SAN DIEGO PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION

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board of directors

 





Angela DeSaracho

PRESIDENT


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 time keeper 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

VICE PRESIDENT, MEMBERSHIP


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, product 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.


Christina is a member of the San Diego Paralegal Association, University of San Diego Paralegal Alumni Association, San Diego Legal Secretaries Association, National Notary Association, and other professional and academic associations. She has also published articles discussing continuing legal education opportunities, legal technology, and workplace productivity on LinkedIn and for SDPA's newsletter, Precedents.


Sheila Grela, ACP

VICE PRESIDENT, PROGRAMS & EDUCATION

Sheila Grela is a seasoned litigation paralegal with over two decades of experience. She earned her paralegal certificate with honors from the University of San Diego Paralegal Program – the nation’s first ABA-approved paralegal program.  She also obtained an Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) certification in eDiscovery from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). In 2021, she was nominated by the San Diego Paralegal Association (SDPA) for the California Alliance of Paralegal Association’s (CAPA) Paralegal of the Year award for her contributions to the paralegal community, including her involvement in its weekly online program Virtual Lunch with Leaders (VLL).

Sheila advanced her paralegal education by becoming both a Relativity Review Management Specialist (RRMS) and a Certified eDiscovery Specialist (CEDS). Her achievement in eDiscovery was recognized by EDRM – The Electronic Discovery Reference Model when she was appointed as a member of its Global Advisory Council.

She is a fierce advocate for education, training, professional development, and mentorship within the legal community.  VLL is her most recent adventure and allows her to implement each of these practices. VLL is jointly sponsored by SDPA, EDRM, and Practice Aligned Resources, and was developed to promote personal growth and professional development through discussions and presentations by and between leaders in legal industry and legal technology and the greater legal community.

In 2021, after having served as SDPA’s Vice President of Membership, she was elected Vice President of Programs and Education for the 2022 term, a volunteer position in which she currently serves.  In addition, she is a member of NALA’s Continuing Education Committee and an active member of the San Diego Chapter of Women in eDiscovery, where she currently serves as Assistant Director.


Tracy Morgan

VICE PRESIDENT, PUBLIC RELATIONS & MARKETING


Tracy Morgan possesses over 15 years of experience in the legal field, the last four years of which being exclusively in Family Law. Tracy is currently a lead paralegal at Cage & Miles, LLP where the partners rely on her support and expertise in complex divorces and high-conflict custody and visitation matters. 

Prior to working in family law, Tracy worked in civil litigation for 11 years. Before her first paralegal position, she earned her Paralegal Certificate from the University of San Diego Paralegal Program in 2008 and became a Notary Public in 2016.

In Tracy’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and son and watching The Ohio State Buckeyes.








Brianne Williams, CEDS

TREASURER

Brianne Williams is a Senior Litigation Paralegal at Twilio Inc., a cloud communications platform that developers use to unlock the magic of communications to improve any human experience. In her role, Brianne supports the legal department and business with all litigation related matters.

Previously, Brianne worked as the Senior Paralegal, Litigation and eDiscovery at AMN Healthcare Inc., an innovator in healthcare workforce solutions and staffing services to healthcare facilities across the nation. She also worked as the Litigation Paralegal at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law- MacArthur Justice Center, a public interest law firm advocating for human rights and social justice as well as working in collaboration with the Center for Wrongful Convictions for the exoneration of wrongfully convicted individuals, seeking justice against those who wrongfully convicted them through civil litigation.

Brianne received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and her ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. She is a Certified e-Discovery Specialist (CEDS), holds a Forensic Science and Technology Certificate and is a Concordance® Certified Software Administrator.

Brianne is a member of the Association of Certified eDiscovery Specialists, San Diego Chapter of Women in eDiscovery, San Diego Paralegal Association and California Alliance of Paralegal Association, Illinois Paralegal Association, and the American Bar Association.

In her personal time, Brianne enjoys traveling and spending time with her family, friends and french bulldogs.

Claire Hamilton
SECRETARY

Claire Hamilton has been working as a paralegal since February of 2015 and currently works at Burke & Domercq, LLP, where she practices family litigation.

Prior to that she worked as a paralegal for a sole practitioner, Reed Smith, practicing business litigation after receiving her paralegal certificate with honors from the University of San Diego’s ABA-approved paralegal program. Claire decided to enter the legal field after earning her Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in Human Rights from the University of California San Diego in June of 2013.

Outside of her profession Claire enjoys photography, traveling, and the occasional word play, as well as volunteering with the San Diego Paralegal Association to strengthen, promote, and empower the paralegal profession.


Amy Bevan

DIRECTOR, SCHOOL LIAISON


Amy Bevan is currently the Senior Paralegal at Graham Hollis APC, specializing in plaintiff's side employment law and protecting the rights of workers throughout California.


She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2003 from the College of William and Mary in Virginia with a focus in government and computer science, and has worked in a wide array of legal fields including oil and gas litigation, general civil litigation, criminal law and civil rights.


Amy is excited to be joining the San Diego Paralegal Association as a Director working as a School Liaison. She is a people person and loves providing ways for others to connect and share ideas.


Amy lives in the Roland Village neighborhood of San Diego with her boyfriend, dog, and bearded dragon. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, volunteering, traveling, hiking and the outdoors.




