Cristina is a partner in the labor and employment practice group at Gardere, and her legal career of more than thirty years has been devoted exclusively to representing management in all phases of employment law.
A third generation attorney, Cristina was born in Havana, Cuba and is fluent in Spanish; her father and grandfather both practiced law together at their own law firm in Havana. Primarily because of his influence, three of the four daughters in the Portela family became lawyers, and as the youngest, Cristina benefited from the mentoring of her three older sisters, who have provided support and guidance in a male-dominated field throughout her career.
After experiencing firsthand the benefits that come from a strong mentoring support system, Cristina is dedicated to mentoring female and minority attorneys in the professional community. She is the immediate past president and current board member of the Houston Association of Women Attorneys. During her presidency, she introduced new programs to increase awareness of – and participation in – the group, which resulted in a 40% increase in membership. She also currently serves as one of the leaders in the Latina Lawyers Network, a group dedicated to mentoring Hispanic females as they navigate their way through the challenges of the legal profession. She is very active in the Gardere Women’s Council, which focuses on mentoring and networking with clients, and is proud of the support and business she has received from women-owned businesses throughout the years.
Within the larger community, Cristina is a volunteer for Small Steps Nurturing Center, an organization that provides an exemplary and free-of-charge early childhood program to instill and foster the social, emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual growth of economically at-risk children and their families. She also volunteers time to Dress for Success, Women of Wine Charities and other organizations that mentor and help women network in the business and legal community.
Her family’s passion for the law continues to be passed on from generation to generation. Cristina is married to Steve Schueler, a trial lawyer at Winstead P.C. Her son, Eric Solomon, is part of the entering class of 2020 at Harvard Law School. Their family shares a passion for travel, particularly in Latin America. Their trip to Havana, Cuba in 2013, when Solomon first returned to her homeland, was amongst their most memorable travel experiences.