Applications for the 2013-2014 MALDEF Law School Scholarship Program due Monday, January 27, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA - Today, MALDEF announced the winners of the 2012-2013 Law School Scholarship, including five rising legal stars and one legal star who is posthumously honored. Since MALDEF's founding, the civil rights organization has awarded scholarships to law students who will further MALDEF's mission of advancing the civil rights of the Latino community in the United States. In recent years, MALDEF has annually awarded 5-10 scholarships of $5,000 each.

"The dearth of lawyers dedicated to serving the public interest, to providing representation to those without the means to pay high market rates, to challenging the moneyed and powered interests when they engage in unjust acts, remains a national crisis," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. "MALDEF is proud to continue to assist future lawyers with ambitions to engage in such heroic professional endeavors with modest scholarship assistance, and we welcome applicants to this year's program."

MALDEF utilizes a national Law School Scholarship Committee of leading attorneys to select our scholarship recipients. Jose Sanchez, MALDEF Board Member and Partner at Sidley Austin LLP, served as the Chair of this year's Committee, said, "It is an honor to support this year's recipients, who represent the exceptional talent of the next generation of attorneys. MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Program is an investment in them as much as it is in the future of our legal profession. We thank the major funders of this Program and the members of MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Committee for truly understanding the importance of this investment, as well."

MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Program is open to all law students enrolled at an accredited United States law school. MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Committee assesses applicants based on three main factors: 1) Personal Background and Financial Need; 2) Academic and Extracurricular Achievement; and 3) Record of Service to the Latino Community and Plans for Future Service.

Applications for the 2013-2014 MALDEF Law School Scholarship, due January 27, 2014, are available for download through our website,, and here.

MALDEF thanks the Hearst Foundation, Wal-Mart, Toyota, and the Law School Scholarship Committee for their generous support of our 2013-2014 Law School Scholarship Program. Donations may be made to MALDEF's Law School Scholarship Program here.

MALDEF's 2012-2013 Law School Scholarship Recipients:

Estella Cisneros

Yale Law School

Estella Cisneros is the daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers in the California Central Valley. At Stanford University, she realized that she "was being called to serve the very community [she] had grown up in." She interned for California Rural Legal Assistance (CRLA) in college and will return to CRLA as a Skadden Foundation Fellow after Yale Law School, providing direct representation of immigrant, low-wage dairy workers back in the California Central Valley.

Cinthia Flores

University of California Irvine School of Law

Cinthia Flores started working cleaning houses at the age of thirteen, but stopped when a math teacher recognized her talent and recruited her to work as a peer tutor instead; soon thereafter, she set her sights on UCLA. Active in campus life, including co-founding a Salvadoran student organization, Cinthia was the first Latina elected Student Body President in UCLA history. She "naturally gravitate[s] to community empowerment programs" and seeks to continue serving others after her graduation from UC Irvine School of Law.

Jose Magana

Baylor Law School

Jose Magana credits his mother's sacrifices for enabling him to become the first person in his family to graduate from college. After Arizona State University, he enrolled at Baylor Law School, where he co-founded the Waco DREAM Act Alliance, provided legal services at AYUDA, and contributed to federal advocacy around the rights of immigrant students at MALDEF. He plans a career using "lawsuits, lobbying and legal research ... to defend ... DREAM Act laws and initiatives" and advance broader immigrant rights for all.

David Morales

Columbia Law School

David Morales was motivated by the courageousness of the immigrant families he encountered in a post-HB 56 Alabama while engaged in outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center last summer. He says of the experience, "[I]t reminds me that every Latino community shares the same beginnings ... they all persevered." An immigrant rights advocate since UC Berkeley, after his graduation from Columbia Law School, he will join the Northwest Justice Project's Farm Worker Unit in Yakima, Washington.

Maria Ignacia Rodriguez

University of California Los Angeles School of Law

Maria Ignacia Rodriguez is this year's Hernandez-Stern Law School Scholarship recipient. After graduating from Santa Monica Community College, she dedicated herself to grassroots organizing, working with the UCLA Downtown Labor Center, CARECEN, and CHIRLA. After graduating from UCLA School of Law, she plans to "help underrepresented and underprivileged communities through "community lawyering" ... and continue being an activist and advocate in the immigrant rights movement."

Posthumous Honor:

Soon after MALDEF selected Sadath Garcia as a 2012 Law School Scholarship Recipient, we learned of his tragic passing. With his family, MALDEF mourns this tremendous loss and honors the tremendous legacy of service that Sadath Garcia left behind.

Sadath Garcia

Sadath Garcia was the eldest son of Mexican immigrants who came to the U.S. to provide his family educational opportunities they did not receive. Passionate about education, he graduated from University of Redlands and went on to become a proud member of the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law. Seeking to use media/communications to advance civil/LGBT rights issues, Sadath served at Cause & Affect, Participant Media, and most recently, in the White House Communications Office. Sadath wrote, "My entire life...I lived between two worlds: privileged academia...and the other, a more pressing world - inside the waiting room of emergency rooms, legal aid offices, and outside courts demanding equal rights. My career goal has been to uplift others, all the while creating bridges between the diverse worlds that define me. I yearn to narrow the distance between "us" and "them"..."

Applications for the 2013-2014 MALDEF Law School Scholarship, due January 27, 2014, are available for download through our website,, and here.

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

For all media inquiries, please contact Larry Gonzalez.