Latino Caucus’ Unseen Latinas Initiative Highlights Barriers Latinas Face in the Legal Field

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, May 25, 2021) – Latinas are severely underrepresented among California’s legal professionals, with Latinas making up only 3% of state judges and about 2% of the state’s lawyers. There has never been a Latina on the California Supreme Court in state history. Today, as part of its Unseen Latinas Initiative, the California Latino Legislative Caucus held a virtual event, “Unseen Latinas: Breaking Barriers in the Legal Field” in partnership with the Latina Lawyers Bar Association to hear from legal experts about Latinas’ experiences trying to enter and work in the legal field. 

Watch the full event here. 

“Despite one in five Californians being Latina, Latinas in the legal profession are unfortunately still the exception – not the norm," said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), a graduate of UCLA School of Law and a member of the California State Bar. "Every aspect of our society is shaped in some way by judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and private attorneys. Without Latinas on the bench, in the courtroom, or in the education pipeline to become practicing lawyers, California's judicial system is missing out on critical voices and contributions from Latina leaders in all of our communities.”

Panelists included the Honorable Maria Lucy Armendariz with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law Jennifer Chacon, Judicial Appointments Secretary with the Office of California Governor Gavin Newsom Luis Cespedes, Staff Attorney with UC Immigrant Legal Services Center and President-Elect of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association Lucero Chavez Basilio, and J.D. Candidate at UC Hastings School of Law and Co-President of La Raza Law Students Association Rosamaria Cavalho

“We need to work on opening doors, spotting talent and recruiting,” said UCLA Professor of Law Jennifer Chacon. “But we also need to think about transforming institutions so we make law schools places where people feel like the conversations are responsive to the needs of the community. It’s not just about bringing people in, it’s also about transforming the spaces where we are.”

The Unseen Latinas Initiative was launched in October 2020 with the goal of highlighting the growing inequities that Latinas in California experience in economic outcomes and career and leadership opportunities in all industries.  

For questions or to schedule an interview with Assemblywoman Gonzalez, contact Mike Blount: Mike.Blount@asm.ca.gov