Ms. Gloria M. Portela is Senior Counsel in the Houston office specializing in the mediation of employment cases, especially complex class actions, wage and hour cases and ERISA litigation. Her practice also includes mediating intellectual property and commercial cases. She is the founding partner of the office, and formerly served as its managing partner.
Ms. Portela is a director of St. Luke’s Health System; the Association of Attorney Mediators; and Houston Grand Opera. She also serves on the Community Foundation Council of the Greater Houston Community Foundation and on the Governing Council of Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. She is a past Governor of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, where she was elected a founding fellow in 1996.
From 2002-2010, she was a director of Browne & Co., Inc. (BNE-NYSE – the oldest company then listed on the NYSE) where she served on the Compensation and Management Committee; the Finance Committee, and the CEO Search Committee. Ms. Portela has lectured and published numerous articles including “Let’s Make A Deal” Texas Lawyer, (1997) and “Mediating Employment Disputes,” Just Resolutions (1999).
She also co-authored the chapter “Employment and Labor Disputes” in the book Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Litigator’s Handbook, published by the American Bar Association’s Litigation Section. A native of Havana, Cuba, Ms. Portela came to the United States in 1961 and is completely bilingual in Spanish and English.
Her past government service includes: the Illinois Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission (1993 to 1995); the Commission on Workforce Quality and Labor Market Efficiency (1988 to 1990); the Texas Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission (1984 to 1986); and the Civil Rights Reviewing Authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1981 to 1983).
- J.D., Northwestern University School of Law (1976)
- Doctorate in Humanities, Honoris Causa, University of St. Thomas (2009)
- B.A., Loyola University, Chicago (1973)
- magna cum laude
- College of Labor & Employment Lawyers
- Association of Attorney Mediators
- State Bar of Texas
- Houston Bar Association
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