Elena attended law school with the sole intention of becoming a champion for justice. She graduated law school in 1992, and rose quickly through the ranks at the Los Angeles County Public Defenders office – becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the office to handle death penalty cases. From 2008-2012 she served as President of the Public Defenders Employees Association, representing the interests of more than 700 lawyers in the office. She has mentored new lawyers in the office for the past 15 years and is passionate about helping all lawyers become better advocates for their clients.
In her twenty years of courtroom experience, Elena has tried nearly every type of criminal case: from DUI and prostitution to serious and violent felonies such as rape, robbery, child abuse and murder. She has settled a countless number of cases in her career, and is known as the “closer” for her ability to obtain extremely favorable results for her clients, should they opt against a trial. One of the most treasured and humbling moments in her career came when a grateful client showed up in her office to thank her for her work on his behalf. He raised his shirt to reveal a tattoo with her name on it and the date of his acquittal for first degree murder. He told her he wanted to carry her name with him forever as a way of saying thank you for saving his life.
She is a sought-after speaker and trainer on legal issues involving all aspects of a jury trial and for her unique ability to relate courtroom lessons to all walks of life. In addition to training and mentoring attorneys in the art of trial practice, she trains people in all professions in the art of persuasion and communication, showing them how to convey ideas in a way that persuades people to action.
While on a non-trial assignment in 2000, Elena used her free evenings to develop a one-woman show. A club owner saw her perform and encouraged her to get involved in stand-up comedy. She performed at comedy clubs throughout Los Angeles, and eventually landed her own weekly show which ran from 1999-2001. Currently she puts those skills to use while performing at company events where she expertly mixes irreverent humor and passionate inspiration to entertain, enlighten and inspire lawyers and non-lawyers alike.