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  • 6 Jan 2019 10:00 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    Happy New Year! Hope you had a happy holiday break. Here is a list of upcoming paralegal events in January.

    January 12, 2019 - SDPA’s MCLE Conference on Human Trafficking

    Need MCLE credits or paralegal education? This is a good way to get it. SDPA is teaming up with Free to Thrive to host a MCLE conference on human trafficking issues on January 12, 2019 from 9 AM to 12 PM at AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Drive, San Diego, CA 92130. Breakfast and coffee will be provided.

    Our amazing speakers will include:

    • Jamie Quient, Esq. of Free to Thrive SD, an organization in San Diego that helps human trafficking survivors with rehabilitation and papers to enable them to thrive.
    • Carolyn Matzger, Esq., San Diego County District Attorney
    • Paul Chang of the U.S. Department of Labor

    RSVP here:

    Free for SDPA members, $10 for non-members – a great deal for MCLE credits.

    To show support for the human trafficking survivors, please wear blue! Blue jeans are welcome at the event. 

    January 8, 2019 – CAPA’s Webinar Panel Discussion on California Certified Paralegal Exam

    On January 8, 2019 at 6:30 PM, CAPA will be hosting a webinar-style panel discussion on the CCP Exam. Here is the link to sign up for the FREE webinar:

    Please visit for more information about CAPA or contact Ali Greenlee (your local CAPA rep) at

    Wednesday, January 15, 2019 (6:00 PM to 8:30 PM) - PRO BONO COMMITTEE CONFERENCE CALL 

    Want to get more experience while helping others? The pro bono committee, led by Pro Bono Chair Dawn Regner, is a great way to start. Dawn will be leading the conference call on pro bono opportunities on January 15 from 6 to 8:30 PM. Please email for more details. Thanks! 

    Things to Look Out for in February

    Stayed tuned for another post on February events as we head deeper into January. In the meantime, please see below:

    February 2, 2019 – SD Clean Slate Clinic

    The clinic is closed in January but will resume on February 2, 2019 at the South Metro Community Center. The RSVP link will be up soon on their website, during which we will post and promote on our social media.

    For those that do not know, SD Clean Slate Clinic provides free legal assistance with expungements, early termination of probation, and felony reductions to misdemeanor. It’s a great way to earn some legal experience while helping the community.

    February 6, 2019 – San Diego County High School Mock Trial Competition Begins

    Volunteers are needed to serve as courtroom monitors and other roles. Sign up here:

    February 9, 2019 – CAPA’s California Certified Paralegal Exam

    SDPA will be hosting CAPA’s CCP exam on February 9, 2019. Please visit for more information about CAPA or contact Ali Greenlee (your local CAPA rep) at

    Hope you have a happy January!

  • 22 Dec 2018 11:21 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    SDPA’s last mixer and membership meeting of the year took place at Troutman Sanders LLP on December 19, 2018. Thank you to Troutman Sanders LLP for hosting, and to Alison Greenlee for coordinating the event. It was a pleasure to see everyone at the mixer and board meeting, we had quite a few guests! Attendees also included officers of SDPA’s 2018 board of directors and 2019 board of directors.

    The meeting took place after the mixer. After the meeting, Team SDPA took a picture together and played a Christmas themed game involving mittens, multi-layered wrapped presents, and rolling dice. Hilarity ensued. You can find the photos from the game on SDPA’s Facebook page

  • 8 Dec 2018 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    Our biggest event of the year, SDPA’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Gala took place at The Dana on Mission Bay on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. It was a big success thanks to the support of volunteers, sponsors, and attendees. Our sponsors for the holiday gala include: Taylor Morse, UCSD Extension, Procopio, Butterfield Schechter LLP, and First Legal. Thank you all for coming and showing your support!

    Dovie King, Esq. was our keynote speaker at the gala. She is the founder and director of SOAR for Justice (Survivors of Abuse Rising for Justice), and has done amazing work as the human rights commissioner in Belmont, Massachusetts. Thank you for sharing your experience and cause with us, Dovie!

