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Elba Bethel Gutiérrez Castillo is Manager at Greenberg Traurig’s Global Pro Bono program. Elba focuses her practice on complex human rights breach cases through impact litigation. She often appears before the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid, Constitutional Federal Courts and the Mexican Supreme Court of Justice. She advises and represents, mainly, people seeking asylum in Mexico and people claiming reparations from the Mexican State. Elba has additional litigation experience on matters related to antitrust and corporate law representing companies before the Federal Commission of Economic Competence and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Capabilities

Experience

  • Represented a young man from El Salvador who fled led his country due to attempted forced recruitment, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and sexual abuse by a large criminal gang. Elba helped this young man obtain refugee status in Mexico, and to obtain family reunification for his two younger brothers a year later. The cases were handled from February 2019 to December 2021, they were litigated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • In collaboration with the United Nations Development Program, Elba mentored six entrepreneurs from the Indigenous community of Huauchinango, Puebla. The projects were selected based on their social impact for the region. The objective was to provide the participants with the legal tools to achieve their goals, while promoting a culture of legality related to labor in the Mexican countryside.
  • Elba led legal assistance efforts for refugees in camps installed in Mexico City and Tijuana in 2018 and 2019 when thousands of people from Central America decided to cross Mexican territory in a caravan to reach the U.S. border. This form of migration represented a challenge, both legally and logistically, since many of them needed factual information to make appropriate decisions about their route.
  • Member of the team that represented a Salvadorian family in 2017 seeking refugee status in a litigation against the procedural decision issued by the Mexican Commission for Refugee Aid. The case was handled in conjunction with the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos). The procedural decision indefinitely suspended interview applications for refugee status and the issuance of resolutions, which are essential phases in the Refugee Status Determination procedure. The judge ruled in the family’s favor and found the contested procedural decision unconstitutional for leaving asylum seekers and detained individuals in a state of legal uncertainty in Mexico.
  • Team leader of the program to provide ongoing legal education and trainings with easy terminology to nonexperts as part of an effort to safeguard the rule of law. After changing the format from in-person to webinars, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the audience has grown to more than 100 participants per session, increasing the impact on such organizations, and broadening scope to other regions in Mexico.
  • Leader of the firm’s pro bono efforts related to two major earthquakes in September 2017 in Mexico that unleashed a major crisis, including legal and social assistance to the victims, establishing lines of communication with civil society groups. Elba led the efforts for attorneys to be able to provide counseling in parks, churches, streets as well as by phone and email.
  • Advised Mexican and foreign companies on cartel and vertical restraints and merger control processes before the Federal Commission of Economic Competence.°
  • Advised international companies on their operations in Mexico to facilitate compliance with competition and commercial regulations, including advice on the legal framework for the operation of ride-sharing vehicles and cab services in Mexico for UBER Technologies Inc.°

°The above representations were handled by Mrs. Gutiérrez Castillo prior to her joining Greenberg Traurig, S.C.

  • Associate, Pro Bono Coordinator at Mexico City Office, Greenberg Traurig, S.C., 2017-2021
  • Attorney, Fundación para la Justicia y el Estado Democrático de Derecho, A.C., 2016
  • Law Clerk, Greenberg Traurig, S.C., 2015-2016
  • Law Clerk, Casares, Castelazo, Frías y Zárate, S.C., 2013-2015
  • Legal Intern, Legal Clinic, Human Rights Program: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2012-2013

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, Latin Lawyer, "Latin Lawyer 250 - Practice Recognition: Pro Bono," 2021
  • Practice leader, Appleseed México, “Pro Bono Partner Award,” 2021
  • Listed, Latin Lawyer, "Latin Lawyer 250 - Practice Recognition: Pro Bono," 2020
  • Practice leader, Latin Lawyer, “Pro Bono Award,” 2020.
  • Practice leader, Chambers Diversity and Inclusion Awards: Latin America, Pro Bono Program of the Year Award, 2019
  • USAID pro bono recognition, 2018, 2020
  • Practice leader, Appleseed México, “Alexis Rovzar Medal. Recognition for pro bono services,” 2018
  • Practice leader, Latin Lawyer “Pro Bono Award,” 2017
  • Member, Board of Directors, Mexican Appleseed Foundation
  • Volunteer, United World Colleges, Mexican association

Credentials

Education
  • Law Degree, cum laude, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2016
Admissions
  • Mexico
Languages
  • Spanish, Native
  • English, Fluent