WASHINGTON DC — The group was organized just five years ago, with 20 Filipino American lawyers. This year, the National Filipino American Lawyers Association boasts of more than 1,000 members with twelve affiliates across the U.S.
“We want to give the Filipino American community the opportunity to have advocates on their behalf and that’s what we’re building here,” said David Mesa, NFALA president.
“What we’re really trying to do is to establish webinars, for example, or courses and classes, hotlines for aid, for people to be able to reach out and understand that it is actually okay to seek help, to get information and that you have a community of legal professionals who is here to support you,” said Gage Javier, vice president.
NFALA held its third annual installation dinner at the Ronald Reagan building. New York federal judge Lorna Schofield was the keynote speaker.
“I think it’s really important to be part of a community and to support each other in that community, and I think that’s what the organization does,” said Schofield.
Francis Yu says creating a network and support for those who are thinking of pursuing a career in legal profession, is one of NFALA’s goals.
“Giving them opportunities to meet other people who have already succeeded, and have reached those higher level in the profession,” says NFALA president Francis Yu.
Meanwhile, Schofield tells Balitang America she appreciates being part of gatherings like this.
“I wasn’t brought up with a lot of Filipino culture in my background, and so in some ways, it’s been a real blessing and just a gift later in my life to come to this.”
NFALA hopes to add three more affiliates this coming year as they continue to work with local organizations to offer their legal services to the community.