|Pablo Javier Almaguer, a 1994 alumnus of UTPA, has been elected Chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors.|
Almaguer is the private attorney involvement group coordinator for the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA).
Almaguer earned his bachelor's degree in political science from UTPA and his law degree from Chicago-Kent School of Law.
Previously, he was the branch manager for the TRLA's Edinburg office and team manager for the domestic violence/family law practice area team. His practice has focused on the areas of domestic abuse and employment/labor law, according to the Hidalgo County Bar Association.
Almaguer served as president of the Hidalgo County Bar Association/Hidalgo County Bar Foundation and currently serves as president of the board of directors of the Texas Civil Rights Project. He served as co-vice chair of the State Bar of Texas Local Bar Services Committee and was a council member of the State Bar of Texas Hispanic Issues Section. He also is a member of the Mexican-American Bar Association and is the co-founder of the Hidalgo County Domestic Relations Office Advisory Board, according to the Hidalgo County Bar Association.
He is the first legal services attorney to serve on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas. Almaguer said he was honored that fellow board members selected him as chair and hopes more issues legal services attorneys have been handling will receive greater attention because of his new position.
"It's pretty important," he said. "I don't hide the fact I'm foreign-born from the Valley. I can highlight those qualities."
Almaguer and his family emigrated from Mexico to the United States when he was 5 years old.
He said his fascination with the law began as a young boy translating legal documents and other important papers for his parents after they moved to the United States.
But it wasn't until his second or third year at UTPA that Almaguer realized he could be a lawyer and help families like his.
He credits Dr. Jerry Polinard, a political science professor and pre-law adviser at UTPA with convincing him he could pursue a career in law.
"With the confidence I got at UTPA, the support from the professors, I was able to go to law school," he said. "My accomplishment might inspire other folks to do the same."
Polinard said Almaguer is a great role model for UTPA students and has been very generous with his time by coming to the University and speaking to students about law school and the legal profession.
Being elected as chair of the State Bar of Texas Board of Directors "is a great honor for him and a great reflection on the University," Polinard said.
Almaguer will serve as chair until June 2011.