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The 4-year-old Hispanic Bar Association of the Inland Empire held a Winter Dinner Dec. 6 to install their new officers and honor their work in 2023. 

The HBAIE was started in 2019 as the county’s only social Hispanic bar association. 

Sixty-five people attended the dinner at Avila’s Historic 1929.

“Your presence here is a testament, not only to the need and strength of an organization that supports and uplifts the Hispanic legal community, but the Hispanic community at large,” incoming president Michael Ortiz said. 

Michael Ortiz becomes president of HBAIE

In the past year, said outgoing President Daniella Hernandez, the HBAIE has:

“It really is not only heartwarming, but it fills me with pride in knowing we started something that’s growing, and that’s bringing everybody together. Little bit at a time, we’re moving forward, we’re moving the ball forward,” said Mario Alfaro.

Riverside Superior Judge Marie Wood, the second Hispanic judge in Riverside County, encouraged attorneys to apply for judgeships.

“You should not limit yourself because you don’t think you have enough case experience, or because you don’t have enough trial experience, or because you’re a certain race or ethnicity,” Wood said.

Kaley Rivanis, a student at Loyola Law School, thanked the bar association for their scholarship and mentorship.

“Thank you so much to this organization, HBAIE, it really means a lot to me. Law school is, hands down, the hardest thing I have done at this point in life. and so I don’t feel like I can do it alone, and I don’t just mean scholarship help, I mean any professional who’s been willing to talk to me” said Rivanis.

Recipient Phoenicia Schuhmeier, who recently passed the Bar examination and is working at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, also spoke.

“I’m very honored to be able to receive this scholarship, and I’m honored that there is such a scholarship that exists for graduates and students who are studying for the bar, which is one of the most stressful times of our lives,” Schuhmeier said.

The Bar Association awarded Michael Gouveia for his work in the bar association’s newsletter.

“He has helped us to form a stronger identity to realize who our members are, to bring us together,” said David Rivera.

Michael Gouveia is recognized with a plaque.

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