    Teri Burg of StandUp for Kids (SDPA’s 2018-2019 Charity of Choice) also spoke to attendees. She shared stories of the homeless children who are helped by her and her team at StandUp for Kids. Throughout the night, attendees donated jeans to StandUp for Kids, which will be crucial in keeping our city's homeless youth warm as we head into colder temperatures this winter. Thank you all for your donations!

    SDPA presented its annual awards. Procopio, LLP won Law Firm of the Year for all their pro bono and active work in the community.

    Arthur Chavez won the Making a Difference Award for all his contributions to SDPA and Cuyamaca College’s paralegal community.

    Bridget Winandy won the Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year award for all the great volunteer work she has done. 

    K-Rad Consulting, headed by Alicia Aquino and Kelli Moro, won the Sponsor of the Year award. Congratulations to you all!

    SDPA’s award committee also presented its secret awards to Julie Schwartz and Kristine Custodio for their lifelong commitment to the paralegal profession. Congratulations to you two!

    Of course, we also held raffles! Thank you to everyone who donated raffle prizes: SDPA, Rob and Donna Mihalco, Sara Lutz, Rena Sugarman at Plush Salon, Krystal Dyer, Jaylin Allen at Boutique Fitness, Jillian at Cali4Fitness, Alison M. Greenlee, Andrea Laparra at Doterra, Carlina Fonseca at PEterson Reporting, and Susanne de la Flor at Litivate. All proceeds go to benefit our charity of choice, StandUp for Kids. 

    Dovie King presented the new 2019 board of directors: President Julie A. Schwartz, VP of Programs and Education Alison Greenlee, VP of Membership Joe (Souriya) Maniwan, and Secretary Claire Hamilton. SDPA Directors for 2019 include: April Amador, Kristine Custodio, ACP, Sheila Grela, ACP, June Hunter, Donna Mihalco, Dawn Regner, Emily Roman, Brianne Williams (Cohen), and Ellen Zacarias. We are looking forward to another great year!

  • 15 Nov 2018 10:41 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    SDPA held its annual Friendsgiving event at Procopio in downtown San Diego on November 14, 2018. It was great seeing both familiar and new faces, and listening to the excellent and inspiring speeches of keynote speaker Jamie Quient (holding the bouquet in the photograph above) and SDPA's 2018 Charity of Choice, Teri of StandUp for Kids. Following the speeches, SDPA directors spoke about their various committees and projects, encouraging both current paralegals and paralegal students to become active with SDPA and the community.

    A big thank you to Jamie Quient for being our keynote speaker. Some SDPA members mentioned that Ms. Quient's speech inspired them to sign up for opportunities to help Free to Thrive, an organization that assists survivors of human trafficking. Director Kristine Custodio also mentioned that Ms. Quient did a wonderful job of intertwining themes of inclusion and diversity into her speech. Thank you very much!

    Also, a warm thank you to Teri of StandUp for Kids for talking to us about the homeless children that StandUp for Kids assists. We thank everyone for donating their jeans, they will keep many San Diegan homeless kids warm. 

    Below are some other highlights from the event: 

    Photo above: Team SDPA presents Teri of StandUp for Kids with a bouquet of flowers as a gesture of thanks for her speech.

    Photo above: Attendees at Friendsgiving write what they're thankful for and contribute to the Thankful Board, which was put together by our wonderful SDPA Vice President, Alison Greenlee.

    Photo above: Laurie Smith (left) and Michele Mitchell (right) enjoying Friendsgiving. Thank you both for coming!

    Photo above: SDPA Director Sheila Grela gives an inspirational speech about mentorship within the paralegal community to an attentive audience at Friendsgiving.

    Photo Above: SDPA Director Dawn Regner presents SDPA Director Joe Maniwan with a certificate in recognition of his commitment and and efforts. Congratulations and thank you for your work throughout the year, Mr. Maniwan!

