Cozen O’Connor member Nelson A. Diaz recently delivered the keynote address for the “Connecticut Families in an Ailing Market” Housing Summit, sponsored by the State of Connecticut Latino and Puerto Rican Affairs Commission. His keynote speech focused on the housing crisis and the subprime issues affecting homeowners. The summit’s participants included housing, banking and economic experts who used the event to focus on how the crisis has affected Connecticut’s urban families, and on finding concrete solutions to the crisis.
Diaz, who concentrates his practice on litigation and dispute resolution, served as a Judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas from 1981 through 1993. The youngest judge appointed to the Court and the first Latino judge in Pennsylvania history, he was also appointed administrative judge by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where he saved the state millions of dollars annually and used a nationally recognized Pro Tem Judges Program to reform the court’s case flow efficiency.
During his distinguished career, Diaz also served as City Solicitor of Philadelphia and as General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he focused on reforming public and mixed-use housing programs. During his tenure in these positions, he was instrumental in increasing the number of women and minority lawyers in both organizations. Diaz was also a White House Fellow, serving as Special Assistant to Vice President Walter Mondale, and Executive Director of the Spanish Merchants Association of Philadelphia.
Diaz is a member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Temple University, where he also served on the university’s Presidential Search Committee, and is a former chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Hispanic Caucus. He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New York, and before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.
An active member of the community, Diaz is co-chair of the annual Martin Luther King Day of Service and is a member of the Philadelphia Children’s Commission. He is also a member of the Executive and Nominating Committees of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and is a vice chair of the Visitors Bureau Multicultural Affairs Congress. He is a former member of the boards of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Diaz was awarded the Association for Independent Growth Foundation’s Civic Leadership Award, the American Bar Association’s 2001 Spirit of Excellence Award, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund Award of Excellence, and several civil rights and management awards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has been recognized as one of the 100 most influential Hispanic Americans by Hispanic Business and has been named to multiple Who’s Who lists, including those for the East, World, Hispanic-Americans, Law, Law Enforcement, the Delaware Valley, American Politics and America. Diaz also appears in several books on leadership and ethics and has been designated a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Law & Politics.
Diaz is a graduate of St. John’s University (B.S., 1969) and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law (J.D., 1972), and he also earned a Certificate on Mediation/Arbitration from Pepperdine University School of Law’s Stratus Institute for Dispute Resolution in 2001. Diaz was awarded an honorary doctorate of law by St. John’s University (1987) and an honorary doctorate of public service by Temple University’s Beasley School of Law (1990).