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  • 18 Sep 2019 7:00 AM | Anonymous

      AMN Healthcare, Inc., an innovator in healthcare workforce solutions and staffing services to healthcare facilities across the nation. AMN offers facilities the ability to efficiently balance staff management with the achievement of key financial, operational and clinical goals.

    Voting MEMBER(S):

    Luz Lopez

    Ms. Lopez was born in San Diego, California and is from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. She is currently a paralegal with Johnson Fistel. 

    Ms. Lopez graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2019, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science (Public Law). Ms. Lopez received her ABA Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, San Diego in 2019. 

    Ms. Lopez is a member of Maria Reina Catholic Church in Tijuana. She enjoys reading, singing, playing guitar, composing songs, and taking care of her cat Nina. 

    Ms. Lopez had her grandfather and father to thank for her passion towards the legal field.  Her grandfather, Luis Humberto Lopez Gutierrez, founded the first school of law in Tijuana at Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (UABC).  She inherited her love for writing from her father, Luis Humberto Lopez Torrescoto. 


    Sherry Johnson

    I hail from Seattle originally.  However, I have lived in Southern California for 13 years and San Diego for 1 year and 4 months.  I am currently enrolled in classes at University of San Diego.  I am taking the extended day course, which I will complete in April, 2020.  

    Hobbies and interests? Well that's a fun subject! I love rock climbing, canyoneering, snow skiing (on and off piste), road cycling, crocheting (yes it's true), baking, and lounging at the pool.

    The past 18 years I've been in the dental field.  As much a I love my patients and my profession, mt back was getting tired of leaning over patients on a daily basis.  Recently married, I've found that I wanted to back to school and work in the legal field to aid my husbands growing Law Firm.  He is a solo and needs someone he can trust working as a paralegal for him to help reduce the overall cost for his clients.  Plus, it's a wonderful step into a new field that fascinates me.  


    Be sure to say hello to our new members:

    Rachel Beardsley
    Hollie Berman
    Samantha Dice
    Ashley Dominguez
    Ashley Engelman
    Yvonne Hunt
    Sherry Johnson
    Mayra Langer
    Yuwei Lee
    Luz Lopez
    Candice Markowitz
    Evelyn Ngo
    Gabriela Sil
    Pervinder Singh
    Mia Watson-Good

    Want to be featured on our next Members Spotlight Blog? 

    Are you a new SDPA Member? Want to share your journey? Inspiring stories? 

    Send your short, informal biography and a small photo to Membership, include the following:

    • where you are from
    • where you are going to school or went 
    • where do you work
    • hobbies/interests/ something unique about you 
    • why you want to work in the legal field 
  • 9 Sep 2019 7:04 PM | Anonymous

    By Dawn Regner

    Tom Homann LGBT Law Association 


    Brief History: 

    The Tom Homann LGBT Law Association (THLA) exists to carry on the legacy of its namesake, attorney Tom Homann, who fought for the rights of the gay and lesbian community during the late 1970's and 1980's.  "The hallmark of [Tom's] efforts was to empower those who were shunned by society and to prevent the government from silencing minority voices."  Tragically, Tom died of AIDS in 1991 at the young age of 42, but his impact on San Diego's LGBTQ community and beyond is felt even today, and his work continues through the ongoing efforts of THLA members.


    The mission of THLA is to support and advance gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues, both on a national basis and in the state of California. THLA also provides a place for San Diego's LGBTQ's lawyers to network together and further develop their careers through events such as educational and networking events, law student receptions and awards dinners.  Members actively participate in LavLaw, the nations largest legal conference promoting LGBTQ issues, sponsored annually by The National LGBT Bar Association.  

    Services offered: 

    THLA offers numerous CLE and networking opportunities, such as its upcoming "LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace CLE", to be held Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019 at 6:00 pm (free of charge to THLA & SDPA members).  Additionally, THLA offers a mentoring program for current law students, as well as scholarships opportunities.  

  • 26 Aug 2019 10:37 PM | Anonymous

    By Dawn Regner

    Name/Entity: Voices for Children


    A Brief History:

    On any given day, roughly 3,000 children in San Diego County face the challenges of the foster system.  Incredibly, those children generally remain in the system for an average of 40 months - that's more than 3 years. 

