HISPANIC BAR ASSOCIATION

ORANGE COUNTY

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2017 Officers & Directors

Eric M. Dominguez, President
Eric is an associate at David Hirson & Partners, LLP, where he leads the firm’s non-EB-5 practice area focusing on immigrant and nonimmigrant visas for families, small, mid-size, and large multi-national clients. A first-generation American and the first in his family to graduate from college, Eric obtained his Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Chapman University and his Juris Doctor degree from Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law. A member of the OCHBA since his first year of law school, Eric has served as a Board Member and Vice President before being serving as President-Elect in 2016. During his time with the OCHBA, Eric has worked to increase OCHBA community involvement through sponsorship, volunteerism, and outreach.

In addition to his work with the OCHBA, Eric  has also served as Chair of the Immigration Section of the Orange County Bar Association, Department of State liaison for the Southern California chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and on the Board of Directors of Community Lawyers, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing pro- and low-bono legal services in underserved communities. Eric was also named a "Rising Star" by Southern California Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016. In addition to his pro bono work for various organizations around Orange County, Eric also spent a week representing detained families at the Artesia Family Detention Facility in Artesia, New Mexico as part of the AILA Artesia Pro Bono Project.

Darrell P. White, President-Elect

Darrell White is an attorney with Weintraub Tobin, where his practice focuses on commercial and complex litigation. Mr. White also acts as outside general counsel to his clients, providing value and continuity in advising and coordinating legal services. Prior to joining the firm, he worked for an AmLaw 100 firm as well as the Santa Ana based law firm Hart, King.

Mr. White has served on the HBA Board since 2014, first as a Board Member and then as CFO. Mr. White also presented “Advance Conflict Waivers and Disgorgement Under Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP v. J-M Manufacturing” at the 2016 CLE Trip to Panama. He has been a Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Star since 2014.
 
As a community leader, Mr. White was awarded the 2016 Neighborhood Hero Award by the City of Santa Ana, Community Linkage Forum (Riverview). Growing up in a multicultural family of Mexican and Greek descent inspired him to become an attorney:
"I am blessed to come from a truly American-dream family. My maternal great-grandmother and paternal grandmother were both immigrants, from Mexico and Greece, respectively. On Dad's side of the family, my great-grandfather Sid White argued Oklahoma re-apportionment issues before the US Supreme Court. My family background drives me to achieve professional excellence and give back to my community. The HBA has been a fantastic organization for both, and I look forward to big things as we approach our 40th anniversary dinner in 2018!"

Above all else, Mr. White enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.

Darrell P. White can be reached at dwhite@weintraub.com or (949)760-0204.

Yolanda V. Torres, Vice President

Yolanda Victoria Torres was raised in Orange County. She attended California State University, Long Beach and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Minor in Spanish. She went on to pursue her law degree at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, in Sacramento, where she was actively involved in the Latino Law Student’s Association, serving both as Secretary and Vice-President.

After graduating from law school, Yolanda returned to Orange County to be close to her family and friends. Yolanda worked as an associate attorney in Beverly Hills for a Certified Family Law Specialist, handling celebrity divorce actions. She also worked for many years as an associate attorney in a family law firm in Orange County before she opened her own practice in May 2008. Her office is in Santa Ana.

Yolanda became a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization in November 2007. She prefers working in a boutique law firm setting as she believes that her clients are better served in that they are able to obtain the one on one attention they need. As the Principal for her own firm, she is very fortunate in that she represents clients from diverse backgrounds, whether it be from handling a celebrity matter, or high net worth client, or helping a Veteran in need, or some other pro bono matter.

