The Honorable Nelson A. Diaz Professorship in Law to launch its inaugural celebration
The professorship is named after Pennsylvania's first Latino judge, and the event will feature a panel discussion among prominent Latinx legal professions.
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On Monday, Feb. 27, the Honorable Nelson A. Diaz Professorship in Law will be hosting its inaugural celebration event.
The event will gather Temple University alumni, faculty, staff, and friends and feature a panel discussion among four prominent Latinx lawyers and judges.
The panelists will discuss their career trajectories, the role racial justice plays in their work, as well as the impact of Latinx representation in the legal profession.
Highlighting Prominent Latinx Legal Professionals
In comparison to the Latino population in the United States, the legal profession is one industry where Latinos are severely underrepresented.
Despite this, there is a handful who have been able to make a tremendous impact right here in our region.
Three of them will be taking part in a panel discussion during the event.
The first panelist is Diana Cortes. In December 2020, she was appointed by Mayor Jim Kenney as City Solicitor — the first Latina to ever serve in the role.
As the City’s chief legal officer, Cortes serves are general counsel to the Mayor and his Administration, City Council, and all City departments, agencies, boards, and commissions.
She also manages the City’s Law Department, which employs over 215 lawyers and over 100 professional staff. Its diverse legal practice covers federal, state, and local agency litigation, commercial and real estate transactions, ta, regulatory law, social services, and legislation.
The second panelist is Jacqueline Romero. In June 2022, she was officially sworn in as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. She is the first-ever Latina to serve in the role.
In the role, Romero is the chief federal law enforcement officer responsible for all federal criminal prosecutions and civil litigation involving the United States in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which is one of the nation’s most populous districts.
She supervises a staff of approximately 140 assistant U.S. Attorneys, and a similar number of non-attorney support personnel at offices in Philadelphia and Allentown.
The third panelist is Chief Judge Juan R. Sánchez. In August 2018, he became Chief Judge of the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He is the first Hispanic to lead the Court in its 229-year history.
He has served as a federal judge for over 15 years and is the 15th Chief Judge of his district.
After a career with Legal Aid and the Public Defender’s Office of Chester County, Judge Sánchez was elected to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, serving as a judge there until President George W. Bush nominated him to a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Judge L. Felipe Restrepo, circuit judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Before entering private practice, he worked as a defender in Philadelphia in both the local and federal courts. He was also a partner in the firm of Krasner & Restrepo, until he was sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
In May 2022, he was announced as one of seven lawyers to serve on the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
About the Honorable Nelson A. Díaz Professorship in Law
In May 2021, Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law officially launched the Nelson A. Diaz Professorship in Law. It is the first title of its kind to be named after a Latino.
The Honorable Judge Nelson A. Diaz is a trailblazer in many regards.
He was the first Latino to pass the Pennsylvania bar exam, the first Latino judge in the state, and as a Temple Law alumni himself, he has played a critical role in helping organize students at the school to go on to have tremendous success in the legal industry.
Amid the launch, it was also announced that longtime Temple Law professor Alice Abreu would be the first person appointed as the Nelson A. Diaz Professor of Law.
During an interview with AL DÍA in 2021, Diaz said he created the new professorship title because he wanted to help showcase Latinos' contributions to civil rights efforts throughout U.S. history.
The law played a key role in those efforts.
“Having this professorship in my name, I hope will continue to be used for Latino professors,” Díaz told AL DÍA.
The Díaz Professorship Panel Discussion and Reception event will take place Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, at Temple University School of Law from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
To learn more or register for the event, click here.