Lariss Maldonado sees her leadership roles in volunteer organizations as an opportunity to give back and offer young Latinos an example of success in the legal profession.
“I didn’t know lawyers or professionals growing up, and it was difficult to see a path forward,” said Maldonado, senior counsel in enterprise risk management execution at Wells Fargo. “I became a lawyer because I didn’t want to be hungry. Now, I am driven to engage in community organizations because I want to be visible in the community to be a role model. I hope that I can inspire young people to see the law as a possibility.”
In the Minnesota Hispanic Bar Association, Maldonado served as president and co-chaired a selection committee that works to identify people of color to apply for the bench and supports vetted candidates in their application process, including reviewing submissions and conducting mock interviews. “We endeavor to give candidates substantive, constructive feedback, and help them get to where they need to be to put their best foot forward,” she said. “The courts have the most fundamental and most direct impact on ensuring justice for the community.”
Maldonado joined the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota in late 2016 during a time in which she believed all aspects of civil liberties and rights were in jeopardy. She likes ACLU-MN’s approach that leverages legal representation, legislative advocacy and community engagement to offer. The organization offers “a holistic opportunity to serve the public and to serve civil liberties and civil rights,” she said.
Maldonado also has had leadership roles with the Twin Cities Diversity in Practice and the Minnesota State Bar Association. “Supporting people of color in their careers and is critical,” she said. “Everything I learned and the goals I’ve achieved have been with the support of sponsors and mentors in the community.”
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