Yolanda has served on the Board of Directors for the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association for the past three years. Yolanda has dutifully served the OCHBA by also serving on the annual scholarship dinner committee, travel committee, judicial evaluation committee, and has assisted in organizing events such as Navigating the Judicial Application and Appointment Process. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Banyard Inn of Court and on their Program Committee. In addition, she recently served on the Orange County Bar Association Mentoring Committee and the OCBA Nominations Committee. Yolanda has also volunteered her time by speaking at the OCHBA's travel seminars, the Celtic Bar Association travel seminar, and has spoken on Elimination of Bias in the legal profession for the Orange County Bar Association.

Yolanda is excited to serve as the OCHBA's Vice President this year and will continue her active involvement. She is excited as she will be teaching a course in family law this Spring as an Adjunct Faculty Member for Western State College of Law. She is hopeful that her teaching endeavor will further facilitate a link between law students and the practicing legal community.

Yolanda hopes to give back to the Latino community by promoting education, and mentoring for future attorneys. She loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Contact Information: 601 N. Park Center Drive, Suite 109, Santa Ana, California 92705, Phone (714) 541-5400, e-mail: yvtorres@yvtorreslaw.com. Website: www.divorcelawspecialist.com

Andre De La Cruz, CFO

Andre De La Cruz is an associate at Troutman Sanders LLP’s Orange County office.  Andre focuses his practice on patent litigation and prosecution.  In addition, Andre has devoted a significant amount of his practice to representing pro bono clients in many areas of the law including unlawful detainer, breach of contract, mortgage fraud, guardianships and regularly participates in the Federal Pro Se Clinic hosted by the Southern Division of the Central District of California.  In addition to being a member of the State Bar of California, Andre is also a member of the Patent Bar, and all of the District Courts of this state.
 
Andre is also actively involved in mentor programs that target minority communities, including the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Law School Si Se Puede program.  With the assistance and guidance of a member of the federal judiciary, Andre helped launch this program here in Orange County to support local high school seniors considering a career in the law and who come from populations traditionally under-represented in the U.S. legal community.
 
Prior to entering the legal field, Andre worked as a network and telecommunications engineer, achieving both undergraduate and graduate degrees in the evening.  Additionally, he is a disabled veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Bettina Yanez, Secretary

Bettina Yanez is a Certified Family Law Specialist practicing family law in Orange County & Los Angeles since 2000. She is the owner of the Family Law Offices of Yanez & Associates. She holds a degree in psychology from Pitzer College and a Juris Doctor from Western State University of Law.

She began her practice in Anaheim and soon relocated to Santa Ana then Tustin. As of 2010 her firm is located in the City of Orange. 

The Superior Court of California, County of Orange appoints Bettina to provide legal representation for minor child(ren) of parties and parents who have found to be indigent.  She is approved for appointment in the following panels: Minor’s Counsel, Termination of Parental Rights, Family Law Contempt and Paternity. 

As minor’s counsel she functions in a dual role, as the voice of the child and as a Friend of the Court. She can present evidence to the Court once it gets to trial, but otherwise acts as an advocate for the child. Moreover, in the family law contempt panel she serves as an assistant public defender in contempt cases where parents are facing jail-time for failing to pay their child support. 

Many of her clients describe her as an honest, assertive, “NO-BS” attorney that tells it like it is. She is very active in multiple organizations and believes in making time to give back to the community, both in giving of ones time and monetary means.

Bettina understands that divorce and family law issues have long-term effects on all family members, especially the children. As a child Bettina experienced the pain of divorce when her parents decided to dissolve their marriage. Therefore she knows and understands the pain and guilt children may be experiencing; therefore, she draws from her personal experience to better help her young clients involved in complex and highly contested custody cases. When appointed as minor’s counsel, Bettina takes special interest in her young clients in order to ensure that their rights are paramount.

Contact Information: 625 The City Dr S, Suite 490, Orange, California 92868, phone (714) 971-8000
email: BettinaYanez@yanezlaw.com .  Website: www.yanezlaw.com 


Lyo Figueroa, Immediate Past President
Attorney Lyo Figueroa is a native of Orange County, having been born and raised in Santa Ana, California. Mr. Figueroa has proudly served as a Board Member of the OCHBA since 2010. In 2014, Mr. Figueroa became the Vice President for the OCHBA and in 2015 he was elected the President-Elect for the OCHBA.

