A University of New Mexico School of Law emeritus professor will be honored next month by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez will receive the 2014 Excellence in Legal Service award from the group during its San Antonio Awards Gala on Sept. 19. The award recognizes individuals, corporations and law firms in advancing justice for Hispanics.
Ms. Sedillo Lopez joined the university's School of Law in 1986 and in 2001 became the director of the school's Clinical Program, where she served for 8 years. During her tenure, she initiated an Access to Justice Practitioner Network for lawyers, worked to increase the legislative appropriation for the Southwest Indian Law Clinic, and developed the Business and Tax Clinic.
Earlier this year, Ms. Sedillo Lopez was appointed executive director of Enlace Comunitario, a social justice organization working to eliminate domestic violence in the Latino immigrant community.
"My first reaction was, wait, I haven't been doing this work that long," Ms. Sedillo Lopez said in a press release. "Then I realized it also recognizes the body of work with the clinical law program at UNM."
Gloria Valencia-Weber, a UNM School of Law emerita professor, said Ms. Sedillo Lopez has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life in Hispanic communities.
"(Antoinette) is still a pioneer as she devises ways to assist the Spanish speaking community in these times when many disfavor communities with distinct cultures and language," Ms. Valencia-Weber said in a press release.
Also being honored at the MALDEF gala are Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who will receive the Matt Garcia Public Service award; and Dr. Antonia Castaneda, who is being presented the Excellence in Community Service award. The gala is being held at The Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio.
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