Sheba Candor, ACP 

DIRECTOR, SUSTAINING MEMBERSHIP


Sheba Candor, ACP currently serves as the Sustaining Membership Chair on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Paralegal Association and assists the Programs & Education Committee with its SDPA Cares activities, which focus on building community and promoting wellness within the paralegal community and beyond. 

Sheba has been a member of the SDPA since 2017. She first learned about the association during their annual Bridging the Gap Conference. In 2017, she obtained her ABA Paralegal Degree graduating with High Honors and as a member of the Paralegal National Honor Society, Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX) and has a Degree in Public Administration – Law, Public Policy, and Society with Honors.  Sheba was also the recipient of the 2017 SDPA Academic Excellence Scholarship Award. In 2022, she obtained her Advanced Certified Paralegal (ACP) credential from the NALA – The Paralegal Association. 

Sheba currently works as a Litigation Paralegal at a civil litigation firm, Noonan Lance Boyer & Banach, LLP and was recently promoted to Law Firm Administrator there.  Sheba aspires to give back to the legal community by finding and creating new opportunities for leadership, volunteerism, and mentorship.



 

Kristine M. Custodio Suero, ACP

DIRECTOR, NALA LIAISON


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.










Angela Michaels

DIRECTOR, BYLAWS


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.

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Michelle Pendleton

DIRECTOR, CAPA LIAISON


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 with Tyson & Mendes LLP, a fast-growing San Diego-based national law firm. Michelle specializes in civil litigation from claim commencement to post-judgment and has experience in general civil litigation, personal injury, medical malpractice, premises and products liability, construction defect, securities arbitration, family law, and transactions. She is committed to strengthening 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 voting member of the San Diego Paralegal Association and serves on the Board of Directors as the liaison to the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations, where she holds the position of Designated Director on behalf of SDPA.  Michelle is also a member of Women in eDiscovery and previously served on the Board of Directors 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.

   

Julia A. Schwartz

DIRECTOR, EMPLOYMENT


Julie Schwartz is currently employed at the Huerta Law Firm as a Paralegal/Business Development Manager, specializing in Bankruptcy, Criminal and Personal Injury Law. Prior to joining the Huerta Law Firm she worked at The Law Offices of Jeffrey R. Frank, specializing in civil litigation with an emphasis in personal injury law where she assisted in all phases from intake, investigation, property damage (inspection, evaluation, and settlement), coordination with medical providers and other professional/experts, claims presentation and evaluation, pleadings, discovery, law and motion, to ADR, and trial.


Highly motivated and dedicated to academic excellence, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Psychology and Spanish, and a minor in Interpersonal Communication from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2000. As an undergraduate student, she participated as the Vice President of Phi Chi wherein she actively coordinated campus events and established peer advising/career counseling for Psychology students. Additionally, she conducted and co-authored a research project entitled, “Attributions of Blame toward Assailants and Victims of Rape”, which ultimately received an award of “Best Paper” from the Midwestern Psychological Association. She was also afforded the opportunity to study at La Universidad de las Americas (UDLA), Puebla, Mexico. Upon her arrival to California, she became a Public Notary and completed the Paralegal Certificate Program at Miramar College. She obtained her Real Estate License in 2014 and is a 2016 graduate of the Citizens’ Academy.


A proponent of giving back to the community, from 2009-2010 Julie volunteered at the Center for Community Solutions’ Legal Clinic, assisting victims of Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault. In early April of 2010, she interned at Consorcio para el Dialogo Parlmentario y la Equidad Oaxaca (Consorcio), Oaxaca, Mexico. In 2011, Julie became a Director for the San Diego Paralegal Association (SDPA), wherein she served as the Vice-President of Membership. In 2012 she upheld the dual role of Vice-President of Membership and Vice-President of Programs & Education. In 2013-2014, she served as the SDPA President. In 2015, she upheld a dual role of Vice-President of Membership on the SDPA board as well as a Director on the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA). She is a co-founder of North County Abuse Prevention Services (NCAPS), a 501(c)(3) dedicated to the prevention of abuse.


She currently serves as the 2017 President of SDPA, Vice-President of Administration of CAPA, and Treasurer of NCAPS. She is also actively involved with the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego (CASD), San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association (SDLRLA), La Justicia, as well as the annual San Diego High School Mock Trial Competition and Couture for a Cause.


In her free time, she enjoys traveling, learning languages, cooking, running marathons, hiking, practicing her Martial Art, SooBahk Do, as well as spending time with her boys – Curious George and Diego.


Maureen C. Washington, ACP, CAS

DIRECTOR, BAR LIAISON


Maureen obtained her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Coppin State University in Baltimore, Maryland and her paralegal certificate from the ABA Approved Paralegal Program offered by the University of San Diego School of Law.  

Her educational journey has allowed her to obtain a California Notary Public Commission, and credentials as a California Advanced Specialist and NALA Certified and Advanced Certified Paralegal, both in discovery.

Currently, she serves as the San Diego Paralegal Association’s (SDPA) Bar Liaison Director and is also a member of the SDPA NALA Liaison Committee under the leadership of Kristine Custodio Suero. In, 2021, she enjoyed being a part of the SDPA Newsletter Committee under the leadership of Ellen Ly.

As a member of the California Alliance of Paralegal Associations (CAPA), National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA), the National Notary Association (NNA), the American Bar Association (ABA), the North County Bar Association, and the San Diego County Bar Association, Maureen’s mission is to propel the paralegal community into the future.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing, and pickleball.


Mailing Address:

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






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