40 Under 40 Class of 2008

Diana Sorrentini-Velez

Age 29: Associate, Cooley, Shrair, P.C.

It’s all about family for Diana Sorretini-Velez. Without her mother and four siblings, she would never have grown up with the drive and competitive nature that has taken her to where she is today.

When Sorrentini-Velez moved to the U.S. from Puerto Rico in 1985, she was just 7 years old. But she was a child with big dreams and an even bigger drive to succeed. That drive stems from her mother, who moved her five children to the U.S. with no job, no husband, and just 29 boxes of personal items. “That was it,” said Sorrentini-Velez. “That’s all we had.”

Thus, Sorrentini-Velez set out to make her mom proud just like her four other siblings, who made for some pretty big competition. “I made a bet with my older brother when we were little that I’d become a lawyer before he did,” she said.
“Sure enough, he changed his major to business in college, and I won.”

That same competitive edge and the theme of family can be seen in everything that Sorrentini-Velez does. Not only does she deal with some tough family and civil litigation, but she also makes every effort to give back to her community on a regular basis. As a member of the board of directors of the Spanish American Union, she is helping to plan the organization’s 40th anniversary. “It’s so invigorating to be a part of one of the area’s oldest Spanish organizations,” she said.

Sorrentini-Velez also contributes time and expertise to the Gray House, raising funds, and holding various food and clothing drives for the underprivileged individuals it serves. And recently she helped revive the Mass. Citizens for Africa, an organization focused on the educational needs of children on that continent. Slipping between the cracks for awhile, the organization is again on the rise, and Sorrentini-Velez is at the forefront of efforts to help get books and computers into classrooms in Africa. “Our goal is to get a computer in every classroom there,” she said.

But when she’s not helping in the community or working on a case, Sorrentini-Velez is usually visiting a family member or two. “I like to spend my free time visiting my grandmother and my mom,” she said. “It’s all about family.”

Laura DeMars

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