Lewis Brisbois Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month
(September 15, 2021) - Lewis Brisbois is pleased to be celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. Check out the opening message below from our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee and stay tuned for a series of spotlight posts from the Hispanic American members of our Lewis Brisbois family who will share their unique perspectives and experiences. Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Lewis Brisbois here.
The first contribution in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series comes from San Diego Associate Michelle Perry, who describes how her Mexican immigrant parents “exemplified perseverance” as they worked to provide her with the American Dream. She also expresses gratitude for the Hispanic families and youth leaders who protested segregation and unequal conditions in California’s school systems.
Michelle is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Workers' Compensation Practice and a graduate of California Western School of Law.
Learn more about Michelle’s professional experience here.
Our next National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight post comes from St. Louis Associate Alejandro Frank, who explains why he keeps his full name associated with his professional identity and stresses the importance of keeping one's heritage visible to form a more inclusive environment for future generations of law school graduates.
Alejandro is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Asbestos Litigation, Products Liability, and Toxic Tort & Environmental Litigation Practices. His practice focuses primarily on asbestos litigation brought in Missouri and Illinois, and he regularly helps his clients achieve favorable results through persistent advocacy of their rights and defenses.
Learn more about Alejandro's professional experience here.
The next contribution in our National Hispanic Heritage Month series comes from Salt Lake City Associate Ryan Alba, who describes his grandparents’ challenging lives as migrant farmers and their desire for their children to gain an education. Ryan explains that his grandparents’ core values shaped him and that he recognizes his responsibility to continue their legacy through his career.
Ryan is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ General Liability Practice and has always had an interest in trial and appellate practice. Prior to joining the firm, he won Top Oralist in the Traynor Moot Court Competition while attending Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah.
Learn more about Ryan’s professional background here.
The next contribution in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series comes from Partner Christopher Bakes who discusses his Spanish ancestors, whose history in California dates back to the 1800s. This month, Chris celebrates their memories and their legacy.
Chris practices in Lewis Brisbois’ Los Angeles, New York, Sacramento, and San Francisco offices. A member of the firm’s Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practice, he is recognized nationally for the breadth and depth of his practice, the high-profile matters he handles, and the results he has obtained for clients across various industries.
Learn more about Chris’ professional background here.
Next up in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series is Los Angeles Associate Salvadore Torrez, who shares why honoring his parents is the most important aspect of this month-long celebration. He describes that the hard work and sacrifices of his parents, along with the work ethic that they instilled in him, allowed him to become the first college graduate and attorney in his family.
Salvadore is a member of the firm's General Liability Practice, with a focus on insurance defense, and a graduate of UC Davis Law School.
Learn more about his professional background here.
The next contribution to our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series comes from Miami Partner Alexander Fumagali, who describes how his grandfather - a successful Cuban lawyer - gave up his legal career to provide a better life for his family in America. Alexander expresses his gratitude to his grandfather and the many other brave Cubans who made similar sacrifices for their families.
Alexander is a member of the firm's General Liability, Entertainment, Media & Sports, Transportation, and Products Liability Practices. He focuses on general civil litigation, premises liability, products liability, and negligent security actions.
Learn more about Alexander's professional experience here.
As we continue with our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series, we hear from San Francisco Associate William Geoffrey Anderson, who reflects on the benefits of being a bilingual lawyer and how time spent with his family in Veracruz, Mexico as a child helped him connect to his culture and develop important life skills.
Geoff is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Labor & Employment Practice and focuses primarily on wage and hour class-action and representative-action litigation.
Learn more about Geoff's professional experience here.
Next up in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series is Houston Associate Paola Garcia-Jurado, who expresses her admiration for the “cultural exchange” that occurs in America and emphasizes the importance of understanding others’ perspectives.
Paola is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Litigation Practices, and has extensive experience in construction law and commercial litigation matters, representing both Spanish and English-speaking clients.
Learn more about Paola’s professional background here.
As we reach the midway point of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we hear from Fort Lauderdale Partner Marcela Gyires, who honors the rich diversity found in Hispanic heritage throughout the world and recognizes the sacrifices of her parents and grandparents.
Marcela is a member of Lewis Brisbois' Immigration Practice is board certified by the Florida Bar in immigration and nationality law. She is also a longtime member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
Learn more about Marcela's professional experience here.
Up next in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series is New York Associate Angie Khawly who recalls how, growing up, she wasn't exposed to the positive side of her Latinx heritage. She now understands the importance of sharing this knowledge with the next generation, giving them a platform and the confidence to make a difference.
Angie is a member of the firm's General Liability Practice and a graduate of Florida Coastal School of Law, where she was a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association.
Learn more about Angie's professional background here.
Next up in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series is Portland Associate Alejandra Torres, who describes the bravery of her own parents and others who left their home countries to provide better lives for their children. A self-described “proud Mexican immigrant with courageous parents,” Alejandra believes that this month is a time to thank all brave parents for their sacrifices.
Alejandra is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment Practice and regularly handles business litigation, complex commercial litigation, construction defect matters, and employment disputes. During 2020, she helped secure a defense verdict in one of the first in-person jury trials to take place after the initial COVID-19-related shutdowns.
Learn more about Alejandra’s professional experience here.
The final contribution in our National Hispanic Heritage Month spotlight series comes from Los Angeles Partner Mercedes Cruz, who describes her journey from beginning a career as a hairstylist to attending law school and facing discrimination when first entering the legal profession. She also expresses gratitude to Lewis Brisbois for connecting her with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), where she currently serves as national employment counsel.
Mercedes is a member of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment Practice, specializing in defending and advising private and public entities in all aspects of employment law, with a special emphasis on dispute resolution and prevention. She recently received the 2021 NALEO President’s Award for her more than two decades of public service to the organization.
Learn more about Mercedes’ professional experience here.