Mr. Figueroa has been in charge of the text-to-donate and the silent auction committee that raised thousands of dollars in donations for the organization. Mr. Figueroa's proudest accomplishments with the OCHBA to date has been in spearheading the mentoring program where he has helped pair up almost 100 mentors and mentees in just a couple of years.

Mr. Figueroa graduated from the University of California, Irvine in 2002 with a double major in Political Science and Criminology Law & Society and he received his Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School with a Concentration in Business Law in 2006.

Mr. Figueroa is the managing partner at Fontes | Figueroa Law Group, APC. Mr. Figueroa oversees the Workers Compensation department at the firm. Despite his busy schedule, Mr. Figueroa always manages to find time to donate his time back to the community through different vessels such as pro bono cases, volunteering at community events, or giving seminars to the community regarding pertinent legal issues.

2017 Board of Directors

Karla R. Bustamante

Karla R. Bustamante attended the University of California at Riverside where she earned a double Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Spanish Linguistics/Literature.  While completing her undergraduate studies Ms. Bustamante was involved with campus activities, working and volunteering at the Cesar Chavez Student Center, Families First Project, International Student Services and the ALS Association; she also worked as an intern for the Riverside District Attorney's Office Victim/Witness Unit and studied abroad in Spain. She attended Whittier College, School of Law where she earned her JD while working full time. 

Ms. Bustamante is currently an associate with Valencia & Associates, APC  in Santa Ana, California practicing immigration law.  Ms. Bustamante is licensed to practice before all courts in the State of California as well as the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She is a member of the Los Angeles Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, and Orange County Hispanic Bar Association.

Jimmy Cabral
Mr. Cabral 's practice focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, premises liability cases. He obtained his law degree from Western State University College of Law in 2012, and his undergraduate degree in Finance from the University of Massachusetts – Amherst in 2002. Mr. Cabral has been an active member of the Hispanic Bar Association of Orange County since 2009. He is admitted to practice in California and before the U.S. District Court, Central District.

Ivan Cisneros

Ivan U. Cisneros focuses his practice on business litigation and complex multi-party civil litigation. Mr. Cisneros has represented clients in breach of contract, fraud, unfair business practices, commercial lease disputes, and personal injury matters. After almost eight years in practice, Mr. Cisneros joined Myers Berstein LLP in September 2015.

Mr. Cisneros earned his Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from Chapman University with a minor in Comparative Literature. At Chapman University, Mr. Cisneros was a member of the cross-country team, he received the Provost’s Award multiple semesters for academic excellence, and he graduated with Honors from the Political Science Department.

Following his graduation from Chapman University, Mr. Cisneros attended Whittier Law School where he excelled academically. While in law school, Mr. Cisneros served as Associate Editor of the Whittier Law Journal of Family Law and Child Advocacy and he completed an internship with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office – Gang Unit. Exhibiting his tremendous work ethic, Mr. Cisneros worked full time as a banker for Union Bank for the first two and a half years of his law school career.

Steffi Gascón Hafen

Steffi Gascón Hafen is an associate at Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in the Private Client Services department where her practice is concentrated in taxation and estate planning matters.  Steffi also has experience in trust and probate administration, state and local taxation, succession planning for closely held businesses, and charitable planning and advising non-profit organizations.
 
Steffi attended USC Law where she was active in the Latino Law Students Association (formerly known as La Raza), the Latina Lawyers Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association.  She also worked at the USC Law Immigration Clinic where she assisted immigrants with their Asylum and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) claims.  She received the Dr. Rodolfo Montes Scholarship three years in a row for her dedication to the Latino community.  She also received the Edward S. and Eleanor J. Shattuck Award upon graduation from the USC Law faculty for exhibiting the greatest potential for becoming an outstanding member of the bar.
 