    Voices for Children (VFC) was founded in 1977 by Judge David Soukup in Seattle, Washington. The heartbeat of VFC’s solutions-based approach is its Court Appointed Special Advocate (or, CASA) program. There are currently around 1,000 active CASA programs in the United States, consisting of approximately 80,000 volunteers. Voices for Children describes their mission as follows:

    Voices for Children transforms the lives of abused, abandoned, or neglected children by providing them with trained volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). Voices for Children believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, and to that end, will provide a trained CASA volunteer to every abused, abandoned, or neglected child who needs one, and advocate to improve the lives of foster children.

    Services offered:

    Voices for Children provides evaluation, monitoring, and advocacy to foster children in San Diego through their Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program.  As the name suggests, the CASA serves as an advocate for the foster child assigned to them and is officially appointed by a Juvenile Court judge.  Through their court-assigned designation, the CASA becomes involved in the child's case, gains access to their records, and serves as the court's "eyes and ears" for the child.  They act as fact-finders for the court, and provide them with vital information in order to properly assess the child's welfare.

    CASAs attend Advocate University, where they receive 35 hours of training to fully equip them, and, at the end of the training, are sworn in as officers of the court by a Juvenile Dependency Court judge. CASA's are also matched with an Advocacy Supervisor who will work closely with them throughout their case.  CASA's must make a minimum 18-month commitment, and generally volunteer an average of 10-15 hours/month.

    How Can I Help?

    Those interested in the program can attend a Volunteer Information Session to learn all the details.     

  • 21 Aug 2019 7:00 AM | Anonymous

      As the world’s leading provider of global legal support services, TLS has worked with every Am Law 200 and Global law firm, as well as the majority of Fortune 500 corporate legal departments. Since our founding in 1992, we’ve completed over 200,000 projects across every legal field and practice area. With 90+ offices worldwide and 20+ global production locations, we’re able to provide full end-to-end solutions to support your practice. 

      We provide the following solutions: 

    •       Translation & Language services
    •       Deposition & Trial Support
    •        Managed Review & Legal Staffing
    •        Technology Assisted Review
    •        Paper Discovery & Production

    Contact Name: Ryan Paris

    Contact email:


    June Hunter (SDPA's 2019 Paralegal of the Year) 

    June Hunter has worked for many mid and large sized law firms with her experience beginning in 1990. June has worked in many different capacities during her career which have included legal secretary, Firm Wide Trainer/IT Help Desk, Litigation Support and Paralegal. June’s experience has required her to perform on multiple levels including as an eDiscovery analyst, technological trainer, as well as providing customer support through manning of the IT helpdesk and in the litigation support role during trial.

    In her role as a paralegal she has assisted in the preparation of documents for commercial real estate transactions, litigation documents, government RFP’s, multiple environmental actions and assisted with HR and employee related legal issues. June is instrumental in the implementation discovery plans for litigation including assisting with data analysis and setting up the database or other review systems for other legal personnel.

    June has experience in many different areas of the law including IP, litigation, corporate, real estate and transactional. June has worked in a training and IT support capacity and provided training firm wide to employees on Microsoft Office products, various eDiscovery platforms and other legal software as well as assist with the management of a Salesforce database.

    June currently works at CGS3 as a Paralegal and IT Services professional. She assists the litigation department with their eDiscovery projects and provides IT customer support and help desk services firm wide. June is an adjunct teacher at UCSD Extension in their ABA approved Paralegal Studies program teaching Computers for Paralegals. June also volunteers her time to education other legal professions including teaching classes through the San Diego Legal Secretaries Association.

    Amy Bevan

    My name is Amy – I was born in San Diego, lived a bunch of places from the age of 7 on (including Virginia, D.C., Paris, Boston, San Francisco….) and am now back in my hometown! I work at GrahamHollis as a paralegal and love it. The only job I’ve liked better is my time as a ball girl for the Washington Nationals….but that didn’t quite pay the bills   In my non-paralegal time, I enjoy hanging out with my 5 pound pipsqueak of a dog and my not 5 pound boyfriend, being outside doing ANYTHING (hammocking, hiking, laying in the grass), Padres baseball, and the many fine breweries we have here in San Diego. Looking forward to meeting everyone and becoming involved in SDPA!


