entertainment!


LawTería Sponsorship Flyer 2023


Donate at the Texas Access to Justice website here!


Thanks to our Celebrity Callers and special guests for joining us!


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FREE Immigration and Family Law CLE April 14!

The Hispanic Issues Section is proud to co-host a free 6-hour CLE on the Intersection of Immigration and Family Law together with the Family Law Section and the Immigration and Nationality Law Section.  Registration links and details below.  We hope to see you there!


Register Here for In-Person Attendance

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

Click Here for Agenda




A Collaboration of The Family Law Section, Hispanic Issues Section, and Immigration & Nationality Law Section


The Intersection of Immigration and Family Law




Friday, April 14, 2023
8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
At South Texas College of Law Houston
Garrett-Townes Auditorium
1303 San Jacinto St., Houston, Texas
with ZOOM option
Proposed 6 Hours MCLE, 1.25 Hours Ethics


The Intersection of Family & Immigration
A View From the Bench
I-751 Waivers
U Visas
Public Charge
Family Matters Affecting Citizenship & Removability
International Adoption / Custody
LGBTQ, Surrogacy and Other Modern Families
Special Juvenile Immigration Status
Family Preparedness



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Join HIS for FREE CLE on November 15: Language Access in the Justice System, Part 2 of 3



The Hispanic Issues Section is delighted to cosponsor, along with the ABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, a 3-part webinar series exploring language and other barriers to members of the Hispanic Community in employment and the justice system.


Part 2 in the series is From Language Access to Language Justice – Fostering Equity for Latinos in the Justice System, which will be presented via Zoom on November 15, 2022 at 11:00 AM CT. 


In this English-Spanish bilingual program, language access experts will present information and lead a discussion with attorneys and legal practitioners about:


  • Basic Concepts, legal mandates involving language access, and language justice principles
  • Best practices to ensure the use of qualified interpreters and translators in various legal contexts, such as housing, employment, domestic violence, and criminal justice matters
  • Practical tips to strengthen cultural competency, avoid common pitfalls, and advocate for fair and effective language rights
  • Resources regarding language access in technology and other legal services.



Full Series Information:


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Join Us for the Third Annual LAWtería!

The Hispanic Issues Section has raised over $90,000 benefiting legal aid through its LawTería event over the last two years, thanks to our sponsors and ticket purchasers like you!


LawTería returns for 2022, and we hope you can join us as we again raise money to benefit legal aid programs serving those most in need.


Date: November 1, 2022
Time: 5:30 PM
Held via Zoom
Door Prizes and Intermission Entertainment!


LawTería Sponsorship Flyer 2022


Donate at the Texas Access to Justice website here!


We are thrilled to be joined by our special Celebrity Callers for this event – we hope that you will join us!

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Hispanic Heritage Month – Revisiting Hispanic Texas Legal Legends

The Hispanic Issues Section wishes everyone a wonderful Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 through October 15 each year.


We invite you to revisit our combined legal heritage with interviews of two prominent Texas Hispanic attorneys, Adelfa Callejo – one of the first Hispanic women to earn a law degree – and Justice Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr. – the first Hispanic appointed or elected to statewide office in Texas.  These interviews were conducted as part of the Texas Legal Legends series in 2008-2009.


You can view these interviews, along with others from the Texas Legal Legends series, at this link.

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HIS Celebrates Women’s History Month

The Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas celebrates Women’s History Month and recognizes our many members who have contributed greatly to the progress of women in the legal profession and the judiciary, and serve as role models for future generations of leaders.  



Highlighting some of the wonderful members in our leadership and on our council:


First row (L-R): Judge Antonia (Toni) Arteaga, 57th Civil District Court, Bexar County, Texas; Judge Maria Salas-Mendoza, 120th Civil District Court, El Paso County, Texas


Second row (L-R): Angelica Hernandez, Linebarger; Chief Justice Dori Contreras, 13th Court of Appeals of Texas; Veronica Legarreta, Legarreta Law Firm


Third row (L-R): Erica Benites Giese, Jackson Walker; Ashley Aten, Munsch Hardt

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Join HIS for a Free CLE on March 30 at 1 PM

The Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas is delighted to host a free CLE webinar titled Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: Where We Were and Where We Are Now.


This webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, March 30, and it has been approved for one hour of MCLE credit. Use the link below to register.




Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence: Where We Were and Where We Are Now


Wednesday, March 30

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. CDT



1 hour MCLE credit




The landmark Vanessa Guillen Act changed the law for many sexual assault and domestic violence victims. Join our distinguished panel as they discuss these changes and learn why they are so important.




Panelist: Natalie Khawam

Natalie Khawam is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center. She also holds an M.B.A. and an M.S. degree. Attorney Khawam founded the highly regarded Whistleblower Law Firm in Tampa, Florida and is also the founding partner of Khawam Ripka, LLP based in Washington, DC. Khawam Ripka focuses on active-duty military medical malpractice cases.


