Chavez played a key role in reviving the formerly defunct Minorities in the Legal Profession committee of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and also in starting the Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis. He has held leadership roles in both groups — he was co-chair of the BAMSL committee for five years and president of the Hispanic bar for two years.
Chavez said the revitalized committee’s goals included enhancing inclusion and diversity resources for lawyers, attracting diverse lawyers to the region and increasing interest in pursuing the legal profession.
“[We were] really trying to look at the law firms and trying to develop some kind of baseline of what law firms were doing to attract and retain diverse talent, with varying success over the years,” said Chavez, the chief privacy officer and associate general counsel at Edward Jones.
Chavez noted that the committee now is a section of BAMSL. Previously, there was no central group working on diversity and inclusion issues — just specialized bar groups, he said.
“It was really raising the profile amongst the general population of lawyers that these issues exist, and it’s always a business case for firms to embrace diversity,” he said.
Chavez said the formation of the Hispanic Bar Association of St. Louis followed his work with the committee. He’d tried to start a similar effort 10 years earlier, but it fizzled then.
He said it was meaningful to see a group dedicated to Hispanic attorneys coalesce.
“I don’t think people even think there’s a large group of Hispanic lawyers in St. Louis, or there’s even a need for that in St. Louis,” he said. “We do have a large Hispanic population . . . It was a very satisfying moment to have that incorporated, and I was super honored they would ask me to be the first president.”
Chavez said he was inspired to become a lawyer in high school by participating in his school’s mock trial team. He’s a Texas native who grew up in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, before completing his undergraduate degree in Texas and coming to Washington University in St. Louis to study law.
After graduation, Chavez stayed in St. Louis, working at such firms as Beach Burcke Helfers Mittleman & Stewart; Moser & Marsalek; and Williams Venker & Sanders.
In 2014, he learned Edward Jones was planning to build an e-Discovery team. An attorney he knew asked if he’d be interested in meeting with people from the company.
“I did, and the rest is history,” he said.
In his job, he’s tasked with developing and implementing information privacy and security policies. He works closely with tech experts to ensure the company’s data is secure.
“I like the intersection of technology and the law,” he said. “Not a lot of lawyers play in that place, so it’s a good niche practice for me.”