    Sheba Candor, CCLS

    Sheba Candor has been a member of SDPA since 2017. She is appreciative of the networking and educational opportunities she has gained over the years which has helped her to move from Office Services Clerk to Legal Secretary, Paralegal, and Office Manager Liaison at the nationwide law firm of Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, P.C. Sheba obtained her American Bar Association (ABA) paralegal degree in 2017 from Miramar College, graduating with High Honors and as a member of the Paralegal National Honor Society, Lambda Epsilon Chi (LEX), and she was the recipient of the 2017 SDPA Academic Excellence Scholarship Award.

    Sheba is currently enrolled in UCSD Extension’s Certified Legal Assistant/Paralegal (CLA/CP) preparatory course and plans to sit for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) Certified Paralegal exam later this year. 

    On the side, Sheba works as a youth soccer coach. Though, her passion is “charity running” and as an avid runner she trains for races with a running group called the Cheetah Charity Runners while raising money for a local non-profit called the Emilio Nares Foundation. ENF helps low-income, underprivileged families meet basic needs, especially transportation to Rady Children’s Hospital to receive life-saving cancer treatments. 

    Over the past 8 years, she has raised nearly $30,000 for cancer research for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and for cancer support services for the Emilio Nares Foundation—two important non-profits focused on cancer research and cancer support services for children. 

    Sheba is currently serving on the Board of the San Diego Legal Secretaries Association (SDLSA) as Treasurer. Last year, she served as a Director of Marking/Advertising, and in 2017, served on the Career Promotion/Scholarship committee. She enjoys networking and volunteering in the legal community, and is an active member of SDPA, SDLSA, and Women in eDiscovery (WiE).

    Diana Murphy

    My name is Diana Murphy and I’ve lived in San Diego for 19 years. I graduated from UCSD with a Bachelors in History and a Minor in Linguistics in 2014. I received my Paralegal Certificate from USD in 2018. I currently work for the Construction practice team at Procopio Cory Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP. My hobbies/interests include painting, dance, Pilates and plant-based cooking. I’ve been interested in the legal field since the fourth grade, where my class learned the basics of law and prepared for a mock trial. I also served on a jury panel for a challenging criminal case in 2015. The focus on detail and diligence required in legal procedure is what intrigues me about the law, particularly the criminal sector. I am especially drawn to the formalities of the courtroom. My long-term goal is to not only serve as a Paralegal, but to gain enough experience and impact to be able to teach others about the law.


    Priscilla Abugaber-Mercado

    I was born and raised in sunny San Diego, California, and currently still residing in this beautiful city. Although it took me a few years to return to school, two years ago I finally graduated from Arizona State University with my Bachelor's in Anthropology with minors is Criminology & Criminal Justice, History, and Philosophy. After a two year break, and acquiring my current position at work, I chose to return to school and work on obtaining my Paralegal Certificate from USD's Paralegal Program - I am set to complete the program come May 2020! 

    Throughout my college years I worked my absolute hardest to obtain my degree(s) from Associate's through Bachelor's, all while working 38 hours a week at a local dance company studio. I believe in working hard to gain appreciation in achieving your goals and nothing is ever handed to you. A few months after graduating from ASU, I began my search for my career. That is when I landed at the place I am at now, of course with the support of an entire team behind me. I am now currently the Office Manager at Callahan Firm, APC dba San Diego Evictions, and I strive to make this company's success my priority. Working in the legal field has always been an obsession of mine from the moment I first discovered what Forensic Anthropology is. My obsession kept me active in research and eventually I broadened my knowledge to all other aspects of the legal field. For me it's not just about making a difference, it's about working to BE that difference.

    In my free time, I love to travel. I'm a Disneyland Annual Passholder so it's easy to say I spend a lot of time at Disneyland...but we all have to let the inner child out every now and then! My boyfriend and I love traveling to places together, whether it be to support other dance companies and arts, or simply traveling for leisure. Getting away and enjoying that breathe of change is essential to recharge us for tackling the weeks ahead. 

    I am pretty excited to have joined and been accepted into this association and can't wait to see what all I can accomplish as a member! 

    Rebekah Dyer

    Where I am from: San Diego County (Ramona)

    School: I just graduated from Liberty University Online with a Bachelor's degree in Paralegal studies 

    Hobbies/Interests: My interests are working out, hiking, reading, going to coffee shops, writing for Human Defense Initiative, and engaging in college campus outreaches on important social issues. 

    Why I want to work in the legal field: I desire to work in the legal field because I believe that being a voice for people who do not have one is important. Because laws impact all of us, I want to assist a lawyer in making sure that people's rights are respected and protected. 


