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Judge Nelson Diaz wishes he could've done more despite the pioneering career he led. Photo: AL DÍA News.
Judge Nelson Diaz wishes he could've done more despite the pioneering career he led. Photo: AL DÍA News.

Judge Nelson Diaz: A life of work to set up the new generation of Latino lawyers

The 2020 winner of the Gus Garcia Lifetime Achievement Award at AL DÍA’s Top Lawyers Forum said he wished he could’ve done more in spite of moving mountains.

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“Thank you so much for honoring this old man, who will still be around if you need me.”

Throughout a lifetime of work fighting for Latino racial and social justice, pushing Latino representation at the highest levels of corporate America, and being a mentor for thousands of young Latino lawyers following in his stead, Judge Nelson Diaz let everyone tuning in virtually to AL DÍA’s 2020 Top Lawyers Forum know, that he’s still there for them.

That’s just what pioneers like him do.

But despite his journey of firsts as a Latino in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania law circles, Diaz also said he wished he could’ve done more.

In addition to once having aspirations for a spot on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Diaz also hoped to have been able to do more for the School District of Philadelphia throughout his career.

“The school system has been something that I have tried to improve as much as I can, and I look forward to someone becoming a real leader there,” he said before mentioning the new Chief of Schools at the School District of Philadelphia, Dr. Evelyn Nuñez.

He also wished he got more Latinos on corporate boards before offering a message of hope to the current and future generations of Latino lawyers being honored at the 2020 forum.

“I hope that you will continue to work hard and continue some of my dreams and efforts,” said Diaz.

While those dreams and efforts may be incomplete in his eyes, Diaz’s work is the reason events like AL DÍA’s Top Lawyers Forum can be celebrated on an annual basis.

It’s why Diaz is the namesake for a scholarship that will be given to one aspiring Latino law student at next year’s forum, and why he was honored with the Gus Garcia Lifetime Achievement Award.

He opened the door.

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