This Women’s History Month, we are shining the spotlight on powerhouse attorney Natasha Cortes. She is the first Latina partner at Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen, and she continues to use her position to uplift and empower other women and minorities in the legal field. She does more than simply talk about promoting diversity, however—she dedicates time and energy to make it happen.
For one, Attorney Cortes has long served as a mentor for underrepresented and disadvantaged minorities. Back in 2014, she was featured in Coral Gables News for spearheading our firm’s participation in Breakthrough Miami Career Day. She and her colleagues opened our firm’s doors to disadvantaged students to share a “day in the life” of a lawyer with them, hoping to spark an interest in the legal profession.
“We hope that the students will remember their experience at our firm as they continue on their journeys toward success,” Attorney Cortes told Coral Gables News.
Despite having a packed schedule, she continues to find time to educate students of all ages on what lawyers do with real life cases. These daylong events typically include mock trial and client interview exercises, as well. The most recent one, just a few months ago, was put on for Hispanic pre-law high school students.
“I learn just as much from them as they learn from me,” Attorney Cortes said, warmly describing the kids she mentors.
Attorney Cortes is also an active member of the Florida Justice Association (FJA) Minority Caucus and the University of Miami Law Alumni Association, where she works on mentorship programs aimed at serving minority law students. She knows full well, however, that working toward a more diverse legal field involves educating others in the legal profession on its current lack of diversity. With great patience and determination, she strives to raise awareness about this issue.
“The ABA explains that diversity will lead to better quality work, a reduction of costs, improving the firm’s reputation and departmental operations, to name a few,” Attorney Cortes wrote in a poignant piece for the FJA Journal. “When law firms choose to diversify their team, they have a positive impact on the firm, legal system and society as a whole.”
Attorney Cortes has found her bilingual and multicultural background to be hugely advantageous in her work at Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen. For instance, she is able to communicate with clients in their native language and build strong attorney-client relationships that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The proof is in her case results: She has helped recover over $150 million for injured and wronged South Florida residents.
Her approach to tackling a lack of diversity is a holistic one. On top of the enrichment programs and public awareness efforts, Attorney Cortes also serves as a long-term mentor for Hispanic students hoping to someday become lawyers. She finds it particularly rewarding to see high school girls go on to excel and become successful women lawyers themselves.
“My passion has always been mentorship at every level,” Attorney Cortes said. “I really feel having young minds see themselves in your shoes has the most profound impact.”
One of her proteges recently graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and landed herself an associate position at an international law firm. A couple of her other female proteges include a pre-law undergraduate student and a pre-law high school student. She also recently advocated for a Hispanic male law clerk, helping him secure a spot in Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen’s upcoming summer internship program.
“I have come to learn that you have to be proactive in your efforts to give these deserving minorities an opportunity, and then you must also dedicate the time to provide the support they need to thrive,” she explained. “It is time well invested.”