    Photo above: Viktor Iarushin stands by the SDPA slideshow. He has prepared some excellent SDPA videos which we are excited to put up on the website and share with you all at our upcoming holiday party on December 4, 2018. 

    Photo above: SDPA member Arthur Chavez wins a raffle prize. Arthur Chavez has done lots of great work for SDPA and the Cuyamaca College Paralegal Club.

    Photo above: A fabulous SDPA member wins a raffle prize! Congratulations! 


    Thank you all for coming to Friendsgiving, and thank you for donating jeans to StandUp for Kids. If you forgot to bring jeans to donate this time, no worries! We are accepting donations at SDPA's upcoming holiday party on December 4, 2018. Don't forget to RSVP! This is our fanciest event of the year, and it is going to be at The Dana on Mission Bay. Here is the event link for registering:

  • 1 Nov 2018 8:18 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    Happy November! This month we are going to focus on gratitude: gratitude for those who have helped us, and for a chance to give back. Oftentimes, in the process of giving back, we form frie ndships and a stronger sense of community along the way. 

    Upcoming Events

    • 11/14/18 - SDPA's Friendsgiving - 6-9 p.m., at Procopio, 525 B St., 1st Floor MPR, San Diego, CA 92101 - Bring your friends and coworkers! SDPA is hosting its annual Friendsgiving mixer at Procopio, with food and drinks. Paralegals and other professionals in the legal community will be joining together to give thanks and network. We will also be accepting donations of jeans to benefit homeless San Diegans through our 2018 charity of choice, Stand Up for Kids. Our keynote speaker will be Jamie Quient, Esq. of Free to Thrive. If you haven't signed up yet, please do so here: SDPA Friendsgiving Registration
    • 11/3/18 - SD Clean Slate Clinic - November 3, 2018, 9 AM, South Metro Career Center, 4389 Imperial Ave., San Diego, CA 92113 - San Diego Clean Slate Clinic helps people with the process of expunging their old criminal records so that they can find jobs and housing. Volunteers are always needed, and the clinic opens on the first Saturday of each month. Sign up here: SD Clean Slate Clinic RSVP Form  
    • 11/8/18 - Free to Thrive's Brewing a Brighter Future (Fall Fundraiser) - 5:30 p.m., Mission Brewery, 1441 L St., San Diego, CA - Free to Thrive helps survivors of human trafficking with rehabilitation and more. Buy a ticket here: 
    • 12/4/18 - SDPA Holiday Party - December 4, 2018, 6-9 p.m., The Dana Hotel on Misson Bay - The holiday party is one of our dressier, fancier events. Please save this date on your calendar. More info to come soon!
    • 12/11/18 - GDPR - Not Just an EU Concern - December 11, 2018, 12-1 p.m., Sheppard Mullin (Del Mar), 12275 El Camino Real, San Diego, CA 92130 - You are invited to an educational lunch session on GDPR and data privacy on December 11, 2018 from 12 to 1 PM at Sheppard Mullin in Del Mar. Please RSVP here: 
    • 12/18/18 - SDPA December Mixer - December 18, 2018 6:00-7:30 p.m., Troutman Sanders, 11682 El Camino Real, Suite 400, San Diego, CA 92130 - Another fun mixer to come. We love seeing you at these socials! More info to come. 

    Volunteer Opportunities

    • Rising Hearts of San Diego's Shoe Drive - Extended to December! - Rising Hearts helps survivors of domestic abuse. They have extended their shoe drive to December - only 12 more bags are needed to reach their goal. Proceeds from the shoes will go to help domestic abuse survivors. If you are interested in donating your shoes, please send them a message on Facebook:
    • ElderHelp of San Diego - Volunteering Opportunity - You can help a senior by volunteering just a few hours each month - flexible schedule. Ways to help include grocery shopping, companionship, transportation, organizing paperwork, installing safety bars, gardening, and more. For more information, please contact Carrie McClellan to learn more: 858-380-5245 &
    • SD Clean Slate Clinic - December 1, 2018, 9 AM, South Metro Career Center, 4389 Imperial Ave., San Diego, CA 92113 - San Diego Clean Slate Clinic helps people with the process of expunging their old criminal records so that they can find jobs and housing. Volunteers are always needed, and the clinic opens on the first Saturday of each month. Sign up here: SD Clean Slate Clinic RSVP Form  

