Committed to the Advancement of Latinos in the Legal Profession and the Empowerment of the Latino Community Through Service and Advocacy

Board Members

Denisse O. Gastélum

PRESIDENT
Denisse O. Gastélum is an associate at Casillas & Associates, where she practices law in the areas of civil rights and catastrophic injury, representing plaintiffs in state and federal courts throughout the State of California. Ms. Gastélum was born in East Los Angeles into an immigrant family from Chihuahua and Sinaloa, México. Having come from humble beginnings, her commitment to advocating on behalf of those harmed by civil rights violations and catastrophic injuries comes naturally. Ms. Gastélum completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she majored in Psychology and minored in Political Science and Education. She then embarked upon her legal studies at Loyola Law School, where she served as a mentor for the Academic Support Program, a debate coach for the Johnnie Cochran Middle School Debate Program, a member of the review team for For People of Color, Inc., and a law clerk for The Cochran Firm. Following law school, she served as a Public Service Corps Fellow for the Honorable Teresa Sánchez-Gordon. Ms. Gastélum is the 2018 President of MABA. In 2017, Ms. Gastélum served as the President-Elect of MABA. During the first quarter of her term as the President-Elect of MABA, Ms. Gastélum organized the Los Angeles Minority Bar Associations’ Roundtable Discussion: What Makes America Great? The Roundtable Discussion was co-sponsored by twelve minority bar associations, including MABA, LLBA, Langston, IABA, JABA, BWL, MCBA, WLALA, APAWLA, APABA, SABA and LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles. By way of background, following the federal elections in November, various leaders from the Los Angeles minority bar associations came together and mobilized to bring an informative, action-driven panel geared towards equipping attorneys and law students with the necessary information and resources to help protect vulnerable communities and constitutional liberties. Throughout 2017, Ms. Gastélum has organized family readiness/emergency planning workshops with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. These workshops are in direct response to the threat of mass deportation of Latino families under the Trump Administration. In 2016, Ms. Gastélum served as Vice President of MABA. In January of 2016, she co-chaired the Civil Rights MCLE Day where she organized and moderated the well-attended and extremely informative Body Cameras workshop. In February of 2016, she executed the MobileCause Fundraiser at MABA’s Annual Installation. This fundraiser was a first of its kind and has proven to be a reliable means to raise the necessary funds for MABA’s Federal Judicial Externship Program and High School Scholarship Program. In June of 2016, she planned the Annual Spring Mixer where the MABA community united to celebrate the accomplishments of its high school scholars, federal externs and the newly appointed judicial officers. Also in June, Ms. Gastélum co-chaired the MABA 2016 Supreme Court Review. In the summer of 2016, Ms. Gastélum proposed and solidified a partnership between MABA and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles wherein MABA would provide services to the community through legal fairs and naturalization and Know Your Rights workshops. In August of 2016, Ms. Gastélum served as the Chair for MABA’s Annual Legal Fair and organized the Town Hall Discussion: “Racial Injustice in the U.S.” alongside various leaders of the local minority bar associations. Ms. Gastélum previously served as the Treasurer of MABA during the presidency of Cindy Pánuco in 2015. During her tenure as Treasurer, she co-chaired two momentous events. The first event was the Community Legal Fair, which was not only co-sponsored by the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti but was also graced by the presence of the Mayor himself. The second event was the Spring Mixer, which made its nostalgic come back bringing Mabistas from all generations together. Ms. Gastélum was also invited to participate in the MABA México Feria Legal in Jalisco, México. Ms. Gastélum served as a Trustee during the presidency of Erick Solares in 2014. During her tenure as Trustee, she planned the Annual Softball Tournament and the Young Lawyers Career Expo, both events far exceeding their projected success. She was also invited to participate as a lecturer and mock trial participant during the October 2014 MABA México Criminal Trial Reform in Jalisco, México. Since first joining the MABA Board, Ms. Gastélum has served on various committees, including Installation, Judge’s Night, Political Endorsement Committee, Judicial Endorsement Committee, and the Bylaws Committee. Ms. Gastélum will serve as the 2018 President-Elect for the Latina Lawyers Bar Association. Throughout her tenure with LLBA, Ms. Gastélum has served in the capacity of Secretary, Dinner Chair and Scholarship Chair. She is also a founding member of the LLBA Young Lawyers Committee. Ms. Gastélum has also served as mentor for Motivating Our Students Through Experience, a non-profit organization geared towards mentoring young girls enrolled in middle schools and high schools located in underserved communities. Over the years, Ms. Gastélum has been invited to serve as a panelist on various panels regarding the practice of law and career advice.

