LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Very few of our nation’s attorneys are Hispanic. Latinos make up fewer than 5% of attorneys, while Hispanics are 18.5% of the U.S. population.
The annual ¡Andale! 5K event is helping to change that statistic.
“We fund-raise scholarship funds for Latinos who are aspiring to go to law school,” said Marisa Rodriguez, the effort’s founder.
The event — now in its third year in the Las Vegas valley — raises money to help Latino students pay for courses that help them prepare for the Kaplan Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
“In the past two years, we have already been able to grant 57 scholarships,” she said. “We are very happy to report that some of our scholarship recipients have already been admitted to a number of law schools.”
She said the costs of the prep work and taking the LSAT add up to about $2,000.
The Nevada Latino Bar Association is hosting the ¡Andale! 5K on Sept. 18 at 8 a.m. at Kellogg Zaher Sports Complex, near Washington Avenue and Buffalo Drive.
Registration is open for the 5K Run/Walk at the park, and also for the virtual event. Go to https://runsignup.com/Race/NV/LasVegas/Andale5K. Both events cost $40 for the race fee, and $3.32 for a sign-up fee. The price goes up after Aug. 18.
If you’re not a runner, you can also go to that site and make a donation. More than $3,300 in contributions have already come in, according to organizers.
Monique Rodriguez, a scholarship recipient last year who is bound for UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, said the scholarship was key to allowing her to pursue law as a career.
She knew she wanted to take the LSAT to go to law school, “But a big barrier was getting the materials to study, paying for the tests, paying for the reports,” she said.
Now, with the scholarship, “I can move forward with what I want to do, Rodriguez said. “I was able to study with an online instructor, which was amazing, especially considering I was going to use free resources before, and there are not many for the LSAT.”
We caught up with North Las Vegas Police Chief Pam Ojeda, who was with a group at Sunset Park this morning warming up and getting ready for the event.
Ojeda, who has been a runner for 25 years, said, “This is my second year to run the ¡Andale! 5K. Last year it was virtual, so I’m really excited to do this year, where it’s going to be in-person with hopefully hundreds and hundreds of runners to raise money for this great cause.”
The event is important to law enforcement, who see it as an opportunity to encourage better relationships in the community.
“It’s going to raise money for the Latinos, for their education and pursue their dreams of a career in law,” Ojeda said.
“I think it’s great that they can further their education,” she said. “And I think it’ll be great that they understand law a little bit better and they can see how they can work with us and bring that back to other members of their community.”