    Since June 2019

    Be sure to say hello to our new members:

    Priscilla Abugaber-Mercado
    Sarah Akerson’s
    Hilda N. Arreola-Armenta
    Marjorie Balcorta
    Nerly Bates-Gray
    Amy Bevan
    Jane Wesley Brooks
    Jennifer Busalacchi
    Cristina Cota
    Emily Davies-Miller
    Denessa Davila
    Mariana DeSaracho
    Lucien Dickinson
    Rebekah Dyer
    Nicole Gallup
    Mona Gantos
    Rubin Googe
    Odeat Hermez
    Esther Hirales
    Leah Hurtado
    Xyra Jaime
    Christina Johnson
    Rhonda Johnson
    Jennifer Kanzler
    Kaitlin Luca
    Sarah Luciani
    Antoinette Massaro
    Marisela Mellado
    Tracy Morgan
    Sandy Nissou
    Ryan Paris
    Yvette Porter-Moore
    Humberto Rodriguez
    Ronamay Sablan
    Patricia Schwenke
    Patricia Serna
    Jessica Serrata
    Tyler Stacy
    Alexandra Strange
    Margaret Truesdell
    Bianca Villegas
    Cora Webber
    Rachel Williams

    Want to be featured on our next Members Spotlight Blog?  

    Are you a new SDPA Member? Want to share your journey? Inspiring stories? 

    Send your short, informal biography and a small photo to Membership, include the following: 

    • where you are from
    • where you are going to school or went 
    • where do you work
    • hobbies/interests/ something unique about you 
    • why you want to work in the legal field 
  • 8 Aug 2019 10:02 PM | Anonymous

    By Dawn Regner

    Restorative Justice Mediation Program:

    Brief History:

    The Restorative Justice Mediation Program (RJMP) partners with local justice agencies and other non-profit organizations to provide valuable mediation services to hose affected by crime. 

    Through its Victim-Offender Dialogue and Inmate Education & Reentry Preparation programs, RJMP seeks to "[repair] the harm caused or revealed by criminal behavior" by:

    • Involving all stakeholders (including both victim and offender)
    • transforming the traditional relationship between communities and their government in responding to crime 

    Services offered: 

    RJMP's Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) program (the only program of its kind in San Diego) begins with a focus on the victim, to assist them in the healing process and provide an opportunity for them to communicate about the affects of the crime in their lives.  Additionally, the program works with offenders to bring about true understanding and accountability.  By bringing both parties together to develop and appropriate restorative agreement, the goal is to thoroughly address the needs of victim, offender and community.  

    The Restorative Justice Reentry Prep Program (RJRPP) consists of a 20-week trauma-informed program for inmates housed in San Diego Country jails and detention centers to prepare the way for an effective and successful release.  Inmates work on things such as empathy and remorse, self-awareness, decision-making, developing accountability, and personal healing.  The program is led by professional psychologists and educators with many years experience in the field.

  • 29 Jul 2019 12:15 AM | Anonymous

    By Dawn Regner

    Free to Thrive began after Jamie Quient, then a busy attorney at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, began taking on pro bono cases representing human trafficking survivors, and was impacted by the devastation caused by this terrible crime.

    Inspired to try and do her part to combat the awful effects of this problem, she joined the Lawyers Club of San Diego, and led the development of the Human Trafficking Collaborative (HTC), which focuses on legal and community support, policy advocacy, and survivor support. One of the many outcomes of the HTC was the passage and signage of the California vacatur law (Penal Code 236.14) which provides a legal vehicle for human trafficking survivors to vacate convictions including prostitution, drug, theft, and other non-violent charges.

    As Jamie became more and more aware of the tremendous need, Free to Thrive was born. "My whole purpose in going to law school was that I wanted to help people," Jamie says. Through the efforts of this organization, she and her team are doing that and so much more.

    Services offered:

    By collaborating with law enforcement, government agencies and other community partners, Free to Thrive seeks to promote fulfilling lives for victims of sex trafficking crimes. They provide legal services that include child custody & family law (including restraining orders), civil litigation, and immigration matters, just to name a few. Free to Thrive also seeks to inspire and encourage survivors to live lives of purpose by connecting clients with community partners providing counseling, educational and vocational assistance, credit repair services and much more. Free to Thrive's mission is to "empower survivors of human trafficking to be free from exploitation and to thrive by providing them with legal services and connections to other legal services."

