American Bar Foundation Taps Herrera to Advise on National Project

February 1, 2017

Luz Herrera, Associate Dean for Experiential Education at Texas A&M University School of Law, is one of 15 scholars advising the American Bar Foundation’s interdisciplinary research project, “The Future of Latinos in the United States: Law, Opportunity, and Mobility.”

This project is a nationwide initiative that is devoted to producing innovative scholarship on the Latino population in the United States – a population that is projected to account for 30% of Americans by 2050.

Project co-chairs Rachel Moran and Robert Nelson tapped Herrera to participate as an advisor because Herrera’s highly regarded scholarship and professional track record related to laws impacting Latinos’ advancement and social justice.

Her role with the project will focus on building a national network of existing scholars, community leaders, and law school clinics to serve as the action arm of the ABF Future of Latinos project. Dubbed the “Network for Justice,” Herrera’s project-related work is already gaining momentum. Last fall, she co-chaired a planning summit with King Hall School of Law Professor Leticia Saucedo. The next step is to conduct a California-based Network for Justice pilot project, with the national effort soon to follow.

“The work law school clinics and scholars do independently is impressive,” Herrera said. “Just imagine what can happen when we help connect these various disaggregated resources into a cohesive network for justice. It is imperative that we seek law and policy reform that responds to the interests and needs of the growing Latino community in the United States.”

Herrera is also recognized as a leader in the legal incubator movement. In addition to inspiring incubators around the United States, she is helping Aggie Law graduates establish law practices in which they provide legal services at below market rates. A vital part of that process is connecting graduates to the attorneys already doing this work.

This March, many of those connections will be fostered directly on the Texas A&M Law campus, when Herrera brings the 4th annual Incubator Consortium to Fort Worth, March 16-18.

In serving as a member of the Supreme Court of Texas Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services, Herrera is sharing her expertise related to incubators, as well as low and pro bono legal services.

Luz Herrera working with a student at the Legal ClinicProf. Luz Herrera working with 3L Jaime Cavazos at the Texas A&M Legal Clinics

At our law school, Herrera is transforming experiential programs, including skills offerings, externships and various legal clinics. Her vision for experiential education includes an opportunity for every student to work with actual clients, in addition to externships with judges, policy makers and practitioners. Herrera encourages students to hone their skills by also taking on the role of a lawyer in simulated exercises.

“As justice advocates and legal professionals, we know the needs all too well,” she said. “It is important to expose our students to those needs and encourage them to be entrepreneurial and creative in how they prepare to address the new demands of law practice, and for those who have the passion, social justice advocacy. Working to improve the quality and commitment of future lawyers to increase legal services access is the best part of what I do.”