The San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association (SFLRLA) was founded in 1971 by Mario Obledo, Cruz Reynoso, and Luis Garcia. SFLRLA serves as a resource for and advocates on behalf of the Latino legal community in the Bay Area.
With ten active committees and a number of annual events, SFLRLA provides attorneys with a number of opportunities to network, engage in advocacy, and give back to their communities. Our biggest event of the year is Noche de Gala – a dinner to raise scholarships for law students who work at public interest organizations during the summer.
If you are a member of the Latino legal community, please consider joining SFLRLA today!
Our mission is to serve the public interest by cultivating the science of jurisprudence; promoting reform in the law; facilitating the administration of justice; advancing the standing of the legal profession; preserving the high standards of professionalism among Latino attorneys; and cooperating with other professional and community organizations in the furtherance of our mission.
In 1971, Mario G. Obledo moved to San Francisco from San Antonio, Texas when the National Headquarters of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) moved here. Mr. Obledo found it was almost impossible to find five Latino attorneys in one place. More Latino attorneys were needed, and the best way to increase the number of Latino attorneys was by recruiting and educating young people.
There was a program designed to create legal education opportunities, the Council of Legal Education Opportunities (CLEO), but Latinos could not take a place at the table because Latinos attorneys did not have an organization eligible to participate and make their voice heard.
Mario Obledo, MALDEF’s general Counsel, Cruz Reynoso, the Executive Director the California Rural Legal Assistance at that time, and Luis Garcia, a lawyer in private practice in San Francisco, together founded La Raza Lawyers in 1971. The Association found its first home at the MALDEF offices. From there, our founders began to recruit attorneys from San Francisco, the Bay Area, the State of California, and across the nation. Within a few years the La Raza Lawyers Association had become a national organization. Today, the national organization is known as the National Hispanic Bar Association, headquartered in Washington, D. C.
Our founders are proud of what we have become. They take credit only for an idea in response to a pressing need — the need to educate more minority Latino lawyers because there were so few.
In the early 1980s we lost one of our founders, Luis Garcia, who was then the Presiding Judge in the San Francisco Municipal Court. Mario G. Obledo and Cruz Reynoso have enjoyed long and very distinguished legal careers. Both have been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
We are grateful to our founders for their example and leadership.
2015 – Josue Fuentes
2014 – Yesenia Santacruz
2013 – Manny Alvarez
2012 – Sigrid Irias
2011 – Xochitl Carrion
2010 – Arturo Sandoval
2009 – Niki Solis
2007 – Oliver Gutierrez
2006 – Edward Torpoco
2005 – Victor Marquez
2004 – Enrique Ramirez
2001 – Mercedes Moreno
1996 – Eli Aramburo