  • 20 Jul 2019 5:51 AM | Anonymous

    By Dawn Regner

    GenerateHope is SDPA's 2019-2020 Charity of the Choice, and we look forward to a year of working with GenerateHope to help survivors of sex trafficking.

    Founded in 2009 by Susan Munsey, a survivor of sex trafficking herself, GenerateHope began out of a desire to address the needs of those who have survived the trauma of sex trafficking.

    In 2010, GenerateHope opened its Recovery Center in San Diego, a safehouse providing residential services for up to 6 female trafficking survivors over the age of 18. The facility is designed as a "caring family environment," with 2 full-time live-in "house moms."  In 2016, GenerateHope acquired, through generous donors, a new facility in Coronado. This "Transition House" also houses 6 women and 2 house-moms, and provides a 2nd step in the process of complete recovery. Since its founding, GenerateHope has been a refuge for over 105 women.

    GenerateHope offers holistic services to promote complete healing as well as discovery of a new and purposeful path for those who have been trafficked. Services include long-term, safe housing, individual and group therapy, education and re-training that includes GED and college support, career prep, etc., and ongoing case management facilitating access to social, medical and community support services.

    GenerateHope's 1-year Recovery Program includes "guided independence," focusing on GED and collegiate support, internships, and living-wage vocational development.  GenerateHope notes that "the healing process takes time and is committed to the long-term care for each woman on this journey."


  • 18 Jul 2019 7:00 AM | Anonymous

    By Kristine Custodio Suero, ACP

    On July 17, Team SDPA toured the Family Justice Center (FJC) in downtown San Diego. In attendance were Secretary Claire Hamilton, President Julie Schwartz, Pro Bono Committee Chair Dawn Regner, CP, VP-Programs & Education Alison Greenlee, and Director-NALA Liaison Kristine Custodio Suero. ACP. The FJC is a program under the City Attorney’s Office located on the second floor of the Housing Commission building in downtown San Diego. The FJC screens over 19,000 calls per year and has approximately 7,500 cases a year. The FJC provides services including free legal assistance for self-represented parties, individual and group counseling, access to emergency funding, childcare, parenting classes, forensic examinations, and more for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking. The FJC provides holistic support to its clients and works collaboratively with pro bono attorneys, counselors/therapists, the District Attorney’s Office and the Police Department. Team SDPA is in discussions regarding potential volunteer opportunities for our members including in the FJC Annual Holiday Party donations drive and gift wrapping and internships. A workplace violence safety training provided by the FJC is also in the works.

    Please check our website at for more information or contact Pro Bono Committee Chair Dawn Regner, CP at

  • 19 Jun 2019 1:26 AM | Anonymous

    by Ellen Zacarias

    Some of you may know David Blackwell from his involvement in San Diego's paralegal community. Today, which also happens to be Paralegal Association Day in San Diego (6/19/19), we are sharing David's eye-opening and honest responses about what it means to work as a paralegal in the legal department of one of the world's largest video game companies. David Blackwell is a Litigation Paralegal for Activision Blizzard, Inc., a Fortune 500 company and a leader in interactive entertainment with hundreds of millions of users around the world.  David supports the litigation, employment, eDiscovery, tax and transactional departments. 

    Previously, David worked for Vivendi Games (later acquired by Activision),, Gateway Computers, Lewis D’Amato and McKenna Long & Aldrich. David received his B.S. in Business Administration, Finance, from San Diego State University and his ABA-Approved Paralegal Certificate from the University of San Diego’s Paralegal Program.

    David has served in various capacities on the SDPA board including President.  He enjoys talking to new paralegals, students, and others interested in learning more about the profession.

    In his spare time, David enjoys camping, fishing, surfing and snowboarding, and spending time with his family and friends.

    Thank you, David, for participating in SDPA's Paralegal Q&A series! 


    You are a senior paralegal at Activision. Describe a typical day at work for you, and what you generally do.

    In addition to a laundry list of tasks, I was often called on to handled the odd or unexpected problems. Usually, it started with “I don’t know what to do about…” Every day was different - which made the job really fun.

    Daily Tasks – subpoenas, designated recipient of all service of process, researching old contracts, updating litigation files, updating tracking calendar, maintaining agreement/contract database and search indexes.

    New Assignments – preparing employment settlements, responding to subpoenas, law enforcement requests for information, supporting the asset clearance team.

