Hispanics are Scarce in the Legal Profession
According to statistics from the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Hispanics make up 18 percent of the population, but male Hispanics comprise about four percent of U.S. lawyers and Latinas account for less than two percent of American lawyers. Erica V. Mason, president of the HNBA, states,
It is a huge problem, and it has been a problem for a long time. Every single aspect of society is impacted in meaningful ways by attorneys, including lawmakers, politicians, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and in-house corporate attorneys who make policies that companies follow.
Surprisingly, Hispanics are only 1.8 percent of law firm partners, and 4.5 percent of federal and state judicial positions. In California, Latinos comprise about 40 percent of the population, yet a 2015 study by the Los Angeles Times found that only 9 percent of the prosecutors in the state were Latino. Lawyers and scholars seem to agree that the under-representation of Latinos in the law impacts the community’s overall image. One of the reasons that Latinos may not consider going into the legal profession is that many Latino undergraduates may get deterred by the cost of law school. For example, the University of California Los Angeles School of Law’s yearly tuition and fees run between $45,000 and $52,000, which can be brought down with scholarships and financial assistance.
There are also organizations and associations that can help Latinos such as the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, which offers programs and events designed to help Latinas navigate law school, learn about internships and interviewing skills, and connect with practicing attorneys. Hopefully more Latinos and Latinas will join the legal profession and seek help when needed to succeed in that job field.