Hispanic Attorneys Committee to Present El Sol Award to Allegheny County Public Defender Michael J. Machen

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 22, 2009.   Officers of the Hispanic Attorneys Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association have announced that Michael J. Machen will receive the Committee’s El Sol Award as part of its Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. The event, which is co-sponsored by the Allegheny County Bar Association and Thorp Reed & Armstrong, LLP., will be held on September 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Rivers Club.

Machen is being honored for his extraordinary efforts in establishing a program that helps to ensure Hispanic defendants with limited knowledge of the English language are receiving competent and effective legal counsel.

According to Lourdes Sanchez Ridge, the President of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and an active member of the Hispanic Attorneys Committee, “Mr. Machen’s selfless dedication to protecting the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution to all persons must be acknowledged and recognized.”

Stefi Peralta Porter, Chair-Elect of the Hispanic Attorneys Committee, said “Our Committee is really excited about having the opportunity to honor such an important pillar in our legal community.”

Machen has served as the Chief Public Defender since January 2004. Prior to that, he served as trial supervisor/first assistant public defender and deputy director for the trial division. He holds a juris doctorate from Widener University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Allegheny College.

The purpose of the El Sol Award is to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of a local individual who has helped the Hispanic Attorneys Committee fulfill its mission of promoting the advancement of Pittsburgh’s Hispanic legal professionals and the Hispanic community at large. This will be the second year the El Sol Award has been given.

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. September 15 was chosen as the starting point because it is the anniversary of independence for several Latin American countries. The purpose of Hispanic Heritage Month is to celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture and to recognize the contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States.



Stefi Peralta Porter
Hispanic Attorneys Committee


Tom Loftus
Director of Marketing and Media Relations
Allegheny County Bar Association