    Quarterly Tasks – preparing litigation status reports for counsel review and eventual submission to Chief Legal Officer for his report to the Board of Directors. Preparing an updated list of all outside counsel billing for North America in order for our accounting department to accurately record our total legal expense for the quarterly financials.

    Special Projects – There has been a concerted effort to mine a lot of the older intellectual property to create mobile games. Finding the relevant contracts to determine what, if any, rights to that IP may exist was especially challenging.

    What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

    I really enjoyed getting really difficult requests from the various lawyers I supported and providing a high-quality answer/work-product.  The fun part of every task/assignment is figuring out how to solve the problem.   

    What is the most challenging part of your job? 

    Aside from the office politics, which every company has, it has to be successfully managing lawyer’s expectations.  I can’t tell how many times I’ve heard my boss say “this shouldn’t take very long”.   

    In your company, what does it mean to be a senior paralegal? 

    I’ve now worked in corporate law departments for so long that I really couldn’t tell you what that means from the perspective of a law firm.  From the corporate perspective, it’s more of a formal recognition of how long you have worked for the company.  It represented a nice bump in compensation but it didn’t meaningfully change anything.  All of the paralegals pitch in to help as needed.  That is another nice thing about the department – everyone truly wants to help and strive for a great work product.

    You’ve been working at Activision before and after it merged with Vivendi Games—from 2004. How did your working environment or conditions change as the company grew and expanded? 

    Well to be honest – I was happy to simply make the transition from Vivendi Games to Activision.  Vivendi Games employed somewhere around 1500 in Los Angeles, and only 200 were asked to come over to Activision.  Since the merger in 2008 there are less than 20 of those people still at Activision.  Vivendi Games also had very nice offices while Activision runs, let’s say, a really tight ship.  They’ve only recently started making improvements and remodeling our existing space.

    Do you play video games? If so, what kinds? 

    Again to be honest, I really don’t play.  I loved watching the art and super high resolution of the games, but I simply didn’t have the time to play.  Between working all the time, trying to keep up some measure of physical fitness, and get enough sleep, there’s just not a lot of “extra” time to spend hours playing games.

    What brought you into the paralegal profession?

    Right after I graduated from SDSU, I was involved in a home security business that involved raising money from third party investors.  After a dispute arose between the parties, I learned the hard way that the side with the best lawyers usually wins.  I decided then, if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them.  Since I didn’t exactly want to be a lawyer, I thought I would try working as a paralegal.  After a while I realized that I really loved it.  Every day was new and different, I was learning more and more, and I noticed that I was never bored.  

    Do you handle cases of only a certain nature (such as intellectual property), or do you handle all kinds of litigation cases? 

    I was involved in all kinds of litigation but everything at Activision has some sort of IP element.  When you get to heart of most discovery issues, it usually involves more mundane elements: emails, text messages, contracts, employment data, financial information, etc.  

    How did you become specialized in intellectual property? 

    Now that I think about that question, I didn’t have a specific intent as to specializing in IP.  It sort of just happened.  After working for Gateway, and a short independent contractor gig, I started working for on copyright infringement cases.  That led to Vivendi Games and after a while I guess I had a track record.

    What advice do you have to a paralegal who’s considering going into IP (intellectual property) from the video games side? 

    If you can get a straight shot into any video game company legal department, great, but don’t be afraid of taking a different path.  While it’s hard to recommend taking a QA position, think about getting your foot in the door as a file clerk, asset clearance specialist, contract admin, or a file clerk.

    Let me describe the route one of my friends/colleagues has taken:  First off, she is an avid gamer from her earliest childhood.  That level of encyclopedic knowledge of games is really helpful.  She first started as a production coordinator, which is a very low level non-legal position.  Doing so allowed her to really learned the nuts and bolts of how to make games.  She was also making friends within the company and learned about a position as an asset clearance specialist.  This position involves making sure the asset (for example, the image of a vehicle) to be used in a particular game is original or sufficiently different from the original vehicle to avoid trademark infringement.  She was then able to leverage that experience into a position as a paralegal in the legal department.

    You are past president of SDPA and a wonderful mentor to SDPA board members. Why did you join SDPA? 

    Well, again to be honest, I didn’t know anything about SDPA until my friend and colleague Lyn Hall-Fore sat me down said she needed my help.  I said sure how can I help and she said I want you on the board. 

