What makes an attorney Latino Leader? This is a question I am frequently asked. It is also a question I am happy to answer. There are many factors to be considered, and no one exact definition rings perfect. However, a leader is a person who holds the skills and ability to lead or guide other individuals, teams, or entire communities and/or organizations.
For a Latino/a attorney, such a leader also holds within him or her a strong belief in oneself, in others around them, in justice, and the rule of law. These individuals and leaders all have a dream in their heart which makes the work they do on a day-to-day basis worth the effort, and makes our community and our country better places. But I will point out that it is OK if others don't believe in your dream. Don't let that deter you. A dream for a better Latino community and a better world will only come for those leaders that have the confidence in themselves, the business opportunities to involve others around them, and the desire to help others and make an impact in the community, while always giving back. An attorney Latino Leader is a philanthropist.
The list of this year's attorney Latino Leaders exemplifies these factors.
As an example, you will find leaders that were the first to go to college in their family, the first to go to law school, the first Latino/a hired at their firm or their legal department, the first Latino/a owner or partner of their firm, and without question national leaders.
Each attorney Latino Leader is making a real impact in their respective communities. And as our Hispanic population continues to grow in our country, so should the key leaders who are Latino/a.
All that one has to do is believe in oneself... "creo en mi"! Thus, when we do our work, when we use all of our efforts, when we push through old boundaries and glass ceilings, the rewards and satisfactions are great. And the rewards are sweeter because they have been earned.--Benny Agosto Jr.
Gray Reed and McGraw, P.C.
Complex Commercial Litigation
Adrogue handles complex commercial litigation and multi-party proceedings in state and federal courts as well as in ADR (Alternate Dispute Resolution) proceedings throughout the United States and abroad. She represents clients in all industries.
She has been honored by numerous publications and organizations, including Texas Lawyer, Houston Woman Magazine, H Texas Magazine, Talento Bilingue De Houston, the Greater Houston Women's Chamber, the National Diversity Council, and the Texas Women's Empowerment Foundation.
In July 2004, the city of Houston honored Adrogue with a "Sofia Adrogue Day."
BENNY AGOSTO, JR.
Partner, Abraham Watkins Nichols
Sorrels Agosto & Aziz
Workplace Accidents, Birth
Injuries, Product Defects
Agosto has served as Hispanic National Bar Association national president and continues to advocate for Hispanics in regard to the fair and equitable administration of justice.
Agosto is the founder of the Mexican American Bar Association of Texas (MABATx) Foundation. He built the foundation to benefit young, Hispanic, Houston-area law students through scholarships. He is the president and co-founder of the HNBA's Legal Education Fund, which raises money for minority scholarships, Agosto is also an advocate for gender fairness.
CESAR L. ALVAREZ
Co-Chairman, Greenberg Traurig
Corporate and Securities
Alvarez is a senior chairman of Greenberg Traurig. He previously served as the firm's executive chairman for more than three years and as its CEO for 13 years. During his tenure as CEO, he directed the firm's growth from 325 lawyers in eight offices to approximately 1,850 attorneys and government professionals in more than 36 locations across the globe.
Greenberg Traurig has been recognized as the fastest-growing law firm in the United States and one of the top 10 law firms in the country.
DINO ELIZARDO BARAJAS
Partner, Akin Gump Strauss
Hauer & Feld LLP
Domestic and International
Project Development and Project Finance
Barajas' emphasis is on Latin American infrastructure projects, debt financings, and mergers and acquisitions.
He represents lenders, investors and developers in the financing of a wide range of domestic and international projects in the energy, power, infrastructure and commercial sectors, as well as in traditional banking, structured finance, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, asset finance, joint ventures and venture capital transactions.
Barajas has worked on transactions in the U.S. and Latin America. He is a member of the Los Angeles office's diversity committee.
Partner, Steptoe & Johnson
Complex Litigation, Global Anti-Corruption
Matters, and Internal
Benitez has litigated cases in federal and state trial and appellate courts around the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court. She is a past president of the DC Bar, the second largest unified bar in the country.
Benitez draws on more than 20 years of experience representing clients in high-stakes, complex litigation and arbitration matters. She conducts internal investigations before enforcement agencies relating to a variety of sensitive and business-critical issues.
She has also served as Chief of the Office of Institutional Integrity of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
YESENIA M. GALLEGOS
Partner, Fox Rothschild
Gallegos is focused on employment matters, including advising and litigating on behalf of companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, in areas such as restrictive covenants, wage and work-hour law (including class actions), discrimination and harassment, executive employment agreements and separations, leaves of absence, and reductions in force.
She also performs wage and hour audits and provides employers with training (in English or Spanish) on preventing sexual harassment, employment law for workplace managers and supervisors, wage and work-hour compliance, and on the interplay between state and federal leaves of absence.
Partner, Corporate, Brown
Corporate, Cross-Border/International Transactions, Venture Capital
Garcia's practice is focused on corporate and international business. His extensive experience includes financings, private equity, securities, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, investments, restructurings and contractual arrangements in the U.S. and around the world.
Garcia has spent a substantial portion of his over 40 years of practice dealing with various types of situations involving international business in countries other than the United States.
He has been honored by Legal Eagle and Latinvex, among many other organizations and publications. In March 2016, he was named one of the best lawyers in New England by the Wall Street Journal.
IGNACIO J. GARCIA
Employment Law, Unfair
Competition and Trade Secrets
Garcia's focus is on representing employers with their labor and employment needs. He has defended both individual and collective actions under numerous state and federal employment laws.
Garcia has also defended employment related torts such as defamation, negligent retention, negligent hiring, assault, battery and fraud, as well as breach of contract claims. He regularly advises employers on numerous day-to-day matters related to their employees. Garcia is fluent in Spanish and has been a speaker at numerous human resources and legal conferences throughout Florida.
Employers & Lawyers, Working Together
Ignacio J. Garcia focuses his practice exclusively on representing employers with their...