Prior to law school, Steffi attended UC Santa Barbara where she double majored in Psychology and Law and Society.  After graduating from USC Law with her J.D., she attended Loyola Law where she obtained her LL.M. in Taxation.
 
Steffi’s father and grandparents emigrated from Cuba in the late 1960s.  Her family’s experiences as Spanish speaking immigrants had a profound impact on her upbringing and her desire to give back to the Latino community.  Steffi is proud to serve on the OCHBA Board where she can continue to make an impact on the Latino community.

Jeannette Garcia

Jeannette Garcia is an associate attorney at the Law Offices of Maciel & Ayala, LLP, located in Santa Ana.

Jeannette grew up in Orange County and attended the University of California, Irvine (“UCI”) where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology, Law and Society and Psychology and Social Behavior.

While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, she interned with the Juvenile Defenders, where she established an interest in law. After graduating from UCI in 2010, she began her career in the legal field as a paralegal for a family law firm in Orange County.

Jeanette received her Juris Doctorate from Western State College of Law (“Western State”) in 2015, graduating Cum Laude. She was admitted to the California State Bar in December 2015.

While at Western State, she received a merit-based full-tuition scholarship for two years and earned a Criminal Law Certificate. Additionally, she was part of the Law Review, Mock Trial Team, and she was Co-President of the Latino Student Bar Association.

Jeannette has been a member of the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association since 2013 and now serves as a Board member where she hopes to continue serving the Latino legal community.

CAROLINA C. GOMEZ

Carolina C. Gomez is a Nicaragua native who was raised in Los Angeles and Puerto Rico.

After finishing high school in Puerto Rico, Ms. Gomez returned to California to attend Azusa Pacific University, obtaining her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. Ms. Gomez also attended Western State University College of Law to obtain her law degree. In 2012 Ms. Gomez established her law practice to serve the Santa Ana community and surrounding areas. She focuses on Immigration litigation and appeals as well as Criminal defense. 

As an immigrant herself, she has a deep-rooted passion to educate and empower the Latino immigrant community via her law practice and other avenues such as working with the Santa Ana High School Legal Skills Academy and speaking at domestic violence advocate training panels.

Ms. Gomez is a member of the State Bar of California has been licensed to practice law since 2009. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the OC Hispanic Bar Association and OC Women Lawyers Association. She is also a member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, Immigration Section; Orange County Bar Association; Latina Lawyers Bar Association; and American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Diana González

Diana Gonzalez was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. She graduated from the University of California Los Angeles, in 2007 earning her Bachelor Degree in Psychology. She then received her Juris Doctorate Degree from Southwestern Law School in December of 2011 and was admitted to the California Bar in February of 2012.

During law school, Diana clerked for the Honorable Amy Pellman at the Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court in Los Angeles, California. Diana also gained valuable experience while clerking under the supervision of Mary L. Mucha at the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Immigration Project.

Diana is currently an associate with the Fontes|Figueroa Law Group, APC. Her practice areas include Immigration Law, Removal representation, and Workers' Compensation. As a Board Member, Diana hopes to give back to the Hispanic community of Orange County by promoting education and excellence.

MIchael Mooney
Michael Mooney is a Deputy Public Defender in Orange County and former associate attorney at the Law Offices of Thomas A. Johnson in Sacramento, CA. Michael grew up in Orange County before leaving to attend the University of California, San Diego for his undergraduate degree, and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law for his J.D. While attending law school, Michael was a law clerk at the Office of the Federal Defender, participated in a pro bono tax clinic for migrant farm workers, participated in a parole representation clinic, and acted as a mentor to underprivileged youth in the Sacramento area. Michael recently helped coach the Santa Ana High School Mock Trial Teams and looks forward to continuing to work with the kids. This background has acted as a base for what Michael is committed to: protecting and fighting for the rights of the indigent, marginalized, and people without a voice.