    I still remember attending my first board meeting – I was really nervous – I probably didn’t say two words.  It wasn’t until I started getting involved in the various activities, getting to know the other directors, that I found out how much I really enjoyed the camaraderie of working with the other board members. 

    While I’ve always believed in karma and find satisfaction in helping others, in hindsight, I guess the best way to phrase it would be that being involved in professional organization like SDPA is not a zero sum game.  It’s not something where you put in certain amount effort and get specific benefits in return.  It’s more of an exponential level of return.

    I think another way to say this would be that serving on the board exposes you to the best and brightest paralegals in San Diego.  This energy then inspires you to do your best, which raises not only your boat but the entire ocean to a new level. 

    In preparing this essay, I took a few minutes to look at the bios of the current board.  I was more than a little thrilled to see their level of accomplishments and achievement – I’ll admit that it ignited a glowing feeling of achievement to see SDPA having come so far.

    Why should a paralegal / paralegal student join SPDA?

    There are some things paralegal programs and jobs simply don’t teach.  While I’m not belittling the hard knowledge of learning the law or civil procedure, there is a body of knowledge that is unwritten and cannot be learned from books or the internet. 

    It’s how to strive for excellence when everything and everyone around you is falling apart in a bad way.  It’s the ability to keep things, people and tasks in a professional perspective i.e keeping your cool and seeing the big picture. 

    I’ll grant you that some people are born with this ability to being a real professional, others learn it on their own, but if you’re like me – I learn by doing and observing others.  SDPA provides that opportunity to learn from the best this profession has to offer.   Get involved – this is more than an opportunity – it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

  • 12 Jun 2019 7:00 AM | Anonymous



      Dave Walker started BCD Investigations in 2013 after 29 years with the San Diego Police Department.  On the police department Dave was a patrol officer for 11 years and a field evidence technician for 2 years before being selected for investigations.  Dave worked investigations for 16 years including assignments in narcotics, robbery and the violent crimes task force.


      BCD Investigations offers a wide range of services that include witness interviews, surveillance, background and asset searches.  Dave is certified in the use licensed software to locate, collect and preserve social media and Internet content that complies with FRE 902.

      BCD Investigations is most often tasked by law firms to locate potential witnesses, conduct interviews, conduct site inspections, conduct background investigations on parties to a case and conduct asset searches.  Dave has access to residential and commercial property data nationwide as well as the usual personal data sources.


      Dave is a Certified Professional Investigator by the California Association of Licensed Investigators and also a member of the Association of Workplace Investigators, National Council of Investigation and Security Services and the World Association of Detectives.  These associations allow Dave to quickly provide you a quality referral in other cities, states or countries.

      Contact: Dave Walker

      Contact email:


      Jane Wesley Brooks’, CFLS*, professional path has definitely been the road less traveled. She moved to San Diego in 2000 to begin her first year as a law student at California Western School of Law. Previously she studied Ornamental Horticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. As a result of her studies, Jane opened a high-end landscape design company, Colorscapes, in Palos Verdes, CA, her hometown. After 13 years owning Colorscapes, she moved to North Carolina where she trained as a Paramedic-D, ran volunteer emergency rescue and worked as a hospital pharmacy technician four years while going back to college as a pre-med student. After completing the pre-med curriculum at the University of Minnesota, Jane made a u-turn and got her degree in Political Science with a minor in Speech Communications, graduating cum laude. At CWSL she was on trial team and had a concentration in trial litigation. 

      Jane is now the owner of JWB FAMILY LAW, a mid-size family law firm with four associate attorneys, Jessica Pederson, Georgia Williams, CFLS*, Jennifer Duren and Noelle Dela Rosa Goldberg, two paralegals, Treva Cutts and Rita Wagner, office manager, D. Brian Snow, and four support staff, Deral Propst, Peggi Decker, Ernesto Carrola, and Dolores Jaffari. 


      JWB Family Law specializes in family law. No matter what type of family-related dispute you’re facing, JWB Family Law is trained to resolve each property division, child visitation arrangement, or spousal support plan according to your rights, needs, and expectations. JWB Family Law is a settlement-oriented law firm from day one. We want to resolve your case quickly and efficiently, but always in your best interests. When the case calls for resolution by trial, you will find our team to be experienced trial lawyers with the skills necessary represent your interests in court. 


