Hispanic Bar Group Sees Need For More Progress

, The Connecticut Law Tribune


Erick Diaz
Erick Diaz

He said the law school collaborates with the CHBA to help increase the number of Hispanic graduates who stay in Connecticut.

"We have an informal structure, where the second-year law students who are on the board of the Latino Law Student Association are placed on the board of the CHBA," he said.

As a result of the social and professional connections he made at the Hispanic bar, Menjivar said he was open to being recruited by Day Pitney as a summer associate.

"CHBA was the reason I decided to stay in Connecticut," he said. "We have a small [Latino] bar, but everyone was very welcoming. It was great, and the people really care about each other."

Alfredo Fernandez of Shipman & Goodwin, another new CHBA member, was elected earlier this year as director of communications, a board position.

While working as an aerospace engineer for United Technologies, Fernandez attended UConn's night law school program while working full time. With his technical background, Fernandez said he had many options when he graduated. He found the right fit in the internal investigations and international trade practices at Shipman. He said he also found like-minded Hispanic lawyers at both the CHBA and the Connecticut Bar Association, where he is active with the Young Lawyers Section.

"Growing up in middle class white suburbia, I stood out because no one else had a name like Alfredo Fernandez," he said. "I used that as a self-motivator, to make sure I was the top at everything I was involved in."

Fernandez said that now that he's found success, he would like to help others do the same.

"I've gotten all the support I can ask for in regards to the CHBA," he said. "Now the charge we're seeing is to push our members into the partnership level." •

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