Elba Rose Galvan, PRBA President 2013-2014
At the time of her presidency, Elba had worked as a New York attorney for more than fifteen years. Early in her career, Ms. Galvan worked as a litigator and appellate attorney in two private firms. Subsequently, she served as special counsel to the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund (currently LatinoJustice PRLDEF) and managed a solo practice. She also served as a Law Clerk to SDNY Judge Analisa Torres and Judge Laura Johnson.
Elba serves on the board of Project Epic, a program that sponsors financially disadvantaged high school students to attend pre-college enrichment programs. She is active in the immigrants’ rights community and is one of the executive producers of a narrative feature film that advocates for immigration reform entitled “Dreamer.” She also served as a volunteer attorney for the New York Legal Assistance Group and Legal Services New York.
Elba was a panelist at the first, third and fourth annual CLE entitled “The Supreme Court Term Impact on the Latino Community Practitioners” sponsored by CUNY School of Law’s CLORE, the HNBA and the PRBA. She also lectured on the duty of prosecutors to truth and justice at a NYWBA CLE entitled “Criminal Law Issues”. She has guest lectured on public interest law at Brooklyn Law School.
She is the recipient of the Puerto Rican Bar Association’s 2011 Excellence in Advocacy Women’s Award. She formerly served as corresponding secretary and vice president of the Puerto Rican Bar Association. As a result of her work as co-chair of the New York Women’s Bar Association legislation committee, the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York issued a position statement supporting the New York State Dream Act.
Elba received her B.A. from Cornell University and J.D. from Howard University School of Law. She is a member of the New York Bar and admitted to practice before the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
Elena Goldberg Velazquez, PRBA President 2012-2013
Elena Goldberg Velazquez, Esq. resides in Bronx County. Presently, Elena is a Court Attorney in the Law Department, of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department.
Previously, Elena worked at Soto, Sanchez and Negron, LLP. At Soto, Sanchez, Negron, LLP, Elena handled civil litigation.
Elena is an active member in the Puerto Rican Bar Association (“PRBA”), and is the immediate Past-President. Elena has served the PRBA in various capacities: President, President-Elect, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Chair of the Young Lawyer’s Committee and Chair of the Women’s Committee. Elena is a member of the New York State Bar Diversity Committee. In addition, Elena is on the Board of Visitors for CUNY School of Law.
In 2011 and 2012, Elena was a lecturer at the Summer Justice Academy, held at the Judicial Institute at Pace University School of Law. Elena has also served as Chair of the Board of Directors of the South Bronx Charter School for International Cultures and the Arts, and a member of the Yonkers Puerto Rican Hispanic Day Parade.
Elena earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Relations from Syracuse University where she graduated Pi Sigma Alpha. While at Syracuse Elena was on the Dean’s List, a member of the nationally ranked Mock Trial Team, and a member of the Syracuse University Union Speakers Board. Elena earned her Juris Doctor from City University of New York School of Law Queens College, where she was the Managing Editor of the New York City Law Review. While in law school, Elena was also a member of the New York City Bar Association, American Bar Association, International Law Organization and Phi Alpha Delta. Elena is admitted to practice law in New York State, Connecticut and the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York.
During law school, Elena clerked and successfully completed the summer associate program at Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman and Dicker, LLP. Thereafter, Elena accepted an associate position at Wilson, Elser, et al. Elena also worked in the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office in the Superior Court Trial Division where she monitored the cold case project.
Elena was the recipient of the Bronx/Manhattan Times 2012 Women of Distinction Award, 2012 New York League of Puerto Rican Women – Woman of the Year Award, Puerto Rican Bar Association’s 2009 Young Lawyer Women’s Award, 2007 Entre Nosotras Award and 2006 Latyn Scholarship Award.
Rosevelie Marquez Morales, PRBA President 2011-2012
Ms. Marquez Morales served as President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association from 2011-2012. She is a Partner at Harris Beach PLLC and Co-Chair of the firm’s Diversity Council. She practices in the Mass Torts and Industry-Wide Litigation and Insurance Litigation and Product Liability Defense Practice Groups and serves on the Medical and Life Sciences Industry Team. She focuses her practice primarily in the areas of mass tort litigation, products liability defense, health care litigation and medical malpractice defense, as well as premises liability and general liability defense. Ms. Marquez Morales also represents insurance companies in commercial, personal injury and liability claims.
Ms. Marquez Morales was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Her family subsequently moved to Brooklyn, New York, where she attended elementary, middle and high school. In 1999 she graduated from Barnard College Columbia University with a B.A. in Economics. In 2002 she graduated from Fordham University School of Law.
Catherine Torres, Esq., PRBA President 2010-2011
Catherine Torres served as President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association from 2010-2011 and is a former PRBA Treasurer. Ms. Torres currently serves as Senior Vice President of MirRam Group LLC, a strategic consulting firm serving major non-profits, corporations and elected officials in New York State and across the country and primarily serves as a lead lobbyist and manager for many of the firm’s state and city clientele.
