United Latinos Association hosts Hispanic Bar Association of NJ

Panelists set up in the front of the ballroom. - Staff Writer / Matt Hall

On Oct. 5th, from 4 to 8 p.m. United Latinos Association hosted a banquet in the student center ballroom, where members of the Hispanic Bar Association of NJ shared their experiences in the professional workforce. 

Associate Dean Dr. Stephen Fleming from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and E-board members of the United Latinos Association, Daniel Marquez and Julianna Grace, were also in attendance. 

The event was coordinated in part by Dominique Pearson, a staff manager within The Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution (SJICR). 

“This event in particular is a partnership between our office Flying First, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, and it starts with a lot of collaboration and communication between those two organizations. We also see what the students want and get into discussion with the United Latinos Association E-board and what they feel perfectly represents Hispanic Heritage Month. There’s also the logistical part of this event; we thankfully got Kitty Cars, a Venezuelan cuisine place in Haddonfield, to cater this event. We wanted to make sure we got authentic food for the event,” Pearson said.

They served an array of food including empanadas with cheese, cheesesteaks, shredded beef, chicken, and vegan selections. They had plenty of tacos with marinated chicken on the side and an assortment of toppings. For dessert, they served rainbow-sprinkled churros, and for beverages, water and lemonade. 

Once everyone was seated with their meals, the four speakers went up to the panel set up near the podium and introduced themselves. Jose A. Calves spoke first and urged students to get involved in whatever organizations they could. 

“As the president of the Southern region for the Hispanic Bar Association, we partnered with Rowan last year to provide what is called a tourney in residence program, where students can incorporate a mentoring program with the university and can contact me through Dr. Fleming’s office where I can provide counseling sessions. I also do events with the pre-law society and it’s important I do them because I see the need for guidance in this field when it comes to making big financial decisions like grad school because I’ve seen so many students who are smart enough to attain positions in law, but never get there because of their lack of connections and inexperience with navigating the world of college loans,” Calves said.

Francisco Guzman introduced himself as a Rutgers law graduate right down the road in Camden, and an associate attorney at Stark and Stark, a regional firm in Princeton where he practices commercial litigation and business litigation. He also opened the floor to any students who wished to get in touch with him through Dr. Fleming’s office and set up a counseling session. 

Guest speaker Arlette Leyba, attorney of Brown & Connery, one of South Jersey’s most well-regarded law firms, laid out her educational journey.

“I went to law school because I wanted to be a social immigration worker. My mom was an immigrant and her whole family were immigrants and so, seeing their continuous struggles, I felt that I needed to be that social justice warrior against the immigration system. I attended Rutgers where I studied social justice, sociology and criminal justice, and for two summers I interned at an immigration law firm where, right after I graduated, they called me up to fill a receptionist position. Thankfully from that job I was able to foster the money for four years of law school, which was difficult keeping up with at times, but I managed to graduate in 2022 and I’m happy to be in the law firm mindset that evolved from my social justice work,” said Leyba.

After the panel, some students went up and introduced themselves to the speakers. The insight of the Hispanic Bar Association exudes the accessibility and connectivity Rowan University provides in the importance of guiding students to their future.

For comments/questions about this story DM us on Instagram @thewhitatrowan or email thewhit.newseditor@gmail.com