Oscar Rene Gutierrez

President Elect
Oscar Rene Gutierrez is the son of Mexican immigrants from Guadalajara and La Barca, Jalisco. After graduating from Loyola High School of Los Angeles in 2002, he attended the University of Southern California (USC) where he graduated in 2006. Oscar then enrolled at Pepperdine University School of Law as a Diversity Scholar. While at Pepperdine Law, he served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew, United States District Court Judge for the Central District of California. Oscar graduated from Pepperdine Law in 2010. Oscar’s involvement in the Latino legal community began in law school. While at Pepperdine Law, he served as the MABA Student Vice Chair for Pepperdine Law and as the President of the Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA). Oscar currently practices law as a trial attorney with his father, Oscar H. Gutierrez. Their practice focuses exclusively on litigating and trying plaintiff’s personal injury matters across the state of California. The vast majority of Oscar’s legal work aids the monolingual Spanish-speaking community here in southern California. His goal is to ensure that the rights of Latinos are protected in our judicial system, regardless of their immigration status, finances, or socioeconomic background. He loves trial work and representing his clients. Oscar was recently named to The National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 Under 40 – Civil Plaintiff” in both 2016 and 2017. He was also a nominee for the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) “Rising Star” award in 2016 and was recognized as a 2017 Southern California “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in 2017. Oscar serves as Secretary for the Latino Alumni Society of Loyola High School and is the Co-Chair of the Communications/Website Committee for the Litigation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). He is a proud member of both the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) and Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) where he serves as the Consumer Attorneys Lead Liaison for California State Assemblymember Ian Calderon. This will be Oscar’s fifth year serving on the MABA Board. He was a MABA Trustee in 2014, MABA’s Secretary in 2015, MABA’s Treasurer in 2016, and MABA’s Vice-President in 2017. He is greatly looking forward to serving as MABA President in 2019.

Ana Graciela Nájera Mendoza

VICE PRESIDENT
Ana Graciela Nájera Mendoza is a native of South Los Angeles and daughter of Guatemalan immigrants. Whether working as a community organizer or a litigator, Ana is committed to working with communities to promote racial and economic justice. She is currently a Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Southern California’s Education Equity Team, where she litigates and advocates to protect the rights of California's students. Prior to joining the ACLU in 2017, Ana was an Associate at Alexander Krakow + Glick LLP, a plaintiff-side employment and civil rights firm, where she worked on cases involving wage theft, housing discrimination, and employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation under California's Fair Employment and Housing Act.  Prior to law school, Ana organized youth in the eastside of Los Angeles and in rural communities in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest to build community power and create positive social change. Ana is a 2014 graduate of UCLA School of Law, where she was enrolled in the Critical Race Studies (CRS) specialization.  During law school, Ana volunteered with A New Way of Life and clerked with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the ACLU of Southern California, and UNITE HERE Local 11. Ana was a 2010 UCLA Law Fellow and gave back to the program by serving as a Law Fellows Mentor during law school. She also served as a Co-Chair of the La Raza Latino Law Students Association.  Ana was the recipient of scholarships from the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Mexican American Bar Foundation, and Latina Lawyers Bar Association and she was selected as the 2014 MALDEF Hernandez-Stern Scholarship recipient. Since 2015, Ana has been an active leader within the Mexican American Bar Association (MABA), serving as MABA’s 2016 Secretary, 2017 Treasurer, 2018 Vice President, Chair of the MABA High School Scholarship Program, and Chair of the MABA Student Outreach Program. Ana has shepherded MABA’s Student Outreach Program for over three years by connecting MABA lawyers to classrooms across Los Angeles with the aim of inspiring the next generation of diverse lawyers.  

