Dear Bar Association family,

Many of you have contacted me and the PUERTO RICAN BAR ASSOCIATION to ask how best you can help Puerto Rico.  Thank you for your offer of help and support.  We need to unite now more than ever to help Puerto Rico.  The PRBA today has launched U.S. BAR LEADERS FOR PUERTO RICO.  

We are in the process of identifying the best not for profit organizations that would help the people most devastated by the Hurricane, those in the poorer towns on the Island that are very difficult to reach.

We are assisting in organizing the volunteers lawyers here and throughout the U.S. who are willing to volunteer and obtain a training to assist the victims with their basic FEMA and insurance applications, benefits and other legal issues that may arise.  We have a tentative date set for the HURRICANE VOLUNTEER ATTORNEY TRAINING ON OCTOBER 24, 2017 AT THE CITY BAR.  More Details to follow.

The PRBA President Carmen A. Pacheco, Esq. and Betty Lugo, Esq. (PRBA Judiciary Chair and Immediate Past President) are working with the Chief Judge Janet DiFiore New York Emergency Legal Task Force to Assist Hurricane Victims working with NYC Bar President John Kiernan and Sharon Katz, Esq. Co-Chairs, as well as with the American Bar Association and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center. Today we had a conference call and spoke with Colegio’s leadership Mark Anthony Bimbela, Past President and Pilar Perez, Vice President who asked for our help in many respects but especially to HELP THE LAWYERS and the Judicial System so that the lawyers can be equipped to help the victims of the devastating hurricane and the administration of justice can do its work. We are waiting to hear back on whether a limited access Order can be obtained from the Chief Judge   of Puerto Rico to permit non Puerto Rico attorneys to come in and help the victims. We also learned that the Courts are closed, the Colegio is closed and many lawyers offices are closed and are unable to do their legal work since they are unable to get to their offices due to the flooded roads, little to no gas, no transportation, no electricity, no power, and little to no internet access.  The Three Law Schools have also been flooded and have sustained structural damage.

The PRBA is working to help El Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (PUERTO RICO BAR ASSOCIATION IN PUERTO RICO).  We have learned from the President and Board of Colegio that the Colegio bar building is in need of a diesel generator (Cost approximately $80K plus transportation costs).  With this generator the Colegio’s bar building can be operated so that Colegio staff, Pro Bono Counsel, and many lawyers can perform their legal work and provide legal services to the many victims that need their help. The lawyers will be able to work and meet with their clients at the bar building.  Many small and solo practitioners have been severely affected with no light, no electricity, no computers or access to client files.

Please spread the word.  If we can get each bar association to donate at least $1,000.00 or more each, we can help raise the funds needed by the Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico.  As Bar Leaders we need to step up and help Puerto Rico lawyers and the Puerto Rico Judicial System.

The PRBA has also coordinated with the UPR Law School and Deans of Touro, Albany, Florida State, Barry University and others to assist the law students to transfer to law schools here so they can complete their studies.  So far 33 students from UPR law school are being assisted.  We thank the Law Schools who have stepped up especially Dean Harry Ballan (Touro) and Dean Alicia Ouellette (Albany).  These students will need our support as they weather this very difficult time in their careers.


#puertoricostrong  – PUERTO RICO SE LEVANTA!

Puerto Rican Bar Association

Volunteer Lawyers Are Needed

From our friends at the Puerto Rican Bar Association:

After this disaster, the Puerto Rican Bar Association in conjunction with the New York State Chief Judge Task Force on New York Emergency Relief Legal, the New York City Bar Association and the American Bar Association will organize lawyer and legal assistant volunteers and will provide training on FEMA and disaster relief for lawyers.  INFORMATION TO FOLLOW.  

Legal assistance provides the calm after the storm. After the storm subsides and the water recedes the exhaustion of survival will be met by the harrowing realization that their journey back to normalcy is only just beginning.  The daunting work of putting their lives back together will require interaction with myriad governmental agencies and private businesses in order to interpret their rights to services and financial assistance. After this disaster, the PRBA in conjunction with the New York State Chief Judge Task Force on Hurricane Relief and American Bar Association will organize lawyer and legal assistant volunteers to help by providing:

· Assistance with securing FEMA and other benefits available to disaster survivors

· Assistance with life, medical and property insurance claims

· Help with home repair contracts and contractors

· Replacing wills and other important legal documents destroyed in the disaster

· Assisting in consumer protection matters, remedies and procedures

· Assisting with mortgage/foreclosure and landlord/tenant problems

You can help make a difference in assisting victims of the flood regain their homes, their financial stability, and their lives. Please donate to the to assist Puerto Ricans in need of these essential services.

Where to Donate to Help Puerto Rico with Disaster Relief and Recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Puerto Rican community leaders and elected officials in the diaspora are calling for a renewed effort to assist Puerto Rico with disaster relief and recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Many families have lost their homes and need assistance with basic needs.

You can help by donating to charities in Puerto Rico that are leading the effort to mitigate the unfolding humanitarian crisis. Here are some proven organizations with direct access to the victims of these hurricanes. You can visit their online donations or send a check to the enclosed address.

