Latino/a Law Students Association Honors Rolando T. Acosta '82 and Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga '87

9th Annual Columbia Law School LaLSA Alumni Awards Recognize Distinguished Accomplishments and Advocacy in Service to Latino/a Americans.
New York, October 30, 2013—Latino attorneys should look beyond boundaries of nationality to help all people benefit from the rule of law, said Rolando T. Acosta ’82, associate justice of the New York State Supreme Court, and Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga ’87, partner at DLA Piper in Miami, honorees at the Columbia Latino/a Law Students Association’s (LaLSA) 9th annual Alumni Awards Banquet.
Pedro J. Martinez-Fraga '87, left, and Rolando T. Acosta '82 with his daughter, LaLSA Social Chair & Banquet Vice Chair Zila Reyes Acosta '15
LaLSA hosts the annual event to honor the dedication and vision of Latinos in the legal community, selecting an alumnus or alumna each year from the public and private sectors. This year’s ceremony was held Oct. 24 at the Columbia Club of New York, near Bryant Park in midtown Manhattan. Dean David M. Schizer and Dean of Students Michelle Greenberg-Kobrin also attended the event.
Acosta, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, worked at the Legal Aid Society and as commissioner of human rights under Mayor David N. Dinkins before joining the New York State Supreme Court in 2001. A member of the Columbia Law School Dean’s Council and the university’s Board of Trustees, he was appointed to the Appellate Division in 2010.
LaLSA President Mayra B. Joachin '15, left, and Banquet Chair Ana Carolina Varela '15
“The national origin-based model is no longer viable for Latinos,” Acosta said. “We have exceeded expectations in our influence on U.S. politics, especially in 2012, and have the duty to harness our newfound power responsibly and do justice not only for Latinos, but for society as a whole. We must define our community more broadly than ever before.”
Acosta was introduced by his daughter, Zila Reyes Acosta ’15, LaLSA social chair and co-organizer of the event.
LaLSA Vice President Joseph Guzman '15, left, and the honorees with Dean David M. Schizer
Martinez-Fraga, who practices international litigation and transnational arbitration, has represented the Kingdom of Spain and countries across Latin America, among other clients. He maintains an active international human rights practice and is a highly regarded legal scholar in four languages.
“Your generation has a difficult and daunting task, but one worth taking on,” Martinez-Fraga said. “We need transnational law transcending barriers and countries’ borders, so we can move to sovereignty beyond borders. We need a law of humanity to address humanity’s problems. Your generation will have to give rise to transnational courts and civil procedure.”
Martinez-Fraga credited the late Professor Louis Henkin with helping inspire his vision for transnational law.
The audience enjoyed the evening program at the Columbia Club.
LaLSA works to enhance Latino/a representation at the Law School and sponsors academic, cultural, social, and community service activities to promote understanding of the Latino community. Previous alumni honorees include Eduardo Sanchez ’77, Juan Cartanega ’81, Roland Juarez ’92, Hector Villagra ’94, and Elizabeth Reza ’97.