    SDPA on Social Media

    Please follow us on social media to get regular updates of educational, networking, and volunteering opportunities for paralegals: 

  • 22 Oct 2018 9:54 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    A big thanks to everyone who showed up at the ACS breast cancer walk! This was a fantastic event and it was a pleasure to walk with all of you. We made a huge loop around the park and even passed through part of the 163 freeway (see below):

    A huge shoutout must be given to Joe Maniwan for spearheading SDPA's involvement in ACS's breast cancer walk. Thank you so much for coordinating and leading SDPA's very first breast cancer walk.  

    Thanks to our donating participants, SDPA raised over $300 for fighting breast cancer! 

    To find out more about future events, please visit the Events page on our website or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. 

  • 16 Oct 2018 9:32 PM | Anonymous

    By Joe Maniwan and Ellen Zacarias

    October is breast cancer awareness month. Join Team SDPA and Friends for American Cancer Society’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk this Sunday. Here are three reasons to join our team: 

    1. The Cause

    American Cancer Society estimates there will be 266,120 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed in women this year. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. There is a 1 in 38 chance of death in breast cancer patients, about 40,920 women will lose their battle with breast cancer. In 2018, American Cancer Society has granted over $47 million to researchers at 72 institutions nationwide. In addition, American Cancer Society provides free lodging near treatment centers, rides to treatments and has a 24/7/365 live helpline. 

    2. Networking. 

    Office mixers and MCLEs not your thing? Joining the SDPA team is a great way to network with other members and the board of directors. Share your passion to help others in need.

    3. Health benefits. 

    Walking is a great form of exercise. Walking is low-impact and burns calories! Walking also relieves stress. We all have stress from the office and/or school. 

    Everyone is welcome to join our team. Be a part of one of San Diego’s largest events. See you Sunday morning! 

    Collaborate. Cultivate. Innovate.  

    To register (free to participate!):

    Meet us here at 7:15 AM on Sunday, October 21, 2018:

    A map of the breast cancer walk at Balboa Park. Note the "7:15 Team SDPA" in the upper left. We will be at that area, near the big pink chair.

    A photograph of SDPA Director Joe Maniwan (right) and a friend (left). 

    A photograph of ACS's Jennifer Kalker (left) and SDPA director Ellen Zacarias (right). 

  • 14 Oct 2018 6:58 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    On October 13, 2018, SDPA held its Career and Technology Conference at AMN Healthcare. This program was made possible thanks to the support of our very generous sponsors, AMN Healthcare, One Legal, Signa Digital Solutions, Unisearch, and Butterfield Schechter, LLP, and the generosity of our speakers in volunteering their time and expertise. 

    The Career and Technology Conference consisted of three tracks for paralegals and paralegal students: career, litigation, and non-litigation. We are honored to have each and every one of the speakers join us for this conference. 

    Career Track 

    Linda Quindt, CLM of Finch Thornton & Baird went over operations and economics of law firms. 

    Alicia Aquino of K-Rad Consulting shared practical tools on excelling in assignments to exceed attorneys' expectations. 

    Azra Mukanovic of UCSD Extension and Abigail Parente of Eastridge Workforce Solutions presented on conducting public information investigations using the internet panel. 

    Litigation Track

    In the litigation track, Eddy Borysewicz of Invendica discussed evidence collection, conversion and mitigation spoliation issues in evidence management. 

    Tom Plunkett of Califorensics spoke about cell phone forensics and how it applies in discovery and investigations. 

    Shannon Bales went over the process of preparing evidence and documents for presentation at trial and the common tech-related issues that people run into at trial. 

    Non-Litigation Track

    In the non-litigation track, Jessica Gross, Esq. of Sheppard Mullin and Kieran de Terra, Esq. of Robert Half Legal instructed students on GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation). 