Caritas Puerto Rico, (Catholic Relief Services)


201 Calle San Jorge, Esquina Baldorioty de Castro

San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902
P.O. Box 8812, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00910-0812
787 300-4953

Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico,

Puerto Rican Family Institute (Cordillera, Ciales)


Carr 849 Km 1.5 Calle Juan Baiz Barrio Santo Domingo
San Juan PR 00924

Contact Phone

(787) 701-0200

Call to Action to Assist Law Students in Puerto Rico Law Schools Affected by Hurricane Maria

From our friends at the Puerto Rican Bar Association:

New York, New York – The Puerto Rican Bar Association has obtained the support of various law schools in New York and Florida and others throughout the United States, including Albany Law School, Touro Law School, University of Florida, Barry University, University of Pittsburgh Law school to accept law students from the three law schools in Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico Law School, Interamerican University Law School and Catholic University of Puerto Rico Law School.  “The law students have been severely affected by the devastation of hurricane Maria and we want to ensure that their legal education will not be interrupted during these trying times.”  Carmen A. Pacheco, Esq., PRBA President.  We commend the many law schools quickly organizing and responding to the needs of affected law students.  We are currently assisting the Dean of the UPR Law School with placing 33 law students". Betty Lugo, Esq., PRBA Judiciary Chair and Anthony Suarez, President, PRBA FL

We are asking law schools throughout the country to similarly join us in this initiative. Please contact us at [email protected] for more information.




New York, New York – The Puerto Rican Bar Association has organized a Task Force on the Judiciary to examine the lack of representation of Puerto Ricans and Latinos on the bench. The PRBA Calls For Action to ensure that there is TRUE Diversity and Inclusion in the Judiciary and the Judicial Selection Process in New York State.  

The Puerto Rican Bar Association –  Task Force on the Judiciary – will examine, inspect and evaluate the lack of Puerto Ricans and Latinos on the bench in New York State.  We are outraged that for the past two (2) years there have not been any candidates of Puerto Rican and/or Latino background that have come out of the Judicial Committees from the Manhattan, Kings, Queens and Staten Island.  Puerto Ricans and Latinos are not fairly represented in the New York Judiciary despite the large population of Puerto Rican and Latino communities in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The PRBA will hold public hearings to address the underrepresentation of Puerto Ricans and Hispanics on the bench.  Where necessary the PRBA will have monitors to review the process and request that the appropriate government agencies including the United States Department of Justice and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission review the disparity in the Judicial Selection process to determine if violations of Constitutional rights have resulted. The PRBA has fought difficult battles to ensure that there is diversity on the bench yet it appears that the need for “Diversity and Inclusion” is not being honored.  The process needs to be examined and evaluated due to the disparate impact that has resulted.

The Puerto Rican Bar Association also joins with all of the organizations who expressed their profound outrage to the failure of the New York County Democratic Committee Independent Judicial Screening Panel to approve Judge Doris Ling-Cohan for the New York Supreme Court.  Judge Ling-Cohan, the first Asian American Female Judge in New York and a longtime PRBA member.  The Puerto Rican Bar Association was founded in 1957 and is one of the oldest minority bar associations in New York. We will continue to endeavor to ensure that Puerto Ricans, and all Latinos, are adequately represented in the legal profession so that the Puerto Rican and Latino Communities will continue to have a voice regarding New York State laws and policies.

Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program (JMB JIP) Applications Now Being Accepted

The Joint Minority Bar Judicial Internship Program (JMB JIP) is now accepting applications until January 18, 2014.

The Association of  Judges of Hispanic Heritage (“AJHH”), the Asian American Bar Association of New York (“AABANY”), the Asian American Law Fund of New York (“AALFNY”), the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (“MBBA”), the New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation, the Puerto Rican Bar Association (“PRBA”), and the South Asian Bar Association of New York (“SABANY”) have partnered again for the JMB JIP to offer law students the opportunity to continue their legal education as summer judicial interns in New York and New Jersey metropolitan area courthouses. Judicial internships are exceptional learning opportunities that offer tremendous insight into the process of judicial decision-making.  They offer an opportunity to strengthen analytic and legal writing skills.

The brochure/application is attached here and is also available at

Please direct any questions to the program’s co-directors at [email protected].

Dear Members and Supporters:

The Puerto Rican Bar Association (PRBA) Scholarship Fund, Inc. is pleased to announce the availability of its applications for the 2012-2013 PRBA Scholarship Awards Program for Latino law students. All Latino law students residing permanently or attending law school in New York State are eligible to apply for the Scholarship Awards, which range between $2,000 to $2,500, subject to availability and certain restrictions.

All applicants will be reviewed based on academics, financial need and community involvement. The scholarship awards will be presented during the 55th PRBA’s Annual Scholarship Gala to be held on May 10, 2012, at the New York Hilton, and photos of the recipients and their biographies will be published in our Scholarship Gala Journal. All recipients will be notified prior to the gala by the PRBA Scholarship Committee. For more information visit our website and/or to apply click here

The deadline to submit your applications is April 13, 2012. Please review and follow all directions as only completed applications will be considered.

The PRBA, founded in New York in 1957, is one of the oldest Latino bar associations in the United States. Today, the PRBA continues its tradition of breaking down barriers to the legal profession with active members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. Please spread the word of this worthwhile Scholarship program.

Thank you,

Javier E. Vargas, Esq.
PRBA Board Member & Scholarship Selection Committee Chair