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  • Visiting Scholar Dolores S. Atencio, Esq.


    In February 2015, Colorado lawyer Dolores Atencio became the first Visiting Scholar for the University of Denver Latinx Center (formerly the University of Denver Center for Community Engagement & Scholarship), to complete her project on the country’s earliest Latina lawyers licensed in the United States. From 2013-2014, she was the Scholar in Residence for DU's Colorado Women's College honors Community Based Research Project.  Prior to entering academia, Atencio practiced law for 32 years, having obtained her law degree from DU's Sturm College of Law and B.A. from Colorado College. 

    As a past President of the HNBA (1991-1992), Dolores is a lifetime member of the HNBA's Latina Commission.  She was the Latina Commission's first Co-Chair (2008-2010).  During her tenure, the Latina Commission completed the first two national studies on Latina lawyers: 

    Few and Far Between: The Status of Latinas in the Legal Profession (2009),; and

    La Voz de la Abogada Latina (Voice of the Latina Lawyer):  Challenges & Rewards in Serving the Public Interest (2010),  On September 7, 2018, the celebration of its 10th Anniversary, the HNBA Latina Commission honored Dolores with its Las Primeras Abogadas Award, in Philadelphia. 

    Dolores is a former Commissioner | Chair of the Denver Women's Commission (DWC), Windows into Denver Women and Girls, released March 2014.  Currently, she chairs the DU Law Latino Alumni Committee.  

    Atencio CV Fall 2021.pdf

  • With former national presidents, Tricia Tingle | National Native American Bar and Paulette Brown | National Bar Association at CBAC Founders Dinner, Washington, D.C.

  • Honors




    September 9, 2021

    Washington, D.C. – The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) is proud to announce the recipients of the prestigious 2021 HNBA National Awards, to be presented virtually during the Annual Convention’s Gala en la Sala, on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.EST.
    “The theme of this year’s Convention is Our Voice, Our Impact, and we are thrilled to recognize the achievements of our HNBA Familia whose commitment and efforts have made an impact in our world. The exemplary attorneys and community leaders being honored embody the work and commitment needed to make a difference in our communities across the country... From seasoned professionals with long careers and many successes, to relatively young leaders whose initiative and drive inspires us, we are proud to recognize their accomplishments and contributions to the profession and our society, said Elia Diaz-Yaeger, HNBA National President.

    This year we are awarding the HNBA President’s Award to two amazing women and past HNBA presidents, Dolores Atencio and Mary Hernandez, who were instrumental in the implementation and overwhelming success of the HNBA's Department of Justice and Executive Endorsements Initiative.


    The 2021 HNBA President's Award Recipients

    Dolores S. Atencio, Founder Luminarias de la Ley, Luminaries of the Law
    HNBA Past President, 1991-1992
    Denver, CO

    Mary T. Hernández, Founding Partner, Garcia Hernández Sawhney LLP
    HNBA Past President, 1994-1995

    San Francisco, CA


    Las Primeras Abogadas Award, Hispanic National Bar Association Latina Commission, September 7, 2018, Philadelphia on its 10th Anniversary celebration.

    Lifetime Achievement Award, Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, January 23, 2016, Brown Palace, Denver, Colorado.

    Founders Honor, Coalition of (national) Bar Associations of Color (CBAC), March 2, 2016, Washington, D.C. honored as one of four women bar leaders who founded the Coalition in 1992, pictured below.  

    Ohtli Award, September 2014, the highest award bestowed by the Mexican Government to non-citizens for altruistic work on behalf of Mexican / Mexican Americans.  

  • Featured Publications & Works

  • The Super Minority:  The Status of Latina Lawyers in the United States, Institute for Inclusion in the Profession, 2014 IILP Review:  The Status of Diversity in the Legal Profession, released March 2015,

    Onward & Upward:  A Timeline of Influential Denver Women, released by the Denver Women's Commission, March 11, 2015; co-researcher and editor.

    Las Primeras Abogadas Un Legado (The First Latina Lawyers, A Legacy):  Saluting Hispanic Women Lawyers in the 50 States, a companion piece to 2013 timeline, presented at HNBA Annual Convention (Washington, D.C.), September 2014.

    Las Primeras Abogadas - Una Historia (The First Latina Lawyers, A History), a timeline from 1929 to 2013 featuring select milestones in their history, with 22-minute video, presented at the HNBA Annual Convention (Denver), September 2013.

    The Making of an American Justice:  The HNBA's Quest for the First Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, Hispanic National Bar Association Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 2, No. 1, Summer 2009.   Atencio SupCtArt HNBA.pdf 

    Las Primeras, the first video documentary (50-minute) on 21 of the country's earliest Latina lawyers; producer, director, writer.    

  • CHBA Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Dolores Atencio 

This portfolio last updated: 02-May-2024 2:54 PM