    Joy Murao of Practice Aligned Resources, LLC presented and discussed non-litigation software that assists with legal project management. 

    Mary Cataldo, Esq. spoke about firms going paperless in the cloud and the issues surrounding it. 

    StandUp for Kids (Charity of Choice for 2018) 

    Terri and fellow volunteers from StandUp for Kids kindly joined us for this event. 

    Thank you very much to those of you who donated blue jeans. Blue jeans donations accepted at the conference will go to homeless youth in San Diego served by StandUp for Kids. We will also be accepting blue jeans donations at Friendsgiving and the Holiday Party. 

    StandUp for Kids consists of volunteers who help homeless children in San Diego. They do wonderful things like rehabilitation, movie nights, and also provide a safe place for homeless children to hang out during the day. If you would like to learn more about StandUp for Kids, please visit their website at

    Additional Photos

    We were a fun group, so I can't help but also include these other photos of everyone at the event. 

    From left to right: Kieran de Terra, Esq; Jessica Gross, Esq.; Eddy Borysewicz

    SDPA Pro Bono Chair Dawn Regner (in the blue blouse) and Joe Maniwan (suit) stand in support with StandUp for Kids. 

    Michael Kelley of Practice Aligned Resources, LLC (PAR) greets interested paralegals at the conference.

    SDPA Vice President Alison Greenlee and SDPA President Julie Schwartz hold up raffle prizes for the lucky winners. 

    June Hunter, SDPA's School Liaison Chair, sets up the registration table for the conference. 

    SDPA Vice President Alison Greenlee (foreground) takes a selfie with Kris Nicholas of Unisearch (left) and Jerry Gregg of One Legal (right). 

    SDPA takes a photo after the conclusion of the conference. From left to right: Ellen Zacarias, Joe Maniwan, Edwin Beauchamp, June Hunter, Julie Schwartz, Sheila Grela, Arthur Chavez, and Kristine Custodio. 

    For more photos, please visit our Facebook page:

  • 10 Oct 2018 8:47 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    A big thank you to First Legal for graciously hosting SDPA’s October mixer, and to CGS3 for providing the venue! It was great to see all of you there—working paralegals, students, and aspiring professionals. 

    (In photo above: Kristine Custodio and Alison Greenlee share details of SDPA Career & Tech Conference on October 13, 2018.)

    Mixers are a great way to meet other legal professionals. After a while, you start seeing the same faces over and over again, and at some point someone might bring up someone's name that you recognize. It's a small world! 

    In support of the upcoming breast cancer walk on October 21, 2018, mixer attendees (such as Arthur Chavez, in the photo below) wrote messages of support and encouragement on a board. 

  • 27 Sep 2018 12:55 AM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    Happy Autumn! Keep an eye out for these upcoming opportunities to do some good, meet people, and continue your education:

    SDPA’s Blue Jeans Drive for StandUp For Kids

    Do you have any blue jeans you have grown out of or no longer use? SDPA will be accepting blue jeans donations at the following events:

    •         Tech & Career Conference on October 13, 2018 (see below)
    •         Friendsgiving (see below)

    This is a great chance to clear your closet, declutter, and provide a homeless San Diegan teen with some clothes. Our 2018 charity of choice, StandUp For Kids, mentioned to us that blue jeans are popular among the kids, so we are hoping to gather lots of blue jeans at our events and send them over to StandUp For Kids to distribute to homeless San Diegan youth.  

    SDPA’s October Mixer (10.10.18)

    Our September mixer was a blast, and we are always welcoming more people to attend and enjoy our events. As paralegals, many of us come from diverse backgrounds, and mixers are a great opportunity to meet and learn a bit about each other, and maybe even make some career buddies.  

    Please come to our October mixer on October 10, 2018 at Crosbie Gilner Schiffman Southard & Swanson LLP, 2750 High Bluff Drive, Suite 250, San Diego, CA 92130. 

