Attorney at Law Magazine recently had the opportunity to speak with Liza Milgrim-Reyes of Sullivan Papain Block Mcgrath Coffinas & Cannavo who was recently sworn in as president of the Long Island Hispanic Bar Association (LIHBA).
Raised in Brooklyn, New York attending public school, Milgrim-Reyes is the first Hispanic partner of the firm, and takes pride in being able to communicate and guide her Spanish-speaking clients through the legal process. The child of an immigrant, Milgrim-Reyes understands the struggles of the immigrant community and applies her own experiences advocating for her clients.
AALM: As the new president of the Long Island Bar Association what are your goals for the coming year?
LMR: It is my hope that our members will be inspired to become involved at every level of our organization. We have expanded our outreach and assistance to our law students, lawyers and community. I want to provide more programs and opportunities to our members and empower our community.
AALM: How has COVID-19 impacted the legal profession and what is the LIHBA doing in response?
LMR: With the restrictions in place with COVID, getting access to accurate legal information is an issue so the LIHBA created a Legal Information Program. We also had our members record themselves answering FAQs (in both Spanish and English) on a variety of topics that impact our community and then LIHBA created a YouTube channel where our community can easily find these recordings. Additionally, we are providing Know Your Rights programs in both English and Spanish and streaming them live on LIHBA’s Facebook page. For our members, we are providing all our programs as webinars.
AALM: How do you hope to advance the mission of the LIHBA and what steps have you taken toward that end?
LMR: The mission of the LIHBA is to foster the advancement of Hispanic attorneys and the Hispanic community on Long Island. I’ve formed a New Lawyers Committee, which will focus on building pipeline programs in professional development and networking opportunities. Our hope in doing this is to help build and nurture the development of our young lawyers who are our next generation of leaders. By providing Know Your Rights programs in Spanish on important legal topics we are helping to empower our community by educating them on their rights.
AALM: Why is it important to work with new lawyers at the Hispanic Bar Association?
LMR: People do not reach the top levels of success without being surrounded by people who took an interest in them and their professional growth and made them believe that their goals were possible. I believe that it is our job to give back and to pay it forward. The new lawyers are also our next generation of leaders who will be advocating for our community. We have to invest in them so they are prepared to lead.
AALM: What experiences do you bring from your previous positions that will help shape the LIHBA?
LMR: I lead the community outreach program and had an opportunity to meet and visit our community leaders. I toured their facilities and learned about the services they provide and this helped me further grasp the issues impacting our community.
AALM: What advice do you have for a member looking to increase their involvement in the LIHBA or hoping to join the leadership?
LMR: It is my hope that our members will be inspired to become involved. The LIHBA is a large family. We are a team of people who look to build each other up and positively influence our community. I have had the opportunity to meet incredible lawyers and build lasting friendships with people who share the same desire to help others.
AALM: What resources or benefits are available to LIHBA members?
LMR: There are many benefits not the least of which include: referral service, networking opportunities, continuing legal education programs and pro bono work.
AALM: What are some topics you think the organization will be addressing the coming year?
LMR: I will be continuing to work to advance the mission of the LIHBA through mentorships, legal education, community outreach and to promote the proper administration of justice.