Denisse O. Gastélum is an associate at Casillas & Associates, where she practices law in the areas of civil rights and catastrophic injury, representing plaintiffs in state and federal courts throughout the State of California. Ms. Gastélum was born in East Los Angeles into an immigrant family from Chihuahua and Sinaloa, México. Having come from humble beginnings, her commitment to advocating on behalf of those harmed by civil rights violations and catastrophic injuries comes naturally. Ms. Gastélum completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Political Science and Education. She then embarked upon her legal studies at Loyola Law School, where she served as a mentor for the Academic Support Program, a debate coach for the Johnnie Cochran Middle School Debate Program, a member of the review team for For People of Color, Inc., and a law clerk for The Cochran Firm. Following law school, she served as a Public Service Corps Fellow for the Honorable Teresa Sánchez-Gordon. Ms. Gastélum is the 2018 President of MABA. In 2017, Ms. Gastélum served as the President-Elect of MABA. During the first quarter of her term as the President-Elect of MABA, Ms. Gastélum organized the Los Angeles Minority Bar Associations’ Roundtable Discussion: What Makes America Great? The Roundtable Discussion was co-sponsored by twelve minority bar associations, including MABA, LLBA, Langston, IABA, JABA, BWL, MCBA, WLALA, APAWLA, APABA, SABA and LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles. By way of background, following the federal elections in November, various leaders from the Los Angeles minority bar associations came together and mobilized to bring an informative, action-driven panel geared towards equipping attorneys and law students with the necessary information and resources to help protect vulnerable communities and constitutional liberties. Throughout 2017, Ms. Gastélum has organized family readiness/emergency planning workshops with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These workshops are in direct response to the threat of mass deportation of Latino families under the Trump Administration. In 2016, Ms. Gastélum served as Vice President of MABA. In January of 2016, she co-chaired the Civil Rights MCLE Day where she organized and moderated the well-attended and extremely informative Body Cameras workshop. In February of 2016, she executed the MobileCause Fundraiser at MABA’s Annual Installation. This fundraiser was a first of its kind and has proven to be a reliable means to raise the necessary funds for MABA’s Federal Judicial Externship Program and High School Scholarship Program. In June of 2016, she planned the Annual Spring Mixer where the MABA community united to celebrate the accomplishments of its high school scholars, federal externs and the newly appointed judicial officers. Also in June, Ms. Gastélum co-chaired the MABA 2016 Supreme Court Review. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Gastélum proposed and solidified a partnership between MABA and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles wherein MABA would provide services to the community through legal fairs and naturalization and Know Your Rights workshops. In August of 2016, Ms. Gastélum served as the Chair for MABA’s Annual Legal Fair and organized the Town Hall Discussion: “Racial Injustice in the U.S.” alongside various leaders of the local minority bar associations. Ms. Gastélum previously served as the Treasurer of MABA during the presidency of Cindy Pánuco in 2015. During her tenure as Treasurer, she co-chaired two momentous events. The first event was the Community Legal Fair, which was not only co-sponsored by the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti but was also graced by the presence of the Mayor himself. The second event was the Spring Mixer, which made its nostalgic come back bringing Mabistas from all generations together. Ms. Gastélum was also invited to participate in the MABA México Feria Legal in Jalisco, México. Ms. Gastélum served as a Trustee during the presidency of Erick Solares in 2014. During her tenure as Trustee, she planned the Annual Softball Tournament and the Young Lawyers Career Expo, both events far exceeding their projected success. She was also invited to participate as a lecturer and mock trial participant during the October 2014 MABA México Criminal Trial Reform in Jalisco, México. Since first joining the MABA Board, Ms. Gastélum has served on various committees, including Installation, Judge’s Night, Political Endorsement Committee, Judicial Endorsement Committee, and the Bylaws Committee. Ms. Gastélum will serve as the 2018 President-Elect for the Latina Lawyers Bar Association. Throughout her tenure with LLBA, Ms. Gastélum has served in the capacity of Secretary, Dinner Chair and Scholarship Chair. She is also a founding member of the LLBA Young Lawyers Committee. Ms. Gastélum has also served as mentor for Motivating Our Students Through Experience, a non-profit organization geared towards mentoring young girls enrolled in middle schools and high schools located in underserved communities. Over the years, Ms. Gastélum has been invited to serve as a panelist on various panels regarding the practice of law and career advice.