Board of Directors
The Hispanic National Bar Foundation is unique because it has a working Board of Directors made up of lawyers from different fields, with different areas of expertise, based all around the country. The board members hold multi-year terms and commit time and effort to helping the organization increase its programs and grow its national recognition. In addition, the HNBF has six committees to advise the Executive Director and staff in their respective areas.
Ms. Prego is a Senior Counsel in Chevron's Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company in Houston, TX. Her responsibilities include litigation, environmental, corporate, and compliance matters. Before joining Chevron, Ms. Prego was an attorney with Hughes Hubbard and Reed LLP.
Ms. Prego earned her J.D. in 1992 at the University of Michigan Law School where she was an editor of the Michigan Journal of Law Reform. She is a 1988 graduate of Yale University where she earned a B.A. in History.
Ms. Prego is experienced in complex civil and criminal litigation as well as international litigation and arbitration. She is an experienced trial lawyer having handled numerous trials in federal and state courts. Ms. Prego is admitted to practice law in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, and Texas. She is fluent in Spanish, and has intermediate skills in French, Italian, and Portuguese.
Mayda Prego is the President of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation. From 2006-2008, she served as the HNBF's Treasurer. Ms. Prego has also served in leadership positions with the Hispanic National Bar Association including as the 2007-2008 National Vice-President of Committees.
Ms. Prego is a 2006 Fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Institute based in Washington, DC. She has completed executive leadership training at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, and the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, NC.
Ms. Prego is a 2005 graduate of Leadership Miami sponsored by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. She is the Vice-President of the Board of Foster Care Review, a non-profit based in Miami, FL dedicated to securing prompt, positive, and permanent outcomes for children in foster care through case review and advocacy. She is also a member of the Dean's Advisory Council of the Florida International University College of Law.
Paul Zavala is a member of the General Motors Legal Staff headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. He practices environmental and energy law. Paul represents General Motors before state and federal environmental agencies and in major toxic tort class action lawsuits. Prior to his current assignment, Paul was Group Counsel to GM's Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac Divisions. As Group Counsel, he was responsible for all environmental legal matters impacting those divisions. Paul was also the first environmental counsel to GM’s Saturn Corporation and assisted in securing all environmental permitting for the new Saturn Complex in Springhill, Tennessee. In 1992, Paul moved to El Paso, Texas to become the executive-in-charge of GM's El Paso Office. During that time, he worked primarily on matters related to the North American Free Trade Agreement. His work resulted in General Motors and the Government of Mexico executing the first national environmental audit program in Mexico. After his assignment in El Paso, Paul became a member of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group and was litigation counsel to General Motors Worldwide Purchasing representing General Motors in supplier and construction disputes.
Paul is very active in a number of civic and business associations and serves on various corporate advisory boards. He is a volunteer teacher in the Detroit Public School System's Street Law Program and is a founding member of the Juan Luis Tienda Scholarship at the University of Michigan Law School. He serves on the advisory board of New Futuro whose mission is to increase the number of Hispanic college graduates. In 2008, Paul was awarded the prestigious “Lucero Award” from Latino Justice/PRLDEF. This award is granted to a “guiding star” in the legal community who exemplifies PRLDEF’s mission to help Latinos achieve their dreams. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
He currently serves as Vice President of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation.
Partner, DLA Piper
Armando Castro is a partner in DLA Piper's Technology Group. With a diverse practice; Mr. Castro's clients range from formation stage to mature public companies. He also represents the boards of directors, investors and investment banks that invest and work with these companies. His industry background includes renewable energy technologies, industrial chemicals, synthetic biology, energy conservation technologies, enterprise and telecom networking technologies, wireless technologies, electronics, software, cyber security, clean tech and semiconductors.
He has represented clients in a variety of both domestic and international matters including: public and private offerings, pre-public convertible security financings, Rule 144A offerings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances, licensing, technology transactions and corporate governance matters. Mr. Castro is a Certified Public Accountant.
Brigida Benitez is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where she is a member of the International Department. Her practice focuses on global dispute resolution, internal investigations, and compliance matters. Ms. Benitez advises clients on U.S. and international anti-corruption laws and regulations, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and regulations of Multilateral Development Banks. She also represents clients in connection with corporate and related conduct in complex U.S. and international legal settings.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Benitez served as Chief of the Office of Institutional Integrity of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), where she headed the office responsible for investigating all potential fraud and corruption in Bank-financed activities, implementing programs designed to detect and prevent fraud, and engaging in compliance activities and outreach on integrity-related issues. Ms. Benitez was a member of the senior management team, reporting directly to the IDB president and to the Audit Committee of the Board of Executive Directors, and overseeing a staff of attorneys, auditors, and other professionals. During her tenure with the IDB, she implemented procedures for a number of compliance issues, including integrity due diligence, offshore financial centers and OFAC. She worked closely with leading international financial institutions to harmonize the IDB's investigative processes and sanctions procedures. Ms. Benitez collaborated with individuals and organizations throughout Latin America, including private sector companies, law enforcement and oversite authorities, auditing and law firms, and government agencies. She was involved in work with the IDB's 26 country offices in Latin America and Caribbean.