Beverly Moranda

Beverly D. Moranda is a native of Southern California and the epitome of the American Dream.  She is the youngest daughter of Mexican immigrants, both of whom were child laborers and neither of whom had the opportunity to attend or graduate high school. Ms. Moranda is the sixth of seven children and a first generation college graduate.  She is also the first in her family to obtain an advanced degree and thus, understands first-hand the unique challenges faced by Hispanic first-generation college graduates who  transition to first-generation professionals. 

Ms. Moranda graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of La Verne, with a Bachelor's in Political Science and a minor in sociology.  She earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of La Verne, College of Law.  Ms. Moranda was admitted to the bar in June 2013.  She worked as a family law associate at an immigration, criminal, and family law firm and as an associate attorney at a family law firm in Orange County before opening her own practice.  Ms. Moranda limits her practice to family law litigation. 

Ms. Moranda is an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.  Her hobbies include competing in 5K's, 10K's, and 10 mile races.  She is currently training for a half-marathon.  Ms. Moranda also enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

Nick Myers

Nicholas is a founding partner of MYERS BERSTEIN LLP, a six attorney intellectual property and business litigation firm.  A 2007 graduate of Whittier Law School, Nicholas has focused his entire legal career on intellectual property and related matters—both transactional and litigation.  His firm’s clientele range from entrepreneurs to high-net worth individuals, family-owned businesses to multinational corporations.  He has built a practice and reputation as a trusted advisor to his clients and other attorneys.
 
Nicholas has been active for many years in the Orange County Bar Association and the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce as well as the Hispanic Bar Association, with his firm sponsoring this year’s installation dinner.  He looks forward to the opportunity to contribute further to the Hispanic Bar Association as a member of the Board.

Christian F. Pereira

Christian F. Pereira is an Orange County native whose civil litigation and trial practice includes representing people injured by others, products and police excessive force. Mr. Pereira grew-up bilingual—the son of immigrant parents—and is therefore able to directly communicate with his clients in their native tongue. Mr. Pereira delivers high-value results, even in the toughest liability cases that require appeal, including Carrera v. Maurice J. Sopp & Son  177 Cal.App.4th 366 (2009).

Mr. Pereira graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles earning a Juris Doctor, the University of California, Riverside with a Master of Arts in Political Science and from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations.

Outside the practice of law, Mr. Pereira enjoys spending time with his family, hiking or biking through trails and being a handyman at home.

Leo Presiado

Leo J. Presiado is a partner with the international law firm Brown Rudnick, LLC.  Leo is an experienced business litigator with a distinguished track record of successfully representing clients in complex, high-stakes lawsuits. He has extensive expertise litigating cases in both state and federal court, including business torts, unfair competition, fraudulent transfer claims and all variety of contract disputes. Leo is also an accomplished appeals court lawyer having briefed and argued cases before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the California Court of Appeal and the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. He has also served as an instructor of Commercial Law at the University of California, Irvine and as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Chapman University School of Law.

Leo is the son and grandson of Mexican immigrants who still own and operate the oldest Mexican restaurant in the South Bay Area, Leo's Mexican Food.  Leo serves the Hispanic community through the Public Law Center and previously, El Centro Legal.

Gabriela Ramirez

Ms. Ramirez represents clients in immigration matters before the Executive Office of Immigration Review, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Her work includes litigation at the trial level and appellate level. Ms. Ramirez also represents clients in criminal matters in Los Angeles and Orange County. 

Ms. Ramirez has experience in deportation defense, U-visa applications, VAWA applications, inadmissibility waivers, adjustment of status, federal appellate advocacy, and all aspects of criminal defense. 

Ms. Ramirez earned her Juris Doctorate at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Ms. Ramirez also earned her Master's Degree in Education at Loyola Marymount University and she earned her Bachelor's Degree in English at California State University, Long Beach. 

