Pioneers worked hard to give the association life and viability…
In 2001, former Family Court Magistrate Phil Goglas and a handful of Hispanic attorneys met to discuss the formation of the Suffolk County Hispanic Bar Association. At that meeting, the attorneys agreed that the time had come for Hispanic attorneys in Suffolk to integrate and form an association that would dedicate itself to the science of jurisprudence, and the protection of civil and political rights of the Hispanic community in the county, as well as the community at large.
With these objectives in mind, the attorneys founded the Suffolk County Hispanic Bar Association, and on January 17, 2002, we had our inaugural dinner where Phil Goglas was installed as president, Robert Garcia was named Vice President, Noel Bonilla was named Secretary, and Aletha Fields Ferraro was named Treasurer.
These pioneers worked hard to give the association life and viability, and through their efforts, it slowly took form and evolved into the association it is today. In 2004, the association passed a resolution to change the name from the Suffolk County Hispanic Bar Association to the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association (LIHBA) so that we could encourage the Hispanic attorneys in Nassau to join us. In 2005, the new name became official, and with this change, more Hispanic attorneys from all over Long Island have joined. We now have over 100 attorney, professional and law student members from the East End of Long Island to Queens. Our attorney members work in all areas of law, including Immigration Law, Criminal Law, Family Law, Patent Law, Employment Law, Commercial Law, Tax Law, and Appeals.
Over the years the LIHBA has increased its outreach and involvement in the Hispanic Community. The LIHBA has conducted free community education seminars, provided continuing legal education programs, networking events with members of the government and the judiciary and developed a referral hotline and has worked with other advocacy groups and government officials to address some of the systemic problems encountered by Hispanics on Long Island. The LIHBA also provides an outstanding paid internship program to law school students and most recently will be giving substantial scholarships to deserving students.
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