Associate Dean José Bahamonde-González was unanimously selected to receive the National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) 2010 Award of Distinction for Leadership in Diversity for his longstanding commitment to advancing the diversity pipeline into law school and the legal profession. Dean Bahamonde-González was honored April 30 during the 2010 NALP Annual Education Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Award of Distinction is the highest honor presented by NALP to individuals, organizations, and programs that represent best practices in eight categories including diversity; innovation; NALP leadership; professional development and training; public service; recruitment practices; technology and writing. The award was established in 1993 to recognize a broad array of accomplishments made among NALP members.
In nominating Dean Bahamonde-González for the award, colleagues lauded his tireless dedication to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Sonji S. Patrick, Education Director of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, described Dean Bahamonde-González's important role in supporting her organization, including providing counseling to hundreds of Latino, African-American and other prospective law students from under-represented groups and regularly making presentations about career and employment paths in the law, debt management in law school, and financing a legal education. "This presentation is a quintessential part of our unique program to help students mold realistic expectations as they begin to navigate the law school admissions landscape," she wrote in her nomination letter. "He has always offered honest, straightforward advice that has been immensely helpful and informative." In another nomination letter, Natalia Martin, Director of Diversity of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, emphasized Dean Bahamonde-González's remarkable perseverance and drive to help others. "A phone conversation with José can be the perfect antidote to a temporary spell of 'fatigue' and a reminder of how important and necessary these efforts continue to be. In small and large ways, Dean Bahamonde-González has been a tireless and consistent advocate for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. I have also been impressed at how much he does on a 'micro' level by helping, counseling, and mentoring individual law students, lawyers, as well as law firm recruiters and diversity professionals," she wrote.
Dean Bahamonde-González joined the University of Maryland School of Law in 1997 as an Assistant Dean for Career Development. He was then appointed as Assistant Dean for Administration, Finance & Technology in 1999, and has been the Associate Dean for Administrative Affairs and Student Services since 2001. Since joining the School of Law, he has served as the faculty advisor of the Law School's Latino/a Law Students Association. He has been an active member of the NALP since 1992 and has held numerous leadership positions including Vice-President, Director and Chair of the NALP Leadership/Membership Diversity Task Force. He is also an active member of the Association of American Law Schools Student Services Section and Section on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar as well as the National Association for College and University Business Officers.