At Loyola, Ms. Ramirez was a member of the Center for Juvenile Law and Policy, where she represented minors charged with crimes. Ms. Ramirez was also a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court team, the Scott Moot Court Team, and the American Bar Association Moot Court Team. Through her membership in these teams and her participation in national competitions, Ms. Ramirez was awarded First Place Winner, Top Ten Brief, Best Oral Advocate and Best Overall Advocate. Ms. Ramirez also gained experience in legal research and writing as a clerk for the Honorable Michael Nash at the Los Angeles Superior Court. 

Prior to attending law school, Ms. Ramirez was a sixth grade teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District. As a 2005 Teach for America Corps Member, Ms. Ramirez taught language arts and social studies at Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Middle School in mid-city Los Angeles. It was there that Ms. Ramirez's passion for serving the community blossomed.

Ms. Ramirez was admitted to the California Bar in 2012 and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 2013.

Sasha Tymkowicz

Sasha Tymkowicz Vidaurre is the founder of the professional law corporation, Law Offices of Sasha Tymkowicz with offices serving Orange County and San Bernardino. Sasha has been lawyering since 2004 in the areas of family law and personal injury. As the leader of her law practice, a large part has been devoted to meeting the needs of the Latino community as heritage and compassion calls from Mexico and Argentina.

  • Experienced in jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations and mediations
  • Co-Chair of the Judicial Committee for the OCHBA
  • Co-Chair of the Membership Committee of the OCHBA
  • Frequent CLE speaker

Family-oriented and driven, as the mother of three teenagers, the busy lifestyle of the practicing lawyer and business manager has provided for skilled time-management and insight.

An alumni from Chapman University, Western State College of Law and licensed to practice with the State and Federal Courts of California.

Kristen Zierhut

Ms. Zierhut obtained her law degree from Western State University College of Law in 2012 and her undergraduate degree in Finance from Cal State University Fullerton in 2009 where she graduated with honors.

While in law school, Ms. Zierhut was a Dean's Fellow based on academic excellence and received the Witkin Award for Academic Excellence in Community Property, Wills & Trusts Drafting, and Introduction to Legal Methods.

During law school Ms. Zierhut completed internships with the LA District Attorney's Major Crimes Unity, CA Army National Guard JAG Unit, and a summer clerkship with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yvette Palazuelos.

Ms. Zierhut frequently volunteers her time providing legal services in the community and in recognition for commitment to public service, Ms. Zierhut was awarded a Certificate of Exemplary Public Service, after completing more than 800 hours of community service while in law school. Thereafter the State Bar of California awarded Ms. Zierhut the Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services for excellence in community service.

Ms. Zierhut is very well known and extremely involved in the Orange County legal community, specializing in Workers Compensation and Employment and Labor Law. Ms. Zierhut is a zealous advocate for her client's.

Past Presidents

Michael J. Silvas
Hon. Frederick P. Aguirre
Hon. Gregory Muñoz
Wallace R. Davis
Jess Araujo
Albert Mercado
Frank J. Valdez
Hon. Salvador Sarmiento
David A. Valles
Diane Nordby Valdez
Gilbert Maturino
Maurice Sanchez
Richard Armendariz
Alfredo M. Amezcua
Arturo M. Cisneros
Ruben A. Smith
George W. Abbes
Albert Mercado
Rebecca Jurado
Joseph L. Chairez
Cory Aguirre
Darren O. Aitken
Claudia Alvarez
John J. Isaza
Jamie Duarte
Fabio Cabezas
Federico Sayre
José Urcis
Lisa D. Ramirez
Lorena C. Peñaloza
Norma García Guillén
Monica E. Lukoshek
Carlos X. Colorado
Genoveva Meza Talbott
José González
Mayte Santacruz
Diana Lopez
Rafael G. Nendel Flores
Lyo Figueroa
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