In 2006, at a diversity and inclusion conference, after hearing yet again the dismal statistics for Hispanic and Latina lawyers in leadership positions in the legal profession, Natalia Martín and Karla Sanchez decided to do something about it. They wanted to create something different from a typical bar association. Something more intimate and informal, yet powerful. So they invited a number of Latina colleagues to a breakfast, and the Cafecito was born. Over cafecitos (small cups of coffee) and through a list-serve, this informal network of Hispanic and Latina lawyers comes together to share contacts, information, job postings, experiences, referrals and friendship. Inter-generational by design, Latina and Hispanic law students may join as members. Cafecito membership includes judges, law professors, private and public sector practitioners, and former lawyers engaged in a variety of non-legal endeavors.
Cafecito meetings are free of charge, and are open to all Latina attorneys and law students. The monthly meetings are usually held on Friday mornings from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and occasionally in the evenings; all in the New York City area. Guest speakers often give brief remarks at the Cafecito on a range of current issues or topics of interest to the membership. Attendance can be anywhere from 20-100 lawyers and law students.
The Cafecito network has grown to over 900 members by word of mouth since the first meeting in May of 2006.