Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession
A panel presented by Peco Energy and the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania enforced the importance of being connected, helping the community and showing that more than being a latino, you are a great professional.
You have the right to be there. This is the message passed by the Embracing Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Profession discussion panel held on the evening of October 5th at the Ballard Spahr LLP Law Firm in Market Street Philadelphia.
Presented by Peco Energy and the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania, the panel enforced the importance of being connected, helping the community and showing that more than being a latino, you are a great professional. Counting with notable Latino representatives of the legal profession and an auditory filled with professionals and students eager to learn and understand how to better insert themselves in professional environments which can oftentimes not be acceptive of minorities.
Hosting the panel during this moment of increasing persecution against Latino immigrants definitely influenced the tone of the discussion, but instead of focusing on the difficulties faced daily by Latinos, the panelists focused on giving the audience insights about connecting and helping their community, about believing in themselves and putting their best foot forward.
“The times have been challenging and it has never been more important that we embrace diversity and inclusion,” says Hon. L. Felipe Restrepo, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He goes on saying “I can’t tell you how important it was for me to have a mentor, if it wasn’t for the mentorship I wouldn't be here today.” “This is familia, we have to take care of each other.”
Brenda Marrero, Esq., Deputy Director of Operations at Community Legal Services, brings to the table another dilemma faced by minorities when pursuing their professional careers: the fact that companies oftentimes follow diversity policies and try to hire minorities, but are still not inclusive. She says, “Diversity is to be invited to a party, Inclusion is to be asked to dance.”
Still addressing the same issue, Jacqueline Romero, Esq., Assistant United States Attorney at the Department of Justice for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania tells the audience about the importance of believing in themselves and not making assumptions of what people may think about you because of your background.
“If I made assumptions, I wouldn't be here today,” says Romero.
For Theodore R. Flo, Esquire, Litigation Associate at Ballard Spahr LLP, a way to overcome stigma for being Latino is doing a good job. This way, the professional will be remembered by his knowledge and importance to the organization they are part of.
It was an inspirational event that enforced that, despite however challenging circumstances may be, Latino professionals have the power within themselves to succeed in their careers.