The Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association (MHBA) was founded in 1991 to organize Hispanic attorneys, judges, law students and other concerned members of the Hispanic community into a force for professional and community benefit. The MHBA mission is to unify and organize all members of the Hispanic legal community, to promote legal professionals, and to serve as an advocate for the Hispanic community in Minnesota. The MHBA strives to promote professional growth and opportunity for Latino law students and attorneys, to provide community service and to ensure access to justice for all.
In 1993, the MHBA began a scholarship fund with contributions from members and a matching gift from Mr. Cliff Whitehall, former President of the General Mills Foundation. In 1998, the MHBA established an endowment fund in partnership with El Fondo de Nuestra Comunidad and under the administration of The St. Paul Foundation. The MHBA Endowment Fund serves as a source of funding for law student interns working at non-profit organizations serving the Latino/a community. Each year MHBA hosts a fundraising gala event to continue to grow the fund to benefit the Latino/a community.
In 2004, the MHBA began its Law Student Mentorship Program to mentor the next generation of attorneys in Minnesota. Every year the program kicks off with a reception, where law students are matched with attorneys to provide guidance and an introduction into the legal community in Minnesota. The MHBA also recognizes the work of other members of the community that addresses the needs of the Latino/a community through two annual awards: (1) the Courage in Leadership Award and (2) the Access to Justice Award, which are presented at the MHBA annual meeting.
Today, the MHBA has approximately 200 members representing all sectors of the legal community. MHBA’s members are leaders in the state judiciary, local and state government, private law firms, multinational corporations, public interest organizations and more. In addition, some of MHBA’s members are active on the Board of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) based in Washington, DC, which serves as the national voice of the Hispanic legal community, representing the interests of more than 100,000 Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, and law students in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories. The MHBA also affiliated with the HNBA, and has voting representation on the HNBA board of directors.
Some of MHBA’s most recent accomplishments include hosting the 2007 HNBA Mid-Year Conference and Moot Court Competition and recently landing the bid to host the 35th Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention for 2010. The Annual Convention and Job Fair are scheduled for the Twin Cities from September 8-11, 2010.