Spotlight: Latin American Law Organization

Ami Egerstrom ‘20
Guest Columnist

LALO, the Latin American Law Organization, is an all-inclusive student group devoted to increasing awareness of legal issues affecting Latinas/os around the nation. LALO is a place of community for Latinas/os and allies in the Law School and is the conduit for Latina/o law student voices here at the law school. Like the National Latino Law Student Association (NLLSA), LALO is fueled by a coalition-building approach to addressing the issues and needs of our Law School and the larger community. LALO participates in NLLSA’s regional and national conferences. One of our current members, Daniel Natal, is Mid-Atlantic Regional Director for NLLSA. LALO is connected to the UVA Latina/o community through the LatinX Graduate Student Alliance at University of Virginia (LGSA at UVA). LALO and LGSA at UVA cooperate to plan events that support the cultural, social, political, and academic interests and development of the University’s Latina/o community.  

I personally decided to join LALO after visiting the Law School. I met with Robbie Pomeroy, our past president, and Diana Swanson, our past secretary, and I expressed my concerns about going to a law school with a small Latino population. Robbie and Diana assured me that although the Latino community at UVA is small, LALO makes it strong. They were right. Through LALO, I have met––and continue to meet––some of the most accomplished and inspiring Latinx law students, and I am proud to call them my friends.  

This year, I am very excited to serve as the Vice President of LALO. Serving with me this year are:  Ledah Geller, President; Luis Fortuño, Secretary; and Rob Paradela, Treasurer; Ana Tobar, 1L Representative; Alani Fraga, 1L Representative; and Maria Lueveno, 1L Representative.  

As we transition into a new school year, LALO continues to strive to be the center for student resources, dialogue, and action for UVA Law’s Latina/o community. Our first priority this year is to increase 1L participation and ensure that these students feel the same sense of community and support I felt through LALO during my 1L year. We are fortunate that this community extends beyond the law school and that our partnerships with the LatinX Graduate Student Alliance are becoming stronger. This year, we will be partnering with the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) for AVID Career Day which will expose 7th graders to fields from various professional and graduate programs. We are hoping to give these middle schoolers a better understanding of the legal field with the ultimate goal of inspiring them to become future Latina/o lawyers.   

Our Executive Board will be hosting a variety of academic and social programming designed to address the needs of our community. This year we are very much focused on issues surrounding immigration and we are proud to be cosponsoring a panel related to the Attorney General's decision in Matter A-B in late October. We will also be cosponsoring an immigration panel for the Shaping Justice Conference next semester.