    The mixer itself begins at 6:00 p.m., and the board meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. First Legal has graciously agreed to host the food and drinks. Thank you First Legal!

    It is free to attend! Please sign up here:

     SDPA’s Tech & Career Conference (10.13.18)

    We are very excited about our upcoming technology and career conference. Technology is a big part of a paralegal’s job, and it is constantly changing in the legal world. Our technology and career conference will be a way to: (a) get some MCLE credits, (b) learn about issues related to technology in the legal field, and (c) meet other paralegals and learn about opportunities to further your career.

    There are three tracks: (1) litigation, (2) non-litigation, and (3) career development. The career development/student track is free.

    Students and anyone can opt for the free career development track.

    On behalf of our 2018 charity of choice, StandUp for Kids, we will be accepting donations of blue jeans of all sizes (torn/ripped is okay as long as they are wearable).

    Sign up here:

    ACS Breast Cancer 5K Walk

    Please join SDPA at the upcoming American Cancer Society breast cancer walk on October 21, 2018. Registration begins at 6:30 AM, and the actual walk begins at 7:30 AM.

    It’s a relaxing way to enjoy the crisp air of an autumn morning and hang out with people while supporting breast cancer research and awareness.

    We are still looking for more people to participate!

    Register and sign up here:

    SDPA’s Friendsgiving (11.14.18)

    We at SDPA are grateful for the chance to meet paralegals, students, and other legal professionals, to provide continuing education and career development opportunities, and to do good in the community through our pro bono efforts. We thank our sustaining members who, through their generosity, have made all of this possible. 

    We would like to celebrate Friendsgiving with all of you (paralegals, students, other legal professionals, and sustaining members) on November 14, 2018 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., which will be held at Procopio in downtown SD!  

    Keynote speakers will include Jamie Quient from Free to Thrive, an organization that helps human trafficking victims.  

    On behalf of our 2018 charity of choice, StandUp for Kids, we will be accepting donations of blue jeans of all sizes (torn/ripped is okay as long as they are wearable).

    Registration will be available on our website soon!

    Other News:

    Big Brother Big Sisters of San Diego County’s Chipotle Fundraiser (9.27.18 ONLY)

    Big Brother Big Sisters of San Diego County is doing a Chipotle fundraiser – enjoy a meal at any Chipotle Mexican Grill on Thursday, September 27, 2018 from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and 50% of the proceeds will go to support their organization.

    How to do it? Simply tell the cashier you’re supporting the cause to make sure they receive the donation.

    Rising Hearts of San Diego’s Shoe Drive (Ends 10.31.18)

    Rising Hearts of San Diego is hosting an ongoing shoe drive until October 31, 2018 to raise funds for emergency transportation for victims of domestic violence. 

    Please see the poster below for more information on drop off locations for your shoe donations:

    SD Clean Slate Clinic (10.6.18)

    The San Diego Clean Slate Clinic is returning in October! SD Clean Slate Clinic helps people, especially people who’ve turned over a new leaf, apply to expunge old misdemeanors and felonies from their records so that they can get better access to jobs and housing.

    Volunteers help in various areas, such as intake and also drafting declarations in support of these applications to expunge old records. Helping people prepare their applications for expungement can be rewarding and a great way to get some legal experience. 

    Sign up by clicking here.  

    Celebration Under the Dome (10.13.18 - SD Central Public Library)

    Under the Dome is an annual charity event that supports the San Diego Public Library Foundation, which will provide critical support for all 36 public libraries. Over 500 of San Diego's business and philanthropic leaders are expected to attend.

    At this event, volunteers are needed to help greet guests, work registration, be live auction spotters, sell raffle tickets, assist photographers, and serve as concierges.

    If you would like to volunteer, please email Emily Roman at for more details on the volunteer orientation and training on October 11.

    CUD is on Saturday Oct. 13th at the Central Library Downtown (330 Park Blvd). Volunteers should arrive at 5pm; the event is from 6pm-10pm.

Mailing Address:

501 W. Broadway, Ste. A #220
San Diego, CA 92101

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