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President’s Message

Jason Canales

Building on our legacy by ensuring diversity & equality, while serving our community.

Dear Members and Friends:

It is a tremendous honor to serve as President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association, and to do so as the first openly gay President in the organization’s 67-year history. This achievement is not just a personal milestone but a testament to the strides we have made as a community towards embracing diversity in all its forms. As your President, I am dedicated to amplifying the voices of all members of the PRBA. I am eager to continue to promote the advancement of Hispanic attorneys in the legal profession and to also ensure that the PRBA remains a prominent voice throughout this State.

The work we have cut out for us this year will be difficult. But it is urgent and critical. We often talk about building on the successes of our predecessors in advancing representation and inclusion. And yet we stand in a moment where that progress is threatened, and we can take nothing for granted. Given the recent Supreme Court decision and the growing rancor against institutions that seek to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, we must remain steadfast in our values and commitments. The role of affinity bar associations, like the PRBA, has never been more important in ensuring an inclusive legal profession that reflects the rich tapestry of our society.

American Bar Association data shows that as of 2023 only 21% of the nation’s lawyers are people of color. Yet, individuals who identify as minorities account for 40% of the U.S. population. 19.1 % of the U.S. population identifies as Hispanic. Yet, only 6% of lawyers in the U.S. are Hispanic.

Through the Puerto Rican Bar Association Scholarship Fund we must continue to provide financial aid to deserving Hispanic law students and build our pipeline so that our representation in the legal profession can accurately reflect the people we serve.

We must elect and appoint more Hispanic state and federal court Judges. This is especially important outside of New York City, where our numbers are abysmal. A bench that looks like and shares similar experiences to the people it serves is integral to promoting trust in our justice system.

We must continue to support our members in the private and public sector by not only providing them with continuing education, but by also doing whatever we can to place them in leadership roles.

Finally, and especially during this election year, we must be a voice for our community here in New York and in Puerto Rico. We must ensure that our people know that their vote matters and will be counted.

I am both honored and humbled to serve as your President. Let us embark on this journey together, recognizing that our diversity is our strength and that by working together, we can continue to shape a more inclusive and just future.

Juntos Somos Uno,

Jason Canales, Esq., 67th President of the Puerto Rican Bar Association


"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.