Preceding her service at the IDB, Ms. Benitez was a partner at WilmerHale, LLP, where she represented clients in complex commercial disputes and business controversies, including litigation and arbitration, as well as internal corporate investigations. She led internal investigations involving a wide range of issues, including fraud, embezzlement, accounting irregularities, and employee misconduct, on behalf of major corporations in the United States, Latin America, and Europe. She represented clients before federal and state trial courts and courrts of appeal, including the United States Supreme Court, as well as in domestic and international arbitration proceedings.
Ms. Benitez is a national recognized litigator who was a key member of the team representing the University of Michigan, in which she won a landmark victory for diversity in higher education before the United States Supreme Court.
Ms. Benitez was recognized as a DC Super Lawyer for Civil Litigation Defense and as one of Washington, DC's "Top 40 Lawyers Under 40" by Washingtonian Magazine. She was named among the "100 Most Influential U.S. Hispanics" and as Woman of the Year by Hispanic Business Magazine. Ms. Benitez was also recognized as Latina Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association and with the Excellence in the Legal Profession Award by MALDEF.
Ms. Benitez is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where she teaches a course on international litigation and federal practice. She has served in a number of leadership positions in professional associations and nonprofit organizations, including as President of the Hispanic Bar Association of DC. She currently serves on the DC Bar Board of Governors, and as a Director of the Hispanic National Bar Foundation, and LatinoJustice PRLDEF. Ms. Beneitez was selected as an Ambassador for the American Bar Association Business Law Section and serves as Membership Director of the Section's International Business Law Committee. She is a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
Partner, Mckenna Long & Aldridge
Tami Azorsky is Chairperson of the Litigation Department and a recognized expert in product liability, occupational and environmental exposure, and environmental litigation. Tami represents regulated businesses and government contractors in trials and appeals of class actions, mass torts, and environmental matters. Among her recent significant matters, Tami led the team that successfully defeated class certification in a case filed by current and former workers alleging silica exposure during the drilling of tunnels at Yucca Mountain, the nation’s then-proposed repository for spent nuclear fuel. She was lead trial counsel for a former Department of Energy contractor in one of the first and most complex cases filed by a state seeking damages for harm to natural resources under state and federal law. New Mexico v. General Electric Co., et al., 467 F.3d 1223 (10th Cir. 2006). She has brought successful contribution claims against the government for recovery of environmental remediation costs for several major corporations. Tami’s environmental practice includes existing and emerging issues. She frequently defends companies facing personal injury, property damage and natural resource damage claims arising out of distribution of products or contamination of air or ground and surface water by a wide variety of industry chemicals, including PCBs, TCE, mercury, arsenic, chromium, perchlorate, and radioactive materials. In addition to litigating, Tami counsels government contractors attempting to comply with environmental regulations. More than 25 years of experience has provided Tami with the skills to advise corporate executives on navigating often contradictory government contract and environmental requirements. Tami also counsels clients on best practices to satisfy government customers or regulators in a way that avoids the situations that may lead to litigation.
Tami also represents her regulated clients in cases involving constitutional, statutory and regulatory issues in federal courts and before administrative agencies. She is a skilled general civil litigator as well, representing clients in disputes over stock and asset purchase agreements, real estate contracts, misappropriation of trade secrets, and employee relations.
In addition to leading the Litigation Department, Tami serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and is Chairperson of the firm’s Diversity Committee. She is a mentor for attorneys at the firm and for law students through the Georgetown University Women of Color Collective.
Barbara P. Alonso is a partner at Squire Sanders and focuses her practice on international and domestic corporate matters, including corporate and project finance, debt and equity capital markets, and bank and borker-dealer regulatory issues. Barbara has wide-ranging experience advising clients on cross-border transactions involving transportation, telecommunications, hospitality, and other sectors, supervisory and compliance counseling to financial institutions and financial services firms on banking regulatory issues and general corporate and commercial matters.
Barbara acts for lenders in a wide variety of domestic and cross-border lending transactions. Many of these representations have involved sovereign and corporate borrowers throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Barbara often advises clients in the energy sector, and has represented clients in diverse forms of multinational corporate transactions involving renewable and conventional power producing technologies. Her energy practice has historically been focused on Latin America, with a particular emphasis on Mexico. She has regularly negotiated project agreements on behalf of her clients including power purchase agreements; operation and maintenance agreements; construction and development contracts; and fuel supply contracts.