Marisa Hernández-Stern

SECRETARY
Marisa Hernández-Stern is a Deputy Attorney General in the California Department of Justice’s Underground Economy Unit, Civil Rights Enforcement Section.  She graduated from Brown University in 2005 and the UCLA School of Law in 2010 with concentrations in Critical Race Studies and Public Interest Law and Policy.  Ms. Hernández-Stern clerked for the Honorable Harry Pregerson, United States Circuit Judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Hernández-Stern currently serves as the chair of MABA's Federal Judicial Externship Program. She is also a board member of the Brown University Alumni Association Board of Governors and co-chair of the Brown University Latino Alumni Council-Los Angeles chapter. She serves on the board of the American Constitution Society-Los Angeles chapter.  She is also a member of the California Employment Lawyers Association, the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. In 2014 and 2015, Ms. Hernández-Stern acted as an NGO legal observer representative for the Pacific Council to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to view pre-trial proceedings of detainee Abd al Rahim al Nashiri.

Monica Guizar

TREASURER
Monica Guizar is an Attorney and Shareholder with the union-side law firm of Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld. Ms. Guizar is also a mother, wife, and daughter. She grew up in Pico Rivera - the eldest daughter of Mexican immigrant parents. Since obtaining her law degree from Loyola Law School in 1998, she has dedicated the entirety of her legal career to representing workers, unions and immigrants. Her practice areas with the firm include traditional labor, employment and immigration law in both the private and public sector. She regularly litigates labor and employment cases before the state and federal courts, handles labor arbitrations and regularly appears before the National Labor Relations Board and the Public Employee Relations Board. She has extensive experience dealing with issues that impact immigrant workers and organizing immigrant workers. She often provides training to local unions and members. Ms. Guizar also provides legal advice, assists with policy analysis, and administrative advocacy to local unions, labor federations and international unions on immigration reform at the state and federal level as well as on immigration issues in the workplace. Ms. Guizar was previously the Employment Policy Attorney with the National Immigration Law Center and ran a private law practice. She regularly speaks on panels involving immigration issues and the workplace. She also staffed and contributed to the UFCW’s report: Raids on Workers, Destroying Our Rights: A comprehensive Analysis and Investigation of ICE Raids and Their Ramifications, A report by the National Commission On ICE Misconduct and Violations of 4th Amendment Rights (2009). She is a Co-Author with NELP on a Toolkit: California’s New Immigrant Worker Protections Against Employer Retaliation, By Eunice Hyunhye Cho and Monica Guizar (May 2014). She has served on the board of directors of: Working Hands Legal Clinic in Chicago, IL; the Latina Lawyers Bar Association (LLBA) – is a Past President of LLBA; the National Lawyers Guild –LA chapter; the Mexican American Bar Association; and the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. She has volunteered with the L.A. Raids Response Network and continues to serve on the reconvened Network. Presently she serves on the Board of Directors of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee and on the California State Bar’s Labor and Employment Section’s Executive Committee. Ms. Guizar received her undergraduate degrees in Spanish Literature and Criminology, Law and Society from U.C. Irvine in 1995.

Sandra Muñoz

Membership Director
Sandra C. Muñoz is the owner of the Law Offices of Sandra C. Muñoz. Sandra’s law office is dedicated to representing workers whose civil rights have been violated. For over 19 years, Sandra has worked on countless cases involving employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Sandra also has extensive experience in cases involving police abuse. Sandra graduated from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 1997 and earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano/a Studies from UCLA. Sandra is also a graduate of Garfield High School in East Los Angeles and a former student of renowned math teacher Jaime Escalante. At Loyola, Sandra was a member of the team that competed and won the 1996 Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court. She was also President of La Raza Law Students Association and named the National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Student of the Year in 1997. At the outset of her career, Sandra was an Associate Attorney at Hadsell & Stormer (now Hadsell, Stormer, & Renick), a prominent civil rights law firm. There, Sandra represented numerous clients in employment cases. Sandra was then an Associate Attorney at Moreno, Becerra, & Casillas, a renowned Latino civil rights and catastrophic injury law firm. There, Sandra worked on numerous cases brought by victims of the LAPD Rampart Scandal, as well as other police abuse cases. In 2011, Sandra opened the Law Offices of Sandra C. Muñoz where she continues to pursue her long-life commitment to representing workers. Sandra has successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit and the California Court of Appeal. She has also been featured in the Daily Journal, participated on various continuing education panels, and taught legal courses for Dowling College. In 2002, Ms. Muñoz served as the President of the Latina Lawyers Bar Association. Sandra has also worked as te Managing Editor of the State Bar’s California Labor and Employment Law Review. In 2004 and 2005, Sandra was named Southern California Rising Star by Super Lawyers. In 2011, Sandra was nominated for Attorney of the Year by the National Latina Business Woman Association. Since 2012, Sandra has been a member of the Central District of California Merit Selection Panel. Sandra also received the California Lawyer Attorney of the Year Award in 2016 for her work representing warehouse workers in a wage and hour class action against Wal-Mart and other defendants. Also in 2016, Sandra received the LLBA Mary V. Orozco Abriendo Caminos Award. In addition to her legal career, Sandra is also a writer who earned an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Sandra co-authored the play “Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Piñata Woman and Other Superhero Girls Like Me” with Luis Alfaro, Marisela Norte, and Alma Cervantes. “Black Butterfly” was nominated for an Ovation Award in 2000 for Best Writing of a World Premiere and was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Juan Redín

