Yara Lorenzo - March 2013 Alumnus of the Month
Hometown: Miami, FL
Current Job: Associate at Hogan Lovells US LLP, in Miami, Florida
CHCI Program: CHCI Internship, 2003
CHCI Program Placement: Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s office
What have you been doing since you finished the CHCI program(s)?
Since finishing the program, I graduated from Brown University with a degree in political science/ethnic studies. I went immediately to work for Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen on Capitol Hill. After that, I attended law school and graduated in 2009. I was lucky to clerk for two senior judges in South Florida. I completed a two-year district clerkship with the Honorable James L. King and a one year Circuit Clerkship with the Honorable Peter T. Fay. Last September, I began as an associate at Hogan Lovells, an international law firm with offices in over 22 countries. I focus on litigation and arbitration of international disputes and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Investigations.
What impact did your CHCI experience have on your career and development as a leader?
CHCI did two key things for me. First, it opened my eyes to how truly important Hispanics are to the future of this country. There is immense potential and opportunity for us to get involved and make a difference and CHCI gave me the tools to understand how to do that. Second, I learned that it is possible to work through our differences as Hispanics, to focus on the issues we need to address. As a class we engaged in thought provoking discussion. It gave me great hope for the future.
How have you stayed engaged in community service?
Throughout the years I have been active in various organizations. I serve as a Guardian Ad Litem for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit, in Florida, representing the best interest of my clients, who are children in the foster care system. I serve as a marathon-training coach for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, training runners who agree to raise money for cancer research to run marathons. I helped start City Year Miami’s Young Professional Ambassador’s program, taking it from 18 Ambassadors in its first year to 80 during its second year. Most recently, I was elected to the Board of Directors of the Cuban American Bar Association, which is the largest minority bar associate in the state of Florida. In that capacity, I oversee CABA’s 501(c)(3), which is a Pro Bono Project. Through our Pro Bono Project, in 2012 we closed out over 500 cases, providing legal services to those who fall 125% below the poverty line. In other words, the people who need it the most. This is by far the most rewarding thing I do, because every single day I know we are helping people who could otherwise not afford legal services. In an effort to make-up for slashes in government funding across the board to legal aid programs, last year I co-founded a 5K Run, “Lawyers on the Run,” in order to raise money and awareness of the role we play in the community. It was a great success and we’re already planning our second annual run.
What advice would you give current and future CHCI participants?
First, there is no substitute for hard work. I work most weekends and gladly so. It’s the only way to cease all the opportunities that God has blessed me with. Second, pay it forward. Each time I sit down with a mentor or anyone offering me advice, I am beyond grateful for their time. In return, I make sure to sit down with someone who can benefit from my experiences. It’s not easy to fit it all in, but mentoring formally and informally is not something I sacrifice. Finally, make the most of your time in D.C. Meet and connect with as many people as possible. You can sleep when the summer comes to an end!
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
In 5-10 years, I would like to be a partner at my firm. In my view, to make partner means you’re regarded as an exceptional attorney and someone who represents the ideals and values of the organization. As a woman of color, I hope to serve as an example for other young women who are making their way up the ranks. Eventually, I hope my career brings me back to where I started: public service. Until then, I will continue to be civically engaged, while developing my practice. As one of my mentors from Brown University, Salvador Mena would say, “I am living the dream.”