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    November 19, 2008  
Equal Justice


Last night, as a cold wind blew outside, we were glad to huddle in the warmth of the Mandarin Oriental for the Hispanic Bar Association of DC’s Equal Justice Awards. The event drew a record 270, sprinkled with JDs from the executive and legislative branches.


Ramona Romero, corporate counsel at DuPont and president of the Hispanic National Bar Association (not to be confused with the DC group hosting last night’s soiree), chilvarously flanked by Juan Carlos Iturregui of Sonnenschein and Mauricio Tamargo, chairman of DOJ’s Foreign Claims Settlement Commission. On Friday, Ramona penned a letter to President-elect Obama urging the appointment of Hispanics to the judiciary (they’re 15% of the overall population but 7% of the Federal bench), and particularly to the Supreme Court. Ramona says she’s gotten some hate mail over her pitch. Ramona is not deterred.


At center, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, a Dem just re-elected for his seventh term by 66% of voters in Texas’s 15th District, dropped in after a day of hearings; he’s on the Financial Services committee that heard from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, so an evening breather was in order. Proving his commitment to gender diversity, the Congressman demanded the presence of HBA Communications Committee chair Lyzka DeLaCruz in this pic, along with Skadden’s Kedric Payne and Franklyn Duporte (bookends) and Fried Frank’s Benjamin Hernandez-Stern.


Christina Guerola Sarchio of Howrey took home the Hugh Johnson Award for her commitment to the Hispanic community—but then she’s proven that by serving as a past prez of HBA-DC and sitting as VP to the national organization. On her arm: husband Chad Sarchio, chief international law counsel at the DEA. Christina supervised Bisnow 30 Under 30 star Eddie Ferrer in a pro bono challenge to a Prince William County law giving police authority to check individuals’ immigration status. The case was tossed from the Rocket Docket on standing, but they’re filing again with a new group of plaintiffs.


DLA Piper was named the HBA’s employer of the year earlier in ’08, and this crew from the firm was still toasting its win last night: Katherine Martell, Bryant Richardson, Alan Hernandez, DC co-managing partner Rusty Conner (about time we tracked down Ann Ford’s other half), and Cristina Antelo. Rusty tells us DLA started getting conservative (we mean prudent, folks, not political) in its hires about three years ago, a strategy paying off now that they don’t have overcapacity, plus  newbies like fall-starter Katherine (one in a group of 10) get to spread their wings more than they would in a huge class.


We promised you JDs from Capitol Hill, and here’s Howard Law grad Nkenge Harmon and Kory Vargas Caro, both from the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Nkenge was in law school during 9/11, and she says serving on the Hill struck her as a good way to serve her country.  


Gladys Steffens-Guzman and Luis Perez of DOJ’s Office of Immigration Litigation and Hannah Breshin-Otero of Jones Day. All three hail from Puerto Rico, all clerked on the Federal District Court in Puerto Rico, and the kicker—Gladys and Hannah went to school together from fifth grade through high school. Hannah’s working an age discrimination case in California, but we never got an answer to our real question—what’s she doing for recess?

John Ford is Bisnow’s Legal Editor. Send tales from elementary school and/or story ideas to john@bisnow.com.

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