She began her career in public service in the New York State Assembly as Chief of Staff for Bronx Assemblyman Roberto Ramirez. In her role as Chief of Staff, she was the prime architect of the New York State Legislative Task Force’s Annual Somos El Futuro Conference which attracted well over 5,000 participants. She was also responsible for coordinating Assemblyman Ramirez’ legislative initiatives as well as overseeing budget negotiations, and served as Counsel to the Assemblyman on his role as Chair of the New York State Assembly committee on Social Services.
Roberto Ramirez, Esq., PRBA President 2009-2010
As an attorney, and during his time in public office, Roberto Ramirez’ activism and his vision of a better New York, has earned him a reputation as one of the hardest working public officials in government and as a “voice of conscience” on some of the most pressing issues affecting the Puerto Rican community.
Mr. Ramirez has been one of New York’s most formidable activists in the crusade against social injustice and racism. With many other New York leaders he led the protests to halt the U.S. bombing of the Puerto Rican Island of Vieques, spending 40 days in a Federal Penitentiary for his act of civil disobedience to stop the bombings. Mr. Ramirez also subjected himself to arrest in demonstrations in the wake of the brutal shooting of Amadou Diallo.
Maria Matos, Esq., PRBA President 2008-2009
Maria Matos, a practicing attorney for fourteen years, was born and raised in New York City. She attended parochial schools and was awarded a Regents Diploma from Mother Cabrini High School. She is a graduate of St. John’s University, where she received a Bachelor of Science and was the proud scholarship recipient of the National Hispanic Scholarship Fund. In 1993 she received a Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in New York State, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals, Second Department and the United States District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts.
Edward A. Flores, Esq., Past President 2007 – 2008
Edward A. Flores is currently a Partner at Krez & Flores, LLP, a law firm with a focus on Tort Defense including Premises Liability, Intentional Torts, Transportation Liability, FELA, Employment Discrimination, Automobile, Personal Injury Related Defense, and Insurance Defense.
David J. Hernandez, Esq., PRBA President 2006 – 2007
David J. Hernandez was admitted to the practice of law in the State of
New York in May 1987 and the State of New Jersey in November 1988. He is also admitted in the Eastern, Southern and Western District Courts of the State of New York; the Federal District Court of the State of New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court. In 1990, he opened his own general practice, representing financial institutions, small businesses, and individual clients, including members of local 6, postal workers, and members of approximately forty other unions and organizations in various areas of law.
Janet Alvarez, Esq., Past President 2005 – 2006
J ALVAREZ & ASSOCIATES, P.C. represents corporations, medium-size and small businesses, non-profit entities and individuals in a wide array of legal and consulting matters with primary focus on litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Prior to establishing a private practice, Ms. Alvarez began her career as a law clerk for the City and County of Denver and as a Legal Research Analyst with the National Civic League in Denver, Colorado. Ms. Alvarez went on to work as an Assistant District Attorney for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and subsequently accepted a position with the New York City Board of Education as a Hearing Officer, then Agency Attorney Administrative Trials and then Director, Management & Compliance Unit, Division of Funded & Community Resources. Ms. Alvarez was also a Senior Associate Director, Network Human Resources for Generations +/Northern Manhattan Health Network, the largest New York City Health & Hospital Corporation Network.
Edgar DeLeon, Esq., PRBA President 2004 – 2005
Edgar De Leon is a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law (J.D.) and Hunter College (M.S. & B.A.). He has worked as a Detective-Sergeant and an attorney for the New York City Police Department (NYPD). His investigative assignments included investigating hate motivated crimes for the Chief of Department and allegations of corruption and serious misconduct for the Deputy Commissioner of Internal Affairs and the Chief of Detectives.
James Castro-Blanco, Esq., PRBA President 2002 – 2003
James F. Castro-Blanco is Of Counsel in the White Plains office. He focuses his legal practice on a variety of corporate affairs and financing projects. He is also an experienced litigator. Earlier in his career, Jim was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, where he prosecuted cases dealing with narcotics trafficking, money laundering, bank and wire fraud, and other federal crimes. He was also an Assistant Dean at St. John’s University School of Law and remains an Adjunct Professor of Law.
Ellie Jurado-Nieves, Esq. PRBA President 2001 – 2002
Ellie Jurado-Nieves is a Speaker, Writer, and Business Consultant. She is also the President and Founder of Leadership Strategies for Women, LLC where she provides women and entrepreneurs with executive coaching to help them develop business leadership skills, set strategic goals, bolster effectiveness, and create a personal brand. Before launching her consulting business, Ellie, who is an attorney by profession, gained extensive business and leadership experience working in politics and for a Fortune 500 company.