ABOUT US

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.

 

 

 

Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association Diversity and Inclusion Statement

The Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association is committed to building a more just and equitable legal environment in Minnesota. We recognize the history of oppression that has resulted in ongoing disparities for some communities, as well as the limitations of a nonprofit framework to address them. Yet, we have a powerful network of organizations and change agents with an opportunity to create positive systemic change. We believe that nonprofits that engage diverse perspectives and evolve to be inclusive and behave equitably, can and do have profound impacts on society. We are therefore committed to a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture where all individuals feel valued and respected regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, education, marital status, veteran status,  disability, or other protected characteristic. We are committed to a nondiscriminatory approach and provide equal opportunity for involvement and advancement in all of our committees, programs, and initiatives. We respect and value diverse life experiences and heritages and ensure that all voices are valued and heard.

Strategic Plan

In addition, the MHBA has awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards to Manuel Guerrero and Judge Salvador Rosas for their lifetime of commitment to the Minnesota Hispanic legal community.

Today, the MHBA has approximately 400 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 is also affiliated with the HNBA, and has voting representation on the HNBA Board of Directors.

Some of MHBA’s most recent accomplishments include co-hosting the Latino Legal Experience Event that brought Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Minnesota and recently landing the bid to host the 2020 Hispanic National Bar Association Annual Convention in Minneapolis.

2018-2019 Board of Directors

Board meetings are typically held on the second Tuesday of each month at 6pm, with some exceptions. Board meetings are open to all members, please confirm the date and location with the Secretary if you plan to attend. Any items members would like to the board to consider for discussion or vote must be submitted at least 10 days in advance of the board meeting.


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Aleida Ortega Conners – President

Aleida is an M&A lawyer with Cargill's in-house counsel team. Previously, Aleida was an Associate at Fredrikson & Byron, where she assisted clients with mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, and venture capital financings. She also acted as outside general counsel for companies entering foreign markets, whether through subsidiaries or sales and distribution networks. Aleida graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School and was named a Top Lawyer Under 40 by the Hispanic National Bar Association in March 2018.
 
Cargill
15407 McGinty Road W, MS-24
Wayzata, MN 55391
Phone: (952) 984-1276

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Roger Maldonado – President-Elect

Roger is an Associate at Faegre Baker Daniels. He helps clients find effective, efficient solutions to complex finance and restructuring issues by providing strategic legal counsel on a full range of financial matters.
 
Roger represents trustees, creditors, equipment lease lenders, investment firms, and financial institutions in state and federal courts. He is an experienced navigator of complex issues in bankruptcy law, equipment leasing issues, receiverships and related commercial and financial litigation. 
 
Faegre Baker Daniels LLP
2200 Wells Fargo Center
90 S. Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN, 55402-4662
Phone: (612) 766-7642
 
 

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Zuri Balmakund Santiago – Vice President

Zuri Balmakund Santiago is an Assistant Hennepin County Attorney in the Community Prosecution Division, where she prosecutes narcotics and firearms cases on behalf of the community and county. She is an alumnus of the University of St. Thomas School of Law where she received Dean's List recognition and graduated with her J.D. and Masters in Public Policy. 
 
Assistant Hennepin County Attorney
Hennepin County Attorney's Office 
300 South Sixth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55487
Phone: (612) 348-6983

Email: zurizadaibalmakund@gmail.com

          
 

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Roxy Gonzalez – Secretary

Roxy Gonzalez is a Litigation Associate at Stoel Rives. She is an alumnus of the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Prior to joining Stoel Rives she clerked for Justice David Lillehaug at the Minnesota Supreme Court.
 

STOEL RIVES LLP
33 South Sixth Street, Suite 4200
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Office: (612) 373-8824
Email: mailto:Roxanna.Gonzalez@stoel.com


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Richard Greiffenstein – Treasurer

Richard is an associate at Dorsey & Whitney LLP. 
 