During her tenure as assistant general counsel for Chase Manhattan Bank in New York, Barbara supported Chase's Latin America capital markets business in connection with bond issuances by sovereign and corporate issues in Latin America. Barbara also served as in-house counsel for Nortel Networks (Caribbean and Latin America region), where she handled telecommunications transactions.
Prior to attending law school, Barbara was a program officer (intern), at The Ford Foundation in New York, where she worked closely with the program officers responsible for designing and implementing the Foundation's initiatives to support community organizations that address the needs/impacts of the Hispanic populations, particularly in metropolitan areas with significant Hispanic populations.
Richard C. Lorenzo's practice focuses on international, cross-border, and commercial litigation and arbitration. Richard has broad experience in international litigation and arbitration disputes representing foreign and domestic clients in the United States, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Central America, and the Caribbean. Richard has also handled numerous, complex commercial international arbitration matters in both English and Spanish before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the American Arbitration Association, the International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR), and the Society of Maritime Arbitrators of New York. Richard's clients include domestic and foreign multinational corporations that conduct business in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Richard has lectured and published extensively in his practice area. He is an adjunct professor of International Arbitration and Litigation at St. Thomas University School of Law and Stetson University College of Law. He also comments on international legal matters in the national and international media and has made numerous televised appearances on CNN En Espanol.
Richard has resided in Brazil, Chile, and the Dominican Republic.
Representation of Venezuelan petrochemical joint venture corporation in ICC arbitration proceedings in Miami under Venezuelan law over disputes concerning the construction of a $750 million plant in Venezuela.
Representation of major U.S. power company in ICC arbitration proceedings in New York over disputes with joint venture partner concerning Dominican Republic joint venture corporation.
Representation of Dominican power corporation in Inter-American Commercial Arbitration Commission (IACAC) arbitration proceedings in Miami over disputes concerning construction of major dock facilities in the Dominican Republic.
Representation of El Salvadoran telecommunications corporation in Spanish language ICDR arbitration proceedings in San Salvador under El Salvadoran law over disputes concerning inter-connect agreements.
Representation of major U.S. engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor in Spanish language ICC arbitration proceedings in Buenos Aires over disputes concerning construction of a power generation facility in Argentina.
"Does 'May' Mean 'Shall' in Arbitration?" International Law Quarterly, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, The Florida Bar (01.01.2008)
Marlon Paz is a Partner in the Washington, D.C. office of
Locke Lord LLP where he concentrates his practice on securities matters, business litigation, white collar criminal defense and internal investigations. He has extensive experience with a wide range of complex securities issues, in the regulatory and litigation context, internal investigations and compliance, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices act, and global anti-corruption matters. Marlon also serves as Adjunct Professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center.
Marlon has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential U.S. Hispanics” by Hispanic Business Magazine. He is the Past President of the Hispanic Bar Association of DC and a former National Vice President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and an Ambassador of the American Bar Association Business Law Section.
Marlon, who grew up in Honduras, is a Certified Fraud Examiner, and holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Law from Georgetown University Law Center, a Master of Arts from Wesleyan University and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Trinity College.
Jorge A. Mestre—AV rated by Martindale Hubbell—engages exclusively in a commercial litigation practice, including international arbitration and litigation. Reflecting the excellent reputation he enjoys in the community, Florida state court judges have appointed Mr. Mestre as a Receiver and as an Assignee for the Beneficiary of Creditors.
A seasoned practitioner, Mr. Mestre has litigated cases through trial in both federal district court and Florida state court and has handled appeals before numerous state and federal courts. His background as a legal intern for both a United States District Court Judge and a Florida Supreme Court Justice has given him an inside view into the decision-making processes of the federal and state courts.
What’s more, Mr. Mestre has litigated domestic and international arbitration matters in both English and Spanish, including an arbitration victory in Spanish. He has served as a party-appointed arbitrator in a case administered by the International Chamber of Commerce and in an ad hoc international arbitration—experiences that give him a valuable understanding of how arbitration tribunals work. That understanding helps not only in his work as an arbitrator but also as an advocate.
Knowing that the rules of civil procedure are fundamental to his litigation practice, Mr. Mestre serves both on the Florida Bar’s Civil Procedure Rules Committee and on its Federal Rules Standing Committee. As part of his committee work, Mr. Mestre authored the Jurisdiction Chapter in The Florida Bar’s Civil Practice Before Trial Manual. Mr. Mestre has also served as Vice-President of the Cuban American Bar Association and as a member of the board of directors of the Dade County Bar Association, two of the largest voluntary bar associations in Florida.