Log in
  • 2 Feb 2019 10:01 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias

    Happy February! Hope you’ve been staying warm in this rainy weather. Here at SDPA, we are passionate about helping each other develop as legal professionals and as a community. We enjoy sharing and taking part in all of these educational, networking, and volunteering experiences as we all grow together. 

    Make sure to RSVP for our February 21, 2019 mixer here:

    In addition to Valentine’s Day and President’s Day, below are some exciting events and news for this month:

    February 2, 2019 – SD Clean Slate Clinic

    Before the clinic opened this morning, Clinic participants waited in a line outside in the cold and rain in anticipation of the legal resources the clinic offers.

    This month’s group of volunteers was smaller than the last clinic—a big thank you to the volunteers who came to help! Much appreciation to James de Haan for providing volunteers with training. We received a generous donation of hot Starbucks coffee, which was quite welcome in this chilly weather!

    Helping people prepare their paperwork for expunging their old records so that they can regain access to housing and employment opportunities is a rewarding experience. If you missed this month’s Clean Slate Clinic, you can still RSVP for the next one on April 6, 2019, which will be located in at the South Metro Career Center on Imperial Avenue. You can go to for more information.

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

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

    February 7, 2019 – San Diego Public Law Library’s Open House

    Our city is extremely privileged to have such a wonderful legal resource. Our San Diego Public Law Library offers legal books and research databases for public use. The SD Public Law Library will be hosting its 7th annual open house event on February 7, 2019 from 5 to 7 p.m.  

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

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

    February 21, 2019 – SDPA's February Mixer & General Membership Meeting (First of 2019!) 

    Please join Team SDPA at our first mixer of the year at Veritext! Paralegals, students, other legal professionals of the community—you’re welcome to join us for some snacks, beverages, and networking. For those of you who haven’t been to a SDPA event before, this is a great chance to learn what our organization is about, and the types of resources we offer to the paralegal community and our members—education (MCLE credits), networking, employment opportunities, volunteering, and more! RSVP here: 

    We are thankful for Veritext's generosity in allowing us to have our mixer at their beautiful office. Veritext is a leading court reporting agency in deposition and litigation support solutions.

    We would love to see you all there! 

    ---sdpa's 2019 BRIDGING THE GAP mcle conference -- april 27, 2019 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at ucsd extension, university city center

    Save the date on your calendars! SDPA will be having its 2019 Bridging the Gap MCLE Conference at UCSD Extension, University City Center, 6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego, CA 92122 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on April 27, 2019! 

    Registration will be available soon--we'll send out announcements on social media and email blasts, and you will also see it available under our "Events" tab as well. 

    For our 2018-2019 Charity of Choice, StandUp for Kids, we will be accepting toiletry donations. 

    Thank you for reading, and see you next month! 

    "The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members." 

    --Coretta Scott King

  • 19 Jan 2019 8:55 PM | Anonymous

    by Ellen Zacarias

    SDPA’s 2019 Board of Directors held its board retreat at Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch LLP (on High Bluff Drive). Breakfast and lunch were held potluck-style—each board member brought a delicious dish or item to share.

    SDPA President Julie Schwartz gave an inspiring presentation on SDPA’s mission, and newer directors on the board received an overview of the board’s mission and their duties. In addition to updating bylaws and committees, we are also working hard on events for this upcoming year, so stay tuned for more information to come!


    Photo above: Kristine Custodio (left) discusses NALA events with fellow SDPA directors Brianne Williams (middle) and Dawn Regner (right). 

    Photo above: Our happy dessert section of the potluck table. Thank you to Joe Maniwan for bringing a delicious, SDPA-emblazoned coconut pudding from Home Sweet Home Dessert! 

    SDPA President Julie Schwartz gives an inspiring presentation about SDPA's mission to the board. 

    Emily Roman, Joe Maniwan, and Claire Hamilton hang out in Procopio's gorgeous kitchen during a break in between topics. 

    Procopio Del Mar's gorgeous front desk. 

    We were treated with this wonderful view on our way to the conference room. There is even an outdoors patio beyond the glass doors. 

  • 13 Jan 2019 11:19 PM | Anonymous

    By Ellen Zacarias | Photographs by Arthur Chavez

    We are honored to have Paul Chang of the U.S. Department of Labor, Carolyn Matzger, Deputy District Attorney, and Jamie Quient of Free to Thrive speak at our MCLE Conference on Human Trafficking on January 12, 2019 at AMN Healthcare.

    Paul Chang presented on labor trafficking and cases involving the exploitation of human trafficking victims by businesses, and the pervasiveness of labor trafficking in the United States.

    Carolyn Matzger discussed issues involving the nature of sex trafficking in San Diego, its perpetrators, and its victims.

    Jamie Quient spoke about the legal obstacles that human trafficking survivors encounter and how her organization, Free to Thrive, helps human trafficking survivors with legal issues so that they can obtain access to housing, education, and other opportunities.

    It was a phenomenal conference. Thank you to our speakers, all those who came, and to volunteers who helped with setting up and cleaning up! Your attendance and participation made this a big success! 

    More photos:

  • 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). 

Mailing Address:

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

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software