 
Dorsey & Whitney LLP
50 South Sixth Street
Suite 1500
Minneapolis, MN 55402-1498
Phone: (612) 340-2600
 
 

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Lariss Maldonado – Immediate Past President

Lariss is a litigator at Stinson Leonard Street. Lariss grew up in South Texas, and spent time working in nonprofits there, in New York, and in Washington, DC, before attending law school at the University of Minnesota.
 
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
50 South Sixth Street, Suite 2600
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612)-335-1511
 

Board Members


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Kelvin Collado

Kelvin Collado is a litigation associate at Robins Kaplan in the Business Litigation Group. 
 

Kelvin Collado handles a wide range of legal matters, including appeals, for corporations, small businesses, and individuals. Kelvin is passionate about the law and committed to providing the best possible representation.

Kelvin began his career as a prosecutor at the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office. As a prosecutor, Kelvin handled hundreds of cases, performed over a dozen evidentiary hearings, and a number of trials. He then moved to Minnesota and clerked for the Honorable Peter M. Reyes, Jr. of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, where he was exposed to a wide range of civil and criminal state appeals.

 
Robins Kaplan LLP
800 LaSalle Avenue Suite 2800
Minneapolis, MN 55402
 
 

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Tracy Kallassy

Attorney @ Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry
 
 

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Melissa Muro LaMere

Melissa Muro LaMere is a business litigation attorney at Maslon LLP. She enjoys working with clients to protect their business assets in a competitive marketplace. She focuses her practice on employment matters and business disputes involving non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, trade secrets, business contracts and torts, and unfair competition and trade practices. Melissa also maintains a robust pro bono practice, primarily serving as counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota in litigation involving individual constitutional rights and government transparency. She serves on the boards of the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, for which she is also the current co-chair of the Judicial Endorsements Committee, and the Minnesota Infinity Project, an organization focused on gender disparity on the bench throughout the Eighth Circuit. Melissa is a member of Maslon's Diversity Committee, co-chair of Maslon's Diverse Attorney Resource Group, and is recognized as a 2019 "Top Lawyer Under 40" by the Hispanic National Bar Association. 
 
Maslon LLP
3300 Wells Fargo Center
90 South Seventh Street
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (612) 672-8368
 

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Pablo Orozco

Pablo Orozco has extensive experience litigating class and collective actions in federal and state courts across the country—particularly in California, where he started his career. He understands the intricacies and nuances of complex litigation and is adept at navigating through the processes and strategies involved in class and collective actions. Pablo also has experience counseling technology startups and emerging business on how to develop a lean, flexible, and cost-effective workforce.
 
Nilan Johnson Lewis
120 South Sixth Street, Suite 400
Minneapolis, MN 55402

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Joe Nuñez

Joe Nuñez is a partner at Vantage Law Group in Minneapolis, focusing on all aspects of commercial real estate development, acquisition and leasing. He is recognized as one of the most experienced Shopping Center Law practitioners in the nation, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Real Estate Lawyers, and is certified as a Real Property Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association. He is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (BA, Economics) and the University of Minnesota Law School. Joe is also member of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and Cuban-American Bar Association. He is admitted to practice law in Minnesota and Arizona.
 
Vantage Law Group, PLLC
125 SE Main Street, Suite 250
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Student Representatives


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Priscila Barron Sanchez

A native of Mexico, Priscila grew up in Austin, Minnesota. She is in her last year of law school at Mitchell. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas, where she was the commencement speaker. Looking for her niche, Priscila interned with the Army JAGC in summer 2018 where she rotated through several areas of law including the: legal assistance office, special victims counsel, trial defense services, administrative and operational law, military justice, and federal litigation.
 
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Email: priscila.sanchez@mitchellhamline.edu
 
Catalina

Catalina Hotung

Catalina serves as the student representative for the University of Minnesota Law School.
 
 
 
University of Minnesota Law School
Email: hotun001@umn.edu
 
Joshua

Joshua Maldonado

Joshua Maldonado serves as the student representative for the University of St. Thomas, School of Law.
 
 
University of St. Thomas, School of Law
Email: joshua.maldonado@stthomas.edu