Cristina Garcia-Chapell: From Double Minority to Double Licensed

Pastrana & Garcia Injury Law

Office: 305 N Heatherwilde Blvd Suite 240, Pflugerville, TX 78660

Phone: 512.474.4487

Cristina Garcia-Chapell is Managing Partner of Pastrana & Garcia, a personal injury law firm located in Pflugerville at 305 N. Heatherwilde Blvd (Suite 240). Growing up in a country with as much inequality as Mexico, she felt the desire to seek the truth in situations of injustice, which she saw daily around her. This, coupled with the fact that her father’s four brothers and her paternal grandfather are lawyers, formed her life as she knows it today. Meaning, inspiration, and love for her profession come from her father and his example. Cristina’s father was a doctor, so she chose a profession where, like him, she could have the opportunity to help others. She wasn’t interested in medicine, but when she decided to become a lawyer, she decided that she would only use her profession as a tool to truly help others. 

Cristina Garcia-Chapell finds the opportunity to help families going through a traumatic event (ranging from a complex auto accident to the death of a loved one) as well as the opportunity to give a voice to people who would not know they have rights if it were not for her representation, as the most rewarding part of her profession. What differentiates her from other attorneys is the empathy that she displays for what her clients are going through. “Being a Hispanic woman in a country that was not always my home makes me understand exactly the sense of belonging that my clients yearn for,” intimates Cristina. “It (empathy) multiplies when they have a difficult situation that puts their health and the health of their families at risk.” Her extensive familiarity with Texas personal injury law is of equal importance, as it enables her to provide support to the Hispanic community, given her more than a decade-long experience in studying and enforcing the law.

Cristina cites that one of her most challenging hurdles to clear has been the fact that for decades, her industry was dominated by men. These were mostly White men, which means new generations of attorneys like herself who were a double minority (Woman and Hispanic), were sorely underrepresented. This did not make her bitter or angry, but it did mean that it was a great challenge for her to obtain the mentorship of senior Latina women attorneys who were successful, and who were familiar with the same challenges. Concerning this, Cristina states “I believe that as the years go by, each generation of graduating attorneys is loaded with Latinas, so it seems that it will be my generation’s turn to lead the way.” Despite the perceived limitations, Cristina managed to rise above the circumstances of history and industry to become a dual licensed attorney for both Mexico and Texas. This was an undertaking that was very satisfying for her to see come to fruition. 
Oddly enough, Cristina’s experience as a double minority is the same experience that gives her the strength to efficiently serve clients. “My Latina women clientele feel much more comfortable with me than they might feel with a man who doesn’t understand their culture or needs,” explains Mrs. Garcia-Chapell. “The feedback I have obtained from my male clients is that they feel I genuinely care for their cases as if they were my family.”

Speaking of family, Cristina works closely with her husband. This experience has taught her the true value of the old African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” She has learned that you will always do better when you are accompanied by the people you love the most, and succeed most when the right people join you along for the ride. Cristina proudly refers to this partnership as “solid and unbreakable.”

When Cristina was asked about her greatest successes, she had two ways of defining a “win.” “It is true that in the world of injury law, the only possible recovery from the negligent party who does wrong to the victim is money, so if we are talking about a “win” as a monetary term, I recently had one of my biggest wins when I settled a trench collapse case for $3.8 million. However, if we are talking about a win as something more transcendent, my greatest triumph has been finding a career in an area of law that gives meaning to my life.” Certainly, an attorney who approaches her profession with this state of mind is someone who truly embodies service and is worthy of being celebrated as one of the top lawyers in Central Texas. MyAustin Magazine salutes Cristina Garcia-Chappell for her important and tireless work.

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