Friday, May 24, 2024

Former Colorado U.S. Attorney General Henry Solano Named Head of MALDEF

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) Board of Directors named longtime Board member Henry Solano to serve as interim president and general counsel. Solano replaces John Trasviña who was recently tapped by President Barack Obama to be the Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Trasviña served as the head of the organization since November 2006.

Solano has been an active member of the MALDEF Board with decades of litigation, public policy and advocacy experience behind him.  Most recently, Solano led the Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP trial team in his firm’s pro bono litigation with MALDEF in Vicente v. Barnett to bring justice against a border vigilante in Arizona who threatened and assaulted a group of Latino men and women.  He also currently chairs the Program and Planning Committee and is a member of the Executive Committee on the Board.  Named one of Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics, Solano is a well-respected veteran of state and national policy making and community service.  Solano was a tireless advocate for safe communities and enforcing worker and workplace protection laws while serving as Colorado U.S. Attorney and Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor during the Clinton Administration.  He began his career as a poverty law attorney emphasizing farm-worker and immigrant legal protection at Colorado Rural Legal Services, Inc which was headquartered in Denver, Colorado.  He has continued his community involvement throughout his career including serving on the board of directors for the National Hispana Leadership Institute and the National Latino Children’s Institute.

Solano’s practice as a partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP in New York covers a wide range of employment and labor law as well as litigation. Dewey & LeBoeuf is an international law firm headquartered in New York with more than 1,400 lawyers in 14 countries, namely the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, China, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Around the world, Dewey & LeBoeuf  lawyers are engaged in a wide variety of pro bono projects; taking on large-impact civil rights litigation to advocate for those who have been historically disadvantaged; helping victims of domestic violence re-establish their footing; preventing the eviction of low income tenants; providing legal services to worthy not-for-profit organizations and microenterprises, both domestically and internationally; representing indigent defendants in criminal cases at trial and on appeal and preventing the deportation of asylum seekers who are facing persecution if they are forced to return to their native lands.

Dewey & LeBoeuf has been recognized for its efforts through Community awards including the Thomas L. Sager Award for the Northeast Region by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) (2008); named “Employer of the Year” for pro bono by the National Mentoring Consortium in the UK (2007, 2008); and Pro Bono Visionary Award by Legal Services NYC (2008); and receiving the Latino Justice/Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund “Pro Bono Publico Award” for its involvement in a potentially landmark federal lawsuit alleging that the rights of Latino day laborers were violated in Westchester County.

“Today, the Latino community is facing uncertainty on varied fronts: fair wages, access to higher education, healthcare, voting rights and more.  In these times, MALDEF’s work through our offices and attorneys across the nation has proven to be the difference for thousands of Latino families,” stated MALDEF Chairman of the Board Patricia A. Madrid. “Under the leadership and experience of Henry Solano we will continue to stand strong against intolerance and injustice toward Latinos.”

The MALDEF Board also announced that it would undertake a national search for a permanent successor.