María D. Meléndez Elected as Board Chair of LatinoJustice PRLDEF


Contact: John Garcia, Director of Communications, 212-739-7513 or

Maria Melendez

María D. Meléndez, a partner at the international law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors of LatinoJustice PRLDEF during its last quarterly board meeting. Ms. Meléndez is a longtime board member who recently served as Vice Chair of the organization. She replaces Indrani Franchini, Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer of Hess Corporation. Ms. Franchini will continue to serve as a member of the board.

Ms. Meléndez’s Sidley practice focuses primarily on complex commercial litigation representing U.S. and non-U.S. clients in state and federal courts throughout the U.S. and in domestic and international arbitration matters. She is Acting Chair of Panel III of the Departmental Disciplinary Committee, New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division First Judicial Department.

“I am so pleased to assume the position of Chair of the Board of this great organization,” said M. Meléndez. “Indrani’s stewardship of LatinoJustice PRLDEF was phenomenal, and I cannot say enough about her dedicated service and many contributions to the success and growth of the organization. I am honored to continue a history of remarkable leadership at LatinoJustice PRLDEF.”

Ms. Meléndez’s election continues a sterling history of strong leadership at LatinoJustice PRLDEF that includes many prestigious former board members. U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former Attorney General of New York Robert Abrams, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Jose Cabranes, U.S. Senator Jacob Javits and U.S. Representative Herman Badillo have all served on the LatinoJustice PRLDEF board of directors.

“We have been very lucky to have board members like María and Indrani and many others who have made a commitment to our work, our community and to protecting the rights of Latinos and Latinas everywhere,” said Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel. “Our community needs LatinoJustice to be both bold and responsive. María is singularly focused on making us stronger – both fiscally and through leadership development – ensuring that we are a resource for the community for decades to come. Our team is very excited about the leadership this board has shown in helping us to continue the legacy created by our previous boards. I look forward to working with María – and the rest of our board – as we plot growth and sustainability for LatinoJustice .”

Ms. Meléndez and Ms. Franchini, also a longtime board member, have led the Board effort on the organization’s $5 million Capital Campaign. Both will continue to lead this effort as we move toward completion of the Campaign later this year.

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