She is passionate about serving our military and veterans, fighting for justice, and seeking truth and accountability. Ms. Khawam practices federal law, with a focus on whistleblower laws, while she advocates military rights and protections. Natalie proudly spearheaded the passage of two bills in Congress for her clients: the SFC Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act and the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act. These acts provide new rights and protections that our military never had before.


Natalie doesn’t just change the law — she changes history!


Panelist: Jacquelyn “Jackie” Davis

Jacquelyn “Jackie” Davis is an attorney and group coordinator for the Domestic Violence and Family Law Team at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA). For the past 15 years, Jackie has dedicated her practice to working with survivors of violence in family law and immigration matters. The DV & Family Law Team covers 68 counties of Southwest Texas and is TRLA’s largest practice group. In addition to leading the team, Jackie manages attorneys and her own litigation caseload.


Jackie is a 2006 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, a proud third-generation Longhorn following in the footsteps of her grandfather from Del Rio, Texas, who was the first in his family to attend college. Jackie is drawn to the creative problem-solving and consensus building inherent in the practice of law, particularly as someone raised in a mixed-heritage household, and the only lawyer in a big family. Jackie serves as a law school mentor for aspiring public interest lawyers and on the weekends can be found cheering her kids on from the sidelines or rescuing dogs.


Moderator: Veronica I. Legarreta

Veronica I. Legarreta founded the Legarreta Law Firm, PLLC, bringing nearly two decades of litigation and negotiation experience to her current practice which is focused on criminal defense cases and family law matters. She has worked with clients at all phases of the litigation process and is an empathetic and fierce advocate committed to fighting for a just outcome no matter how challenging the circumstance.


Throughout her career, Veronica has repeatedly been recognized as one San Antonio’s Top Criminal Defense/DWI Attorneys (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2021) and was recently honored by SA Scene Magazine as one of the Best S.A. Female Lawyers in 2021. Veronica serves as a member of the Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas, as well as a member of the San Antonio Bar Association, and was invited to join the Hispanic Issues Section of the State Bar of Texas as a council member. Veronica has also received the Latino American Who’s Who award twice and continues to actively participate as a public speaker on a variety of legal topics. As a sustaining member of the Junior League of San Antonio Veronica continues to promote volunteerism and support community outreach.


Veronica earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and served as an American diplomat stationed in Mexico City where she interned for the Department of Justice and for the NSA. She attended St. Mary’s University School of Law where she was inducted into the Order of the Barristers for her exceptional skills in trial advocacy.




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Announcing the Return of LawTeria! September 16, 2021

In 2020, the Hispanic Issues Section raised over $40,000 benefiting legal aid through its LawTeria event, which was a phenomenal success thanks to our sponsors and many ticket purchasers!


LawTeria returns for 2021, and we hope you can join us as we again raise money to benefit legal aid programs serving those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Date: September 16, 2021
Time: TBD
Held via Zoom
Door Prizes and Intermission Entertainment!


Title Sponsor: Chamberlain Hrdlicka


LawTeria Flyer 2021


Donate at the Texas Access to Justice website here!

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HIS CLE on Texas Courts of Appeal – SBOT Annual Meeting

The Hispanic Issues Section is co-sponsoring an exciting CLE program entitled An Overview of Texas Courts of Appeal, which will be presented by 10 chief justices. This CLE program is part of the State Bar of Texas virtual Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 17.


To sign up for the program, go to the State Bar’s website, and register for the Thursday of the virtual Annual Meeting. The registration fee for the day is $185, and you can watch up to 10 hours of the CLE programs that are presented.


Take a peek at the full course brochure to review the additional 45+ CLE programs you can watch throughout the day.


The presentations are only available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CDT on June 17, so mark your calendars now! This topic has been approved for two hours of CLE credit, including 0.5 hours of ethics.



An Overview of Texas Courts of Appeal


Co-sponsored by:

Hispanic Issues Section

Texas LatinX Judges

Appellate Section

Women and the Law Section

LGBT Law Section, State Bar of Texas

National Association of Women Judges

Texas Women Lawyers
Mexican American Bar Association of San Antonio


Thursday, June 17

During the SBOT Virtual Annual Meeting


2 hours of MCLE credit, including 0.5 hours ethics


Registration: $185 (Thursday only)

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Hispanic Issues Section Announces Hardship Committee – Please Take Our Survey

The Hispanic Issues Section is announcing the creation of a Hardship Committee to identify needs of and to assist section members facing difficult issues in their lives and practices, whether or not related to the pandemic or recent winter crisis.


Please see this letter for more details. 


And please help us identify needs and useful resources by completing this survey. (We expect the survey to take on average 15 minutes to complete.)


With your help, we can support our colleagues when they need us most!

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Join Us for “LAW”teria on September 16!


