HIS Seeks Nominations for Annual Awards

The Hispanic Issues Section is seeking nominees for its annual awards.  Awards will be given out in the following categories:

  • Reynaldo G. Garza Lifetime Achievement Award: Given to an attorney or judge who is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas who has demonstrated a long commitment and made great achievement in addressing concerns and issues affecting the Hispanic community and to the Hispanic Bar in Texas and has worked toward advancing diversity and access to justice in the practice of law.
  • Pete Torres Public Service Award: Given to an individual or organization who has demonstrated a history of service and commitment to the Hispanic community.
  • James W. Wray, Jr. Founder’s Award: Given to a member or former member of the Hispanic Issues Section to recognize exceptional achievements on behalf of the Hispanic legal community in Texas.
  • Judge of the Year Award
  • Legislator of the Year Award
  • Hispanic/Mexican American Bar Organization of the Year Award

If you know of a deserving candidate in one of these categories, please use our nomination form.  Additional information about the items needed for a nomination is described on the form.  The nomination deadline has been extended to Wednesday, May 20!


Message from the Chair

In June 2014, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve and was sworn in as the Chair of the Hispanic Issues Section.  Under the leadership of Immediate Past HIS Chair, Justice Patricia Alvarez, and the HIS Board, we had built a strong foundation last year so that our membership and community outreach efforts this year could succeed.  We took the bull by the horns and got to work!  So far this year, our HIS membership numbers have reached an all time high--we now have over 500 members!  As more members become available to get involved and participate, the more we can get done.

Our HIS Board and membership also saw a great opportunity to serve our members and our community as our country faced a humanitarian crisis with thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving at our borders.  We definitely had a mandate, and there definitely was a need!  In July 2014, I reached out to the State Bar of Texas President, Trey Apffel, as well as other statewide leaders, and formed a coalition of working partners/organizations to begin training and volunteering in order to prepare Texas attorneys to provide Pro Bono services and help deal with this crisis.  There was a great need for Pro Bono services to provide unaccompanied children with basic legal services to ensure these children were afforded due process of law and assistance during immigration and other court proceedings, as well as to provide humanitarian aid and assistance.

The HIS stepped up in a big way!  Together, we put together an incredible coalition working together for this great cause.  Workshops were organized across Texas in order to train attorneys and volunteers regarding the Immigration process. Goods and funds were collected for humanitarian aid.  As just one example, a workshop that was put together in Houston drew over 500 attendees, the largest workshop of its kind to date.  Several other workshops have followed.  Hundreds of Texas attorneys have been trained and many Pro Bono hours have been clocked.  Thanks to all that have participated.  You can learn more about our efforts, and upcoming training and volunteer opportunities relating to the unaccompanied minor crisis, on the unaccompanied minor crisis page on this website.

We also recently held a reception and happy hour in McAllen, Texas – the first of what we hope are many HIS events across the state.  We want to meet you!  You can always find upcoming events and other information on the calendar on this website, but in closing, I want to highlight a few additional upcoming opportunities for you to connect with HIS:

I hope to see you at these and other events, and if you are not a member, I encourage you to join HIS!  If you have any questions or comments about the section or its activities, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Benny Agosto, Jr.
Chair, Hispanic Issues Section, State Bar of Texas

Posted December 9, 2014  


Unaccompanied Minor Crisis - Resource Pages

The Hispanic Issues Section has created a listing of trainings and volunteer opportunities around the state regarding the unaccompanied minor crisis.  You can see the current HIS resource page by clicking here.  If you have a training or volunteer opportunity you would like to see on this page, or any other comments, please email us!

The State Bar of Texas has created a comprehensive resource page that is also going to be updated constantly, and contains additional resources and information about training and volunteer opportunities, as well as information regarding the organizations, firms and individuals working together to address this crisis.  The Hispanic Issues Section applauds the State Bar and its leaders for their tremendous commitment and assistance.  See the State Bar of Texas resource page here.

Trey Apffel, President of the State Bar of Texas, addressed this crisis in the opinion page of the October 2014 Texas Bar Journal.  See President Apffel's note here.  

In addition, Chief Justice Nathan Hecht of the Texas Supreme Court has called on attorneys to volunteer to assist in this crisis.  See the video here.


Updates from the Hispanic Issues Section

We have plenty of recent updates for our members and friends!

  • The Hispanic Issues Section has just named the winners of its annual awards. Please click here for the full list and announcement! These awards were presented at a ceremony at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting. See our News page for details and pictures!
  • The Hispanic Issues Section recently approved new bylaws, which can be seen here.  Law students and recent graduates (licensed two years or less) can now join the section for FREE!  We have updated our membership form--download it here!  Or visit our Join Us page to join the section!
  • We now have our second Member Spotlight - Judge J. Manuel Bañales!  Please visit the Member Spotlight page to see Judge Bañales' excellent Q&A regarding the formation of the section and being an elected judge in Texas!
  • We frequently highlight when our members are in the news.  Be sure to visit the Members in the News page for updates, including recent honors given to Hispanic Issues Section members such as Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman and Angelica M. Hernandez!

Would you like to advertise your event with us?  Have a news item regarding a Hispanic Issues Section member?  Please email us!


Welcome to the New Hispanic Issues Section Website!

Welcome to the new website!  We are looking forward to bringing members a variety of news items from Hispanic Issues Section members around Texas, as well as news on important legal issues impacting the Hispanic community.  As we launch the new website, we want to hear from section members!  

We are particularly interested in receiving the following information from members:

  • Members in the News Items - Tell us about a recent accomplishment.  Recently make partner?  Receive an appointment to a board or committee?  Has your organization recently held a noteworthy event or activity?  Tell us!  
  • Events - Let us tell our members about your upcoming events, and put them on our calendar! 
  • News and Articles - Have a news item or summary, or a scholarly article you would like to share?  Send it to us!
  • Feedback - What else would you like to see on this site? 
Please email us!

Our Purpose

The purpose of the Hispanic Issues Section is to study and report on laws, judicial decisions and governmental regulations as they may affect the particular needs of the Hispanic community of Texas, to provide a common meeting ground and forum for members of the profession for consideration of special issues with respect to the recognition and enjoyment of constitutional rights of the Hispanic Community, both individually and collectively, and to take such action with respect thereto, all subject to our Bylaws and the laws, rules and regulations of the State Bar of Texas.

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