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Judge Nelson Diaz was the first Latino lawyer in Philadelphia and the first Latino judge in the state of Pennsylvania. Photo: AL DÍA Archives.
Judge Nelson Diaz was the first Latino lawyer in Philadelphia and the first Latino judge in the state of Pennsylvania. Photo: AL DÍA Archives.

Coming in 2021: The “Nelson Diaz” Scholarship for aspiring Latino lawyers

The AL DÍA Foundation just announced the scholarship made possible by contributions from the Philadelphia Foundation and two area Law firms.

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In spite of a year that has brought a pandemic and economic ruin, AL DÍA is ecstatic to be able to continue being a pillar of support for Latinos in Philadelphia and beyond.

On the cusp of celebrating its virtual 2020 AL DÍA Top Lawyers Forum on Oct. 22, there are already plans to make its 2021 edition the most impactful in the short history of the event.

To do so, AL DÍA Foundation, the non-profit organization associated with AL DÍA News Media, announced the creation of the “Nelson Diaz” Scholarship, intended to help a young Latino entering Law School.

The announcement was first made on LinkedIn by AL DÍA Founder and CEO, Hernán Guaracao, on Oct. 18, 2020.

Starting next year, the AL DÍA Foundation will award one scholarship to an aspiring Latino or Latina still in law school or about to enter as a way to support their studies towards becoming the next Latinx champion of justice.

The recipient will be awarded alongside the next class of leaders to be recognized in 2021 at the next year's Top Lawyers Forum and Reception, and the recipient of the “Gus Garcia” Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The scholarship is in honor of Judge Nelson Diaz, who paved the way for all Latinos in Law in the city of Philadelphia and state of Pennsylvania. 

He was the first Latino lawyer in Philadelphia when he passed the Pennsylvania Bar Exam in 1972, and later, became the state’s first judge and served for 12 years, before going on to serve in the Clinton Administration as General Counsel of HUD, and later as Philadelphia first Latino City Solicitor, before going to serve as the first Latino Board member of Exelon Corporation.

Those achievements are just part of the reason Diaz is the namesake of the scholarship and the recipient of the 2020 “Gus Garcia” Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award was made possible by grants from the Philadelphia Foundation, the Exelon Foundation, and donations from Dilworth Paxson and Fox Rothschild, two of the most prestigious Law Firms in Philadelphia.

In the long-term, the AL DÍA Foundation hopes to grow the fund to support more aspiring Latino Law students in future Top Lawyer Forums as the event and Latino representation in Law continues to grow.

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