DATE AND TIME: September 16, 2020, 5:00 – 6:30 pm

The Hispanic Issues Section is sponsoring a fun game night featuring a version of the popular loteria game benefiting legal aid.


The Texas Access to Justice Foundation and legal aid efforts throughout Texas.

Special Guests

Distinguished Guest: Justice Eva Guzman
Host: Sylvia Firth, SBOT President-elect
Retired Judge Elsa Alcala
Justice Leticia Hinojosa
Justice Rebeca Martinez
Amanda Arriaga
Pablo Almaguer
Domingo Garcia
Jim Harrington


The Zoom link will be sent to you upon registration. 

Door Prizes & Intermission Entertainment!


Flyer with More Information

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HIS Joins Affinity Sections and Committees Statement in Response to SBOT President Comments

The Hispanic Issues Section has proudly joined its colleagues in the African American Laywers Section, the Asian Pacific Interest Section, the LGBT Law Section, the Native American Bar Section, the Women in the Law Section, and the Texas Minority Counsel Program, in issuing a joint statement regarding recent comments by State Bar of Texas President Larry McDougal, and in support of the position taken by the African American Lawyers Section.

Read the entire statement here.

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2020 Hispanic Issues Section Awards and Video Presentation

View the video presentation here!

The Hispanic Issues Section gives out three named awards each year at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Texas, along with several other awards.

This year our awards recipients are:

  • Reynaldo G Garza Lifetime Achievement Award: Roy R. Barrera, Sr.
  • Pete Torres Jr. Community Service Award: Jose Angel Gutierrez and Chris Luna
  • James W. Wray, Jr. Founder’s Award: Renato Santos, Jr.
  • Judge of the Year Award: Justice Gisela D. Triana
  • Legislator of the Year Award: Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia
  • Chair’s Award: Justice Gina M. Benavides
  • Access to Justice Award: El Paso Bar Association

You can learn more about our awards, and find a list of our past award recipients, by clicking this link.

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Nominate an Attorney for LeadershipSBOT!

The Hispanic Issues Section encourages all members to nominate attorneys to apply for the LeadershipSBOT program, a diversity initiative designed to recruit, train, and retain Texas lawyers for leadership positions in the legal community and the State Bar of Texas.  See the nomination form (click here) or the notice letter (click here) for more details!  The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, June 30.

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Upcoming Events

Here is a list of upcoming events involving the Hispanic Issues Section or local Hispanic bar associations, or other sections of the State Bar of Texas.  Click on event listings for registration information.

Special Events

Want your event on the list?  Email us!

  • June 25, 2020 – SBOT Virtual Annual Meeting (HIS programming is in the afternoon) – Details

Local Hispanic Bar Association Monthly Meetings

This list has information about regular monthly meetings for local associations around Texas.  If you have any updated information or want to add your group to the list, please email us!

Austin – Hispanic Bar Association of Austin

When held, monthly meetings typically are held on the second Friday of the month at noon at the offices of the Austin Bar Association, 816 Congress Avenue, 7th Floor.  Main websiteemail

Houston – Mexican-American Bar Association of Houston

Monthly meetings typically are held on the second Monday of each month at 5:30 (monthly CLE) and 6:45 (meeting) at Lupe Tortilla, 1511 Shepherd Drive.  Facebook pageemail

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Judge Timoteo (Tim) Gonzalez, 1950-2019

HIS was saddened to learn of the recent passing of Judge Timoteo (Tim) Gonzalez, an HIS Member, as well as a member of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas and a former president of the Dallas Mexican American Bar Association.


A memorial mass for Judge Gonzalez will be held Wednesday, November 6, 2019, 6:30 pm at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 9643 Ferndale Road, Dallas, TX 75238.


You can read Judge Gonzalez’s obituary information here.  Our thoughts are with Judge Gonzalez’s family at this difficult time. 

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Legal Resources for El Paso Support; Texas Bar Journal Article

The Hispanic Issues Section and all of its members’ thoughts are with the citizens of El Paso following the tragedy that unfolded on August 3, 2019.

Attorneys from El Paso and throughout the state have mobilized to provide a variety of forms of assistance to survivors, their families, and others affected.

The State Bar of Texas has collected a list of resources that are available – please click here to review the list.

The Texas Bar Journal has published an article about El Paso and the El Paso Bar Association and the legal community’s tremendous response.

Click here for the Texas Bar Journal’s online version of the article.

Click here for a PDF of the article.

Article republished courtesy of the Texas Bar Journal and Amy Starnes.

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New 2018-2019 HIS Officers

The Hispanic Issues Section has selected its officers for the 2018-2019 bar year.  Your officers for 2018-2019 are:


  • Justice Gina M. Benavides, Chair
  • Valerie Carrillo, Chair-Elect
  • Larry Banda, Vice-Chair
  • Judge Victor Villareal, Secretary
  • Jamie Vasquez, Treasurer
  • Betty Balli Torres, Immediate Past Chair