MALDEF’s Law and Policy Leadership Recognized by the Hispanic National Bar Association and Pasadena NAACP

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SEPTEMBER 10, 2008 – This past weekend, the nation’s Hispanic attorneys recognized the leadership and dedication of two MALDEF attorneys. The Hispanic National Bar Association named MALDEF Litigation Director Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon its Advocate of the Year and Southwest Regional Counsel Nina Perales its Latina Attorney of the Year.

“To be recognized by one’s peers in any profession is a high honor and fitting to the efforts of Cynthia and Nina. Their vigorous protection and advancement of the civil and constitutional rights of Latinos comes amidst historically challenging times for the community. By our numbers, we are poised to attain a new role for Latinos in the nation. But those same numbers plague us with unprecedented attacks against immigrants and barriers to achievement. Cynthia and Nina bring us to the forefront for justice for Latinos,” stated MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña.

Appointed MALDEF Litigation Director in 2006, Ms. Valenzuela Dixon has been instrumental in reorienting MALDEF’s litigation work around the three core areas of immigration, language and education that will define Latinos’ status in the 21st century. She was also recently named as one of California’s "Top 20 Lawyers Under Age 40" and one of California's "Top Women Litigators" by California's leading legal newspaper, the Daily Journal.

A pre-eminent voting rights specialist, Ms. Perales successfully argued the Texas redistricting case, LULAC v. Perry, before the U.S. Supreme Court and won a ruling that Texas had moved over 100,000 Latinos out of the 23rd Congressional District just as they were exerting their power there. The New York Times described the U.S. Supreme Court decision as “the most important voting rights case of the decade.”

This week, the Pasadena NAACP will bestow its President’s Award upon MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña for his service to the Latino community and efforts to develop new partnerships with African Americans.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund