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board of directors


Angela DeSaracho


Angela DeSaracho is a seasoned paralegal and currently works as the TM Quality Director for Tyson & Mendes, a fast-growing San Diego based national law firm. She has dedicated the past 10+ years of her career to law working with all levels of management. She has managed medium to large teams focusing on civil litigation, optimizing resources, streamlining systems & procedures, training, with a sharp focus on focusing on employment development, and quality control. Angela specializes in civil litigation from pre-litigation through trial, and credits her experience and skill sets to her paralegal career as both a timekeeper and in administrative riles within a firm.

Angela graduated from San Francisco State University with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and an emphasis in law. On her spare time enjoys traveling, doing DIY projects, and spending time with loved ones.

Christina Hough


Christina Hough is a seasoned legal paraprofessional having worked as a senior paralegal on the in-house litigation team of a Fortune 10 company and a legal secretary on the Business Trials team at an AmLaw 50 firm among prior roles. She has more than 20 years of experience working as a member of pre-litigation and litigation teams at small businesses, large enterprises and law firms of varying sizes and specialties. She has extensive experience in general civil litigation matters, including personal injury, products liability, premises liability, construction defect, pharmacy and administrative law, small claims, and other specialized areas of law.  She has also argued in court trials before small claims courts in various jurisdictions throughout the western United States and as a result, has obtained numerous defense verdicts on behalf of a Fortune 10 company.  

Christina earned her B.A. in Public Administration from Southern New Hampshire University, graduating summa cum laude and as a Distinguished Scholar with a 4.0 GPA. She received her paralegal certificate with honors in Generalist Curriculum from the University of San Diego Paralegal Program - the very first paralegal program in the U.S. to receive American Bar Association approval. She has completed all coursework for the e-Discovery Certificate program developed by the EDI (Electronic Discovery Institute) Distance Learning Initiative and is in the process of writing an article for EDI approval.  She just completed her first year of law school at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Christina is a member of the San Diego Paralegal Association, University of San Diego Paralegal Alumni Association, National Notary Association, and other professional and academic associations. She has also published articles discussing continuing legal education opportunities, legal technology, workplace productivity, and human interest stories on LinkedIn and for SDPA's newsletter, Precedents. She recently received recognition as the 2023 Notary of the Year awarded by the National Notary Association and the National Association of Legal Assistants Affiliates Award for her work on SDPA's 2022 inaugural Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Educational Conference. She was also recognized by the San Diego Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in Law in 2023, along with fellow board member Kristine Custodio Suero.

Perla D. Cuevas


Mrs. Perla D. Cuevas is the Regional Officer Manager for Tyson and Mendes and a Professor at SDSU. At Tyson and Mendes she oversees the Los Angeles, Orange County and the Las Vegas, Nevada office. Prior to managing she worked as an employment defense paralegal offering trial and arbitration support to various entities such as: Dorchester Collection, sbe Entertainment, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Grill Concepts, Kimpton Hotel Group, Remington Hotels, Qualcomm, SCL Health, San Diego Unified School District, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. She has helped handle administrative and civil employment matters before state courts and government agencies. She has been involved in a variety of matters including wage & hour class action lawsuits, PAGA actions, audits, workplace investigations, labor relations, class action lawsuits, and wrongful termination litigation. She has also assisted in workplace trainings, review and development of workplace policies and procedures.  As a professor, Mrs. Cuevas teaches HR Law 1 and HR Law 2 at San Diego State University. Go Aztecs!

Mariana Arrizon Padilla 


Mariana is a driven professional who has worked in the legal field for the past five-plus years. She gained experience working in civil litigation and employment law and received her Paralegal Certificate in 2020 from the University of San Diego.

She now works as a Compliance and Policy Specialist and is passionate about understanding the complexities of the law and improving her craft.

When she's not busy with her career, she loves going on hikes with her pup, learning to play the violin, and working on her many creative projects.

Angela Michaels


Angela Michaels is a litigation paralegal specializing in insurance bad faith litigation. She currently supports a premier Business Trial team at an Am Law 50 firm.

Angela has extensive legal experience involving complex corporate matters, SEC investigations, FINRA examinations, aviation matters, personal injury claims, employment matters and patent prosecution.

Angela earned her B.A. from the University of California San Diego and her ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate with honors from Southwestern College. She is in the process of obtaining certification as an eDiscovery specialist.

Angela is a member of the San Diego Paralegal Association, San Diego Chapter of Women in eDiscovery and the Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialist.

In her spare time, Angela enjoys spending time with family and friends, home remodeling, horseback riding, tennis, wildlife rescue, poetry slams, and practicing Hwa Rang Do.

Kristine M. Custodio Suero, ACP


Kristine Custodio Suero is an award-winning legal professional and a highly sought after speaker in her profession inspiring legal professionals to achieve authentic, purpose-driven careers and lives. A true servant leader, she has lead the San Diego Paralegal Association and California Alliance of Paralegal Associations as President and is proud to champion diversity as the first Filipina at the helm of the statewide professional trade association.

Her passion for service spans into education like her elders including her own mother, Zena (yes, pronounced like the warrior princess). A zealot for higher education and NextGen pipeline development, Kristine teaches legal courses for a local San Diego paralegal program and lends her time as an advisory board member for one of the most prestigious universities in San Diego.

She is most passionate about the innovation economy and dedicates her time to inclusive economic development projects, including employee ownership, and endeavoring to advance women in business, especially in non-traditional roles and industries such as STEAM and construction. Kristine was recently re-appointed as a commissioner and serves as the Chair of the City of San Diego Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission advocating for supplier diversity in contracting with the City of San Diego and bridging the rich cultural landscape of her beloved city with opportunities of economic impact to build a vibrant place to live, work and play.

Michelle Pendleton


Michelle Pendleton is a seasoned paralegal with more than 20 years of experience working in law firms of varying sizes and specialties. She is currently a Litigation Paralegal, working with attorneys in the land use, environmental, natural resources groups at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP, a California-based Am Law 200 law firm. Michelle specializes in civil litigation and eDiscovery. She has significant experience in case management throughout the entire litigation life cycle, discovery, case analysis, legal research, and large-scale document review. Michelle is also well-versed in professional malpractice, eDiscovery, commercial and construction litigation, and arbitration. She is committed to strengthening the training, education, and growth to expand paralegal roles in the practice of law.

Michelle received her paralegal certificate with honors in Generalist Curriculum from the University of San Diego Paralegal Program – the very first paralegal program in the U.S. to receive American Bar Association approval. She is a member and Director of the San Diego Paralegal Association, serving as the chair of the Pro Bono/Community Outreach Committee.  Michelle is also a member of Women in eDiscovery, a member of Allen Matkins’ Community Outreach Committee, and a current project team member with EDRM. She previously served on the board of the Orange County Paralegal Association.

Outside of her profession Michelle enjoys traveling, reading, and barre. She hopes to strengthen, promote, and empower the paralegal profession both within and without her workplace.

Miriam Montiel 


Miriam is an experienced litigation legal assistant with 6+ years of experience in the fast-paced defense firm. Her main expertise lies in assisting with trial preparation, document management and file organization while staying organized and having excellent attention to detail.

In addition to her legal work, Miriam is also passionate about the arts. She has a creative side and loves to express herself through knitting, ceramics, sculpture and fashion. She is an artistic individual who loves to be creative.

Priyanka Bitra


Reina Rodriguez 


Mailing Address:

501 W. Broadway, Suite A-220
San Diego, CA 92101

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