Since 1996, Irma D. Herrera has served as Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates, a civil rights organization dedicated to advancing equal opportunity for women and girls through impact litigation and advocacy.
Ms. Herrera began her legal career as a public interest lawyer, representing Spanish-speaking migrant farm workers throughout Washington State. In 1980, Ms. Herrera joined Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund as a staff attorney and the director of education programs. In the mid-1980s she worked as a freelance journalist-investigating and reporting on legal and cultural issues. Her articles appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post and Ms. Magazine. She also taught Law and Social Justice at Colorado College, and Education Law at California State University Sacramento. Ms. Herrera has also worked in San Francisco in a commercial litigation practice. In 1991, Ms. Herrera joined Multicultural Education and Training Advocacy, a non-profit legal advocacy firm that represents minority and poor children on education-related issues, as a staff attorney and development director.
Ms. Herrera is a 2001 recipient of the prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award by the American Bar Association's (ABA) Commission on Women in the Profession. Ms. Herrera received the President's Advocate award on behalf of ERA from the San Francisco chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) in 2005, and was named a National Person of Distinction by Santa Clara University School of Law. In 2004 she was awarded the Pursuit of Justice Award given each year to a plaintiff's attorney by the ABA's Tort and Insurance Practice Section. She is also the recipient of California NOW's Safety, Health and Equal Opportunity (S.H.E.) Award for promoting educational opportunity, and in 2000 was named a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Fellow in recognition of her contributions to California's non-profit community.
Ms. Herrera, a native of South Texas, received her undergraduate degree from St. Mary's University in San Antonio and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana in 1978.