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PODER Magazine’s list of “Te 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America for 2013.” “Because I’m a minority, I especially

At the time I felt I’d be better off if I took what I’d learned in the financial world and go back to law. My thoughts were I’d rather be a strong lawyer than a mediocre banker.


Laws degree in 1991. He returned to the firm in Caracas, where for several years his work centered on financial transactions. An investment bank offered him a position in Miami, not as a lawyer but as a vice president of structured finance for primarily Latin American companies. He accepted and has been in the U.S. ever since. Banking, says Gutiérrez, was not

his true calling. “It was during a typi- cal cyclical Latin American financial downturn, and my job wasn’t so much at risk as it was changing. At the time I felt I’d be better off if I took what I’d learned in the financial world and go back to law. My thoughts were I’d rather be a strong lawyer than a mediocre banker.” He left the bank on a Friday and

the following Monday started his new job in Morgan Lewis & Bockius’ Miami office as an international consultant. It felt right, he says, but without a juris doctorate from an American law school he could not be admitted to the bar. Gutiérrez worked by day and, for two years, attended evening classes at the University of


Miami School of Law. “It was very important for me to have that degree. It meant I was no longer just another foreign lawyer working in the U.S., but rather a U.S. lawyer who also had valuable experience in the practice of law abroad. Everything seemed set: My foundation for a career in private practice was in place. Ten that fall, Microsoft came a calling.” During Fred Humphries’ 13 years

with Microsoft, he has often worked with Gutiérrez, mostly doing advo- cacy on Capitol Hill. “He’s an excel- lent communicator,” Humphries, vice president of U.S. government affairs for Microsoft in Washington, says of Gutiérrez. “IP law can be nuanced. He does a great job of communicating about patents in particular and that’s very effective on the Hill. “Horacio is a doer,” says

Humphries. “If there’s something that needs to get done or someone who needs his help, he launches into action.” He adds that Gutiérrez is well-liked and admired within Microsoft, by members of Congress, and beyond. Gutiérrez was named in

appreciate Horacio’s tireless efforts in diversity,” continues Humphries, who is African American. Gutiérrez is a board member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and a regional president. He conceived and helped launch the HNBA/Microsoft IP Law Institute, a new partnership designed to increase the number of Latino lawyers in the U.S. practicing intellectual property. Each year the institute sends a group of 25 Hispanic law students to Washington, D.C., for a week, immers- ing them in the world of IP with visits to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Copyright Office, the White House, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears patent cases from across the country. “Attorneys can be intimidated by the IP field. Tere’s a common misconception that you need an engineering degree to practice IP law,” says Gutiérrez. “We dispel that notion over the week. We get it into the participants’ heads that the IP field is broad and holds many opportu- nities with and without an engineering background.” Gutiérrez knows there are chal-

lenges in the tech industry. He acknowledges the mobile market is competitive and Microsoft is currently fighting to reestablish its relevance in some fields. “Yet, in spite of or because of that,” he says, “it’s the most exciting place I can be now. When I started at Microsoft 15 years ago, I came to work at a company where the founders had done amazing things and created something incredibly successful. And now I have the chance to be part of the transformation of Microsoft, to make it a success and relevant for the next 20 years. I’m excited and moti- vated by that. It’s my turn to leave my fingerprints on the company.” D&B

Patrick Folliard is a freelance writer based in Silver Spring, Md.


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