Skip to main content

Planning Summit on Network for Justice for Latinos to Convene at UCLA

November 3, 2016, ABF news

Jesús "Chuy" García, Cook County Commissioner and former mayoral candidate for Chicago, speaking at the June 2016 Midwest Roundtable. The roundtable was the first regional event for the ABF’s Future of Latinos project.

Habla Español?

The American Bar Foundation (ABF) will host “The Network for Justice Planning Summit: Creating Legal and Legislative Support for Latino Communities” on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center in Los Angeles, Calif. The summit is part of a series of events taking place across the country as part of a major ABF research project, “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility."

With rapid growth, ongoing disparities in opportunity, and continued underrepresentation in the legal profession, the access to justice gap for Latinos has been steadily widening. Law and policy reforms can play a significant role in promoting full inclusion. In the late 1940s and 1950s, for example, African-Americans waged a struggle for civil rights by drawing on the resources of Howard University School of Law. Working closely with the NAACP, Howard Law played a seminal role in charting strategy and training leaders who could pursue a transformative agenda for change.

Today, there is no equivalent of Howard University for the Latino population, but there are numerous direct service, appellate advocacy, and policy clinics at law schools across the country. In addition, the technology now exists to connect these clinics to each other and to pro bono programs at law firms and community advocacy organizations in new and powerful ways. The Network for Justice Planning Summit will identify the most promising strategies to promote coordination and collaboration among these key stakeholders, as well as to train a new generation of leaders who can address the Latino community’s needs and challenges.

“This event is extremely timely, and California is exactly the right place to launch the effort,” said Rachel F. Moran, co-director of the Future of Latinos project.  “We are fortunate to have two outstanding clinical legal educators, Luz Herrera and Leticia Saucedo, leading the initiative, and we are grateful to be partnering with organizations that have impressive track records of support for diversity and inclusion.”

The summit is generously supported by the California Bar Foundation, California Community Foundation, UCLA, and UC Davis School of Law. It will bring together Latino advocates and organizations, law school clinics, Latino-focused research centers, law firms, emerging leaders, and foundation officials from across California. Attendees will participate in breakout discussions on strategic planning and priority setting. Confirmed speakers include Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, California Supreme Court Justice, Antonia Hernandez, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation, Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Kevin R. Johnson, dean of UC Davis School of Law, Manny Medrano, Emmy-award winning broadcast journalist and trial attorney, and California State Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez and Jose Medina.

The summit will lay the foundation for the creation of a California-based network for justice pilot program that aims to connect Latinos with resources that will help them address their legal concerns. California was chosen to launch this new initiative because of its demographic profile, its leadership in both clinical education and social justice, and its capacity to support the establishment of a robust network.

The ABF’s Future of Latinos initiative is an interdisciplinary research project that focuses on the experience of Latinos in America. By 2050, Latinos are expected to account for nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population. The project aims to identify social and legal barriers to opportunity for Latinos, develop reform recommendations that support their full integration and inclusion, and cultivate a new generation of young Latino leaders. The project will convene key thought leaders and change agents in the Latino community, generate research of importance in advancing opportunity and mobility, and promote greater public understanding of these issues.

This research initiative is led by a group of distinguished scholars from across the country, under the direction of
Rachel F. Moran, the inaugural William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law at the ABF, and dean emerita and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law at UCLA Law School; and Robert Nelson, director emeritus and the MacCrate Research Chair in the Legal Profession at the ABF; and professor of sociology and law at Northwestern University. The network for justice component of the project is led by Luz E. Herrera, professor and associate dean for experiential education at Texas A&M University School of Law, and Leticia Saucedo, professor at UC Davis School of Law.

The series of regional events for the Future of Latinos project began with a Midwest Roundtable on June 6-7, 2016 in Chicago, Ill., supported by the Chicago Community Trust, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and the Office of the Provost at Northwestern. The roundtable brought together over 80 Latino leaders from Chicago and the Midwest, including law and non-law scholars, legal advocates, community activists, politicians, media representatives, foundation representatives, and emerging leaders. Through small group and plenary discussions, participants explored vitally important issues, including immigration, education, economic opportunity, and civic and political engagement. The next event will be held in the northeast at Yale Law School on April 8-9, 2017. Future events are planned for the west (Stanford University), south (Texas), and southeast (Miami) during the 2017-18 year, culminating in a national summit in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the Future of Latinos research project, please contact Pilar Margarita Hernández Escontrías at

Posted by: Cheyenne Blount

« Return to ABF news

Site design by Webitects

© 2022 American Bar Foundation (
750 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611-4403
(312) 988-6500
Contact Us
Contact the Fellows
Media Contacts
Privacy policy
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in ABF publications are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Bar Foundation or the American Bar Association. The AMERICAN BAR FOUNDATION, ABF and related seal trademarks as used by the American Bar Foundation are owned by the American Bar Association and used under license.