Vance Center Pursues Diversity Initiative

September 2022

Two candidates of the second cohort of the TotalLAW Prep Mentorship Program have won admission to top law schools in the United States and begun pursuing their LLMs.

The Vance Center has partnered with TalentoTotal in the TotalLaw Prep Program, engaging law firms, bar associations, law schools, and pro bono clearinghouses to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession across the Americas. Launched in March 2020, the program aims to create a broad and ethnically diverse leadership pipeline of highly talented Afro-Descendant and Indigenous lawyers.

The program supports candidates with mentoring and other support to apply to law schools in the United States and Europe and pursue leadership roles in the legal professions of their home countries. The LL.M candidates in the second cohort are:

Alvaro Lopez

Alvaro Lopez is an Afro-Panamanian lawyer specializing in litigation, dispute resolution, and regulatory law. He has experience as an assistant to a deputy prosecutor and then as a young associate in the litigation department of a Panamanian law firm.

Based on his experience in the public and private sectors, Alvaro has chosen the professional and academic path to enhance the Panamanian judicial system and build new tools to serve justice more effectively.

Consistent with his aspirations, Alvaro is pursuing a Master of Laws (LL.M.) at Cornell Law School, with a curriculum specialized in advocacy, litigation, justice administration, and dispute resolution.  He is confident that with the knowledge and experience he will acquire during his LL.M. studies, he can take specific steps to help improve the Panamanian judicial system.

Karina Miranda

Karina Miranda is an Afro-Brazilian lawyer from São Paulo. Before coming to the US, Karina worked at Demarest Advogados, one of Brazil’s most prestigious law firms, where she provided legal advisory services to multinational and local clients. She was the co-founder of the law firm’s Black Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which promotes a pluralistic non-discriminatory, respectful, welcoming, and innovative work environment  that ultimately contributes to achieving business results.

Karina is now pursuing a Master of Laws (LL.M.) at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, having received the highest merit scholarship for her distinguished academic and professional records.

Karina wishes to expand her expertise as an international lawyer to become one of Brazil’s first Black partners at a major law firm.