The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

Main menu:

November 9, 2009

Lives in the Law: Nina Perales of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund to speak on November 10, 2009

Perales to speak on the fight for Latino civil rights

Photo of Nina Perales
Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund

The University of Texas School of Law’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and Career Services Office will present speaker Nina Perales, Southwest Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), on Tuesday, November 10, 2009, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Sheffield Room at the Law School.

Perales will speak about the fight for Latino civil rights and her voting rights advocacy for MALDEF. From 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. she will speak about her life in the law. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Audience members may attend one or both sessions.

Perales directs MALDEF’s litigation, advocacy, and public education in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and six additional southern and western states. She specializes in voting rights litigation, including redistricting and vote dilution challenges. She argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in LULAC v. Perry, a Latino vote-dilution challenge to the 2003 Texas congressional redistricting plan. The Court struck down the redistricting plan as a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In addition to her own cases, Perales supervises the work of six staff attorneys who conduct impact litigation and advocacy on behalf of Latinos throughout the Southwest in the areas of education, immigrant rights, employment discrimination, and political access.

Perales received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and earned her JD from Columbia Law School in 1990.

The presentation is part of the occasional “Lives in the Law” speaker series focusing on the work and lives of lawyers who strive to improve the lives of others through litigation, advocacy, and public service. It is presented by the Justice Center and the Career Services Office. Perales’s visit is also intended to increase awareness of the legal needs in the Texas Rio Grande Valley region. In January 2010, UT Law students will travel to the area to volunteer on legal projects. (Applications to participate in the trip are due to the Justice Center by 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 10, 2009.)

The talk is cosponsored by the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association and the Public Interest Law Association.


Kirston Fortune, UT Law Communications Office, 512-471-7330, or