Professor Charles Calleros
The Hispanic National Bar Association will be honored this summer for its outreach to minority youth, including a mentoring program that began in Phoenix this year with help from the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
The Bar will receive the 2007 Partnership Award for its National Mentoring Program and its Youth Convention Law Day Program from the American Bar Association at the ABA convention on Aug. 10 in San Francisco.
The mentoring program calls for four-level mentoring teams, each with at least one attorney, one law student, one college pre-law student and one high school student. Conceived by HNBA committee chairs Jose Perez and Norma Garcia, it was brought to Phoenix by Professor Charles Calleros; the program also is underway in San Francisco, New York City and Orlando, Fla., with more cities set to develop programs later this year.
In February, Valley attorneys formed 15 mentoring teams with law students and pre-law undergraduates at ASU and with high school students from the Law Magnet Program at South Mountain High School. Over the semester, some mentoring activities took place between subsets of a team, such an ASU student inviting a high school student to campus for a tour and discussion about college. At other times, the attorney leader of a team would organize a more formal event for the entire team, such as a visit to court to hear oral argument, a visit to a high-tech firm to discuss the role of intellectual property lawyers, or a lunch or dinner meeting to discuss higher education and lawyering. Although most of the members of mentoring teams are Hispanic, all ethnicities are represented in the program at every mentoring level.
The Youth Convention Law Day Program is held in conjunction with the HNBA’s annual convention. During one day of that convention, Hispanic high school and college students are invited to workshops, presentations and discussion sessions designed to inform them about opportunities in higher education and in the law, and to inspire them to set high goals for themselves in academics, careers and community leadership.
At other times during the year, law schools and members of local affiliates of the HNBA host similar outreach programs throughout the country, including the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, often with the assistance of the Law School Admissions Council.
The programs for which the HNBA is receiving honors are only a sampling of the ways in which students are provided opportunities. For example, the HNBA hosts job fairs and moot-court programs for law students, and the Hispanic National Bar Foundation annually holds a week-long summer law camp in Washington, D.C., for Hispanic high school students from across the country.
Calleros, a volunteer teacher at the summer law camp, observed that last year’s camp included two high school students from Arizona, one of whom had never before flown on an airplane. “The students were wonderful, participating actively and eagerly in class,” Calleros said.