The Puerto Rican Bar Association, Inc. (PRBA) was founded in 1957. Its purpose is to offer both personal and professional support to Puerto Rican and Latino attorneys and address the concerns of a rapidly growing Latino community. The PRBA represents the interests of attorneys, judges, law professors, and students of Latino descent who share a common interest in fostering professional development in the legal community and addressing issues that are important not only to the Puerto Rican community but the Latino community as a whole.
PRBA: A History of Service
The words in this mission statement are born out of a sense of duty and commitment to the Puerto Rican community and to those Puerto Rican pioneer lawyers that founded this organization as part of their struggle to make sure that future generations of Puerto Rican and Latinos would have the same rights and privileges that everyone else is entitled to by virtue of one’s full citizenship.
Since its formation in 1957, the Puerto Rican Bar Association, Inc, (PRBA), has served as a model of what a legal professional organization should strive for in serving its members and the larger community. It has grown from a handful of Puerto Rican members to hundreds of lawyers committed to meeting the new challenges confronting Latino lawyers in the legal profession and the myriad issues affecting the Latino community, and New York State as a whole.
Throughout the last 50 years many Puerto Rican lawyers have stepped up to provide leadership in the PRBA, to pay tribute to the contributions of those members of the association who came before them, and to follow in their tradition. Each team of lawyers, Presidents and Officers of the Board of Directors, who accepted responsibility for moving the organization forward were reflective of their time, and tackled the issues of their day.
PRBA: A Future of Resolve
Today, a new generation of leaders is stepping up to continue in the tradition of excellence of the PRBA, in the belief that their work and leadership on behalf of the membership of the PRBA will serve as part of their contribution to something greater than themselves. It is their firm belief that their commitment to excellence in the practice of law, and in their lives, will yield a greater understanding of issues of relevance and significance to the largest ethnic minority group in the United states. That, in the practice of law, thoughtful resolve and deliberate action are needed always, but never more so than when assuring the rights of the most vulnerable among us. That when they speak of being members of the PRBA, they are in fact vouching for their commitment to excellence and tradition.
Our goals are modest but ambitious.
We, above everything else, accept full responsibility for standing up for the Puerto Rican, Latino and under represented communities. We commit to protect our rights, when those rights are being denied, to seek the full participation of our profession in the highest offices in this country, and to speak up forcefully with our voices, our political muscle and our legal skills, when the issue merits it, locally and nationally. It is our vow to stand up, not only when the challenges are clearly righteous, but when the unfairness of the law is being exercised to mask injustice against those who can’t defend themselves.
We firmly believe that we have a responsibility to reach out to Puerto Rican, and Latino lawyers throughout the state with a clear agenda for our community. We strive to afford every one of those lawyers in the state the opportunity to join a cause bigger than their own personal professional growth and to ensure a brighter future for our state.
We believe that the time has come for the PRBA to develop a working strategy for obtaining a permanent home for its members. We think this must be done now. We further insist that the Puerto Rican community has developed enough leadership of their own, and enough weight with other financial institutions to implement an aggressive fund raising drive to achieve this objective.
PRBA: A Call to Action
We are all well aware of the many responsibilities and challenges these positions entail and we are eager to get to work. In the end we may not achieve everything we wish to accomplish, but, expect that with every PRBA member’s help, we will write another chapter in the long tradition of excellence of the PRBA.
This, we believe is our responsibility, and right, as Puerto Rican lawyers and members of the Puerto Rican Bar Association.