Pedro J. Torres-Díaz is a principal at Jackson Lewis, P.C., a law firm that concentrates on employment discrimination, wage and hour counseling and litigation both in Florida and Puerto Rico. Torres-Díaz graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor's degree in business administration and then obtained a Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law. After his graduation from law school, he clerked for the Hon. Aida M. Delgado-Colón, United States Magistrate-Judge (now Chief United States District Judge), at the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico.
You've been a lawyer for 20 years now, how has the legal profession changed in that time?
The state of the economy and changes in technology have made the practice of law different from 20 years ago. One mission that we have at the Hispanic National Bar Association is to provide members with tools for adapting to practice of law in modern times by learning alternative technologies and skills. Also, we do training for our membership so that they can successfully sit on boards of directors of corporations.
We found that only 1 to 2 percent of all Fortune 500 boards have Latino directors and we are actively providing training to members so they have the necessary skills to serve on those boards across the nation.
My theme for my term as president of the HNBA is 'Strengthening the Future of Law,' but that's not just about professional development.
One thing that hasn't changed is that we continue to be severely underrepresented in the legal profession. Only about 4 percent of lawyers are Latino and in the case of Latinas, they represent only 1.2 to 1.3 percent of the legal profession. Despite our efforts a lot remains to be done.
The make-up of the lawyer population should clearly reflect America's, demographics but is there something more to it?