      Jane also volunteers her time as a Judge Pro Tem for the San Diego Superior Courts as a Family Law Settlement Judge and was awarded the LEADership San Diego award from Chanel 10 News for her work delivering Christmas stockings to San Diego’s homeless each year. She is admitted to the State Bar of California and the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California. 

      Jane is an avid golfer and master gardener. She loves to spend time with her two Brussel Griffons, Chanel and Louis. Jane loves to cook great food or spend down time reading a novel. Jane comes from a family of five adopted children, all adopted at birth, and all are accomplished professionals thus feeding the nurture over nature theory. 

      Contact or for more information. 



      Dawn Regner, CP (SDPA's 2018 Paralegal of the Year) 

      I was born in San Diego, but grew up in the Denver area, where I met and married my high school sweetheart.  We came back to San Diego in 1988 and have been here ever since!  

      In 1989, I was hired as a temp by a high tech equipment leasing company to fill in for a  contracts administrator who was going on maternity leave.  I didn’t have any experience with legal contracts at that time, but I found that I truly enjoyed contracts administration, and the company hired me on a permanent basis.  

      Thus began my career in the legal profession, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve been fortunate to work for Fortune 500 companies such as GE Capital and Sony Electronics, and, shortly after graduating from Miramar's paralegal program in May 2016, began working in Qualcomm's corporate legal department negotiating non-disclosure agreements on a global basis.  I admit that I’m a bit of a “contracts geek”, and have found that my love for writing, language and the law have coalesced to find a unique home in the writing and negotiation of legal contracts. I also love working in-house, so shout-out to all those working in corporate legal departments! 

      I have always had a passion for volunteerism and am thankful to have the opportunity to lead SDPA's Pro Bono Committee.  It inspires me greatly to see our members motivated to use their skills and passions in order to assist those in need. I also enjoy knitting, baking and reading, as well as spending time with my husband of 34 years and my grown children.


      Marissa Sansone

      My name is Marissa Sansone and I was born and raised in San Diego. I graduated from the University of West Florida with a Bachelors Degree in Legal Studies/PreLaw and Minors in Public Administration and Community Health Promotion. I currently work at GEICO Staff Counsel. My hobbies and interests include volunteering, painting, baking, playing tennis and succulent collecting. What kick-started my interest in the legal field was a government class that I took in high school. My teacher introduced the class to case law and I really enjoyed reading how decisions were made by Judges in previous cases. Ever since then, I was intrigued and I knew that the legal field was the right path for me.

      student MEMBER(S)

      Natalie Cardenas

      My name is Natalie Cardenas and I just joined SDPA as a student member. I am currently enrolled in USD's Paralegal Program. I graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 with a BS in Criminal Justice and a minor in Psychology. I currently work as a legal assistant at Damiani Law Group, APC, an employment, civil, and criminal defense law firm in Downtown, San Diego.On my free time I enjoy going to the gym, retail therapy, hiking, and I love Thai food. My work experience and college courses confirmed my love for the law and that there is nothing more rewarding than helping those who cannot help themselves. I'm eager to  contribute my bilingual skills, strong interpersonal skills, compassion and leadership to the areas of law and Criminal Justice as I continue to grow as a professional. 

      Pamela Rios 

      I am an ambitious Paralegal with a Professional Certificate in Paralegal Studies received from the University of California San Diego Extension’s ABA-approved Paralegal Program. I’ve been in the legal profession for nearly twelve (12) years.  My next goal as a Paralegal is to be Certified.

      I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, in Mexico, but was raised my entire life in sunny San Diego, California.  I’m an intermediate Salsa Dancer and amateur Photographer in both digital and film.  I am bilingual. 

      I currently work for Webb Law Group, APC. where Business and Real Estate litigation are our main areas of practice. 

      I work in the legal field as I’m highly attracted to the order that comes with law.  With so much chaos in our society, it’s nice to know our society has established laws and systems through which we may obtain a legal peaceful remedy to our disagreements and arguments. Otherwise, people would be taking matters into their own hands or chose to be their own law, judge, jury, and executor.  I’m here to help maintain the peace and order with as much integrity as possible. 

      Want to be featured on our next Members' Spotlight Blog?

      Are you a new SDPA Member? Want to share your journey? Inspiring stories? 

      Send your short, informal biography and a small photo to Membership, include the following:

      • where you are from
      • where you are going to school or went 
      • where do you work
      • hobbies/interests/ something unique about you 
      • why you want to work in the legal field 
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San Diego, CA 92101

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