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Christina Pastrana Hernandez
AL DÍA top government honoree Christina Pastrana Hernandez told attendees on Nov. 18 of her life dedication to work at the City of Philadelphia. Photo: Nigel Thompson/AL DÍA News

Christina Pastrana Hernandez talks her life dedication to work at the City of Philadelphia as AL DÍA’s government honoree for 2022 Top Lawyers

In her acceptance speech, she spoke about the challenges and the rewards of being the Chief of Staff at the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office.

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Inspired by her mother who always dreamed of her becoming a lawyer, Christina Pastrana Hernandez eventually indeed became one. 

When she was still a sophomore at Penn State University, she landed an internship at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, where law became her own dream. After graduating from Penn State with degrees in History and Spanish, Pastrana Hernandez pursued a law degree from Temple’s Beasley School of Law. 

After fulfilling her dreams of working at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for more than four years, and working for almost seven years at the Mayor’s Office; Pastrana Hernandez recently became Chief of Staff for Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in October 2022.

Now, for that ascent, Pastrana Hernandez was the government honoree at AL DÍA’s 2022 Top Lawyers celebration. In her speech, she thanked her family and colleagues; and talked about the ups and downs of daily life at City Hall. 

“It is a tremendous honor to be included in this group of individuals,” she said.  

Pastrana Hernandez shared the stage with other five honorees: Suzanne Prybella (In-House honoree), Michele Perez Capilato (Small Firm honoree), Julia López (Mid-Large Firm honoree), Juan Baez (Nonprofit honoree) and Romy Diaz (Lifetime Achievement honoree).  

She dedicated the award to her mother, who had also been a public servant for the federal government for over 30 years, retiring at the end of the year. 

For the past 11 years Pastrana Hernandez has proudly served the City of Philadelphia, she has dealt with a variety of matters — some trivial and others devastating. In her speech she mentioned Ikeem Johnson, who was shot to death in Northeast Philadelphia on the morning of Nov. 18. 

“While events like today make my job hard and sometimes keep me up at night,” Pastrana Hernandez added. “I continue coming in to work and working hard because of other incredible things we have been doing.” 

She also highlighted the arrival of asylum seekers earlier this week from Texas, who were dropped off at 30th Street Station on Wednesday morning, and how she couldn’t be more proud of the team of individuals treating them with dignity and respect. 

“That’s the reason I wake up every day,” she added. 

The immigrants were brought to a shelter and offered food, clothes and medical attention; things they did not have access to during their long journey. Pastrana Hernandez also made sure to thank and highlight her team for tackling such issues and serving together. 

To learn more about Pastrana Hernandez’s journey and the other honorees, click here.

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