Black & Latino Association


Michelle Abad
+1 212 504 6040
Ruth Merisier
+1 212 504 6236

Cadwalader’s Black & Latino Association (CBLA) strives to:

  • Promote the mentorship, leadership, advocacy and professional and personal development of Black and Latino attorneys.
  • Pursue business development opportunities through engagement with similar client affinity groups.
  • Enhance the Firm’s ability to attract, develop and retain Black and Latino law students and attorneys and raise awareness of legal and social issues affecting our communities.

Key initiatives and activities integral to CBLA’s mission, and its successes, include:

  • Professional Development – The CBLA provides its members with significant networking and professional development opportunities through events and programs. Recent events include:
    • a historical reenactment of James Meredith's legal battle to be admitted to the University of Mississippi in the 1960s.
    • a keynote address from Cornell Brooks, the president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.
    • a conversation with Charles Ogletree, Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice titled: “From Selma to Ferguson to Today: Why Civil Rights Matter.
    • a conversation with William M. LeoGrande, Professor of Government in the School of Public Affairs at American University on the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Cuba, post the restoration of ties with the United States.
  • Networking/ Client Development - The CBLA creates opportunities for Black and Latino attorneys at the firm to develop networking skills and build their professional networks through sponsorships of national bar associations and conferences.
  • Pro Bono and Community Outreach - The CBLA is dedicated to pro bono work, and in 2015, launched the CBLA Immigration Clinic to serve as an in-house support system for attorneys handling pro bono immigration and asylum matters. The network taps into the wealth of experience accrued over the many years that Cadwalader has been handling immigration matters. Since its creation, the amount of attorneys handling pro bono immigration matters has doubled. Training sessions are coordinated to provide legal resources to ensure that our attorneys provide the very best legal service.
    • Unaccompanied Minors and Other Perspectives in Immigration Law - The CBLA Immigration Clinic hosted a launch event that included presentations from immigration experts on contemporary immigration law issues such as immigration reform and the influx of unaccompanied minors into the United States. The event also featured a former Cadwalader pro bono client who provided her perspective on navigating her Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) petition.
    • United States v. Texas Discussion- A Constitutional Analysis of the Immigration Debate:  The CBLA Immigration Clinic also hosted a roundtable discussion on the immigration debate focusing on the United States v. Texas litigation regarding the constitutional legality of President Obama’s executive action expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
    • The founder and current director of the CBLA Immigration Clinic was named the  2016 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association and awarded the New York State Bar Association's President's Pro Bono Service Award in the Young Lawyer category for his work launching the clinic. 
    • Click here to watch a short video on the CBLA Immigration Clinic.
    • In response to the hurricanes that devastated the Caribbean in 2017, CBLA hosted a supply drive and collected and donated items to the Salvation Army.

For more information about Cadwalader’s Black & Latino Association, contact Michelle Abad at



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