NEWSLETTER EDITOR
Juan Jose Redín is a Senior Associate with the global law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright. Juan was born and raised in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico.  At the age of 10 he immigrated to the United States with his Mom and younger sister. Juan was raised in a single parent household and is the first in his family to graduate from college. As an undocumented student, Juan endured many challenges on his journey to achieve his Dream of higher education.  Juan attended Mt. San Jacinto Community College and Mt. San Antonio College before being able to take advantage of California’s AB 540 and transfer to the University of California at Los Angeles.  Juan received his bachelors in political science, magna cum lade, from UCLA in 2003. A double Bruin, Juan obtained his Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law.  During law school, Juan served as the Executive Editor and Co-Editor in Chief of the Chicano Latino Law Review and the External Co-Chair of the La Raza Law Student Association.  Juan also served as Attorney General of the National Latino/a Law Student Association and completed a judicial externship with the Honorable Fernando Olguin at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Since graduating from law school in 2007, Juan has dedicated his entire legal career representing school districts, cities, various public agencies, and underwriters in multi-million dollar public finance transactions.  Juan has published several articles relating to public finance and the regulation of municipal securities. Juan is passionate and deeply committed to expanding educational access to those who are less fortunate, especially for Dreamers. Juan is a member of the UCLA Marco Firebaugh Dream Fund dedicated to assist less fortunate students pursue and obtain a legal education (Marco Firebaugh was the lead co-sponsor of AB 540, which gave Juan and thousands of immigrant youth access to higher education).  Through his work with Dreamers, Juan was honored with an invitation to join First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2012 State of the Union address in Washington DC. Juan’s most proud achievements are his family. He lives in Burbank with his wife Jessica and young children:  Sofía and Joaquín.

Enrique Arevalo

TRUSTEE (20+ YEARS)
Enrique Arevalo is an immigrant from Mexico, who joined MABA in November, 1983. After serving on MABA' s board for six years, he became :MA.BA' s president in 1995. His legacy was the creation ofMABA's - State Bar certified Lawyer Referral and Information Service. He operated MABA as profit oriented "business" entity, and at the end of his term MABA ended with black numbers. Enrique Arevalo is an immigration attorney founder and sole proprietor of his law firm since 1984. His firm has produced some of today's most skilled immigration attorneys in Southern California, including a present Immigration Judge and two adjunct Law Professors. His firm has been the recipjent of published decisions by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. For many years Enrique has been a household name in the Spanish language media. He has participated as an analyst of immigration issues for the television newscasts of NBC - Telemundo KVEA; "Canal 52", and Mundo  Fox  News,  KWHY -"Canal  22".  He presently hosts a one hour daily talk show with Univision radio station KTNQ - 1020 A.M the programs title is "Usted y la Ley". Enrique Arevalo is a single parent who lives and works in South Pasadena, California. He has one married daughter and two grandchildren

Leonard Torrealba

TRUSTEE (20+ YEARS)
Leonard Torrealba was born and raised in Venezuela.  At the age of 17, he moved to Los Angeles.  He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and his Juris Doctor degree from the George Washington University in Washington D.C.  Mr. Torrealba has been a trial lawyer for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for 31 years.  He has been assigned to various trial and management positions including the Public Integrity, Healthcare Fraud, Major Narcotics and Consumer Protection divisions.  Mr. Torrealba is firmly committed to public service and community advocacy.  He has served multiple terms as the President of the Latino Prosecutors Association and is currently the President of the Latino Prosecutors Foundation and a Mexican American Bar Foundation trustee.  He is a leader in the field of immigrant consumer protection and an advocate of crime prevention and mentoring programs.   He is married to longtime MABA member Judge Shelly Torrealba and is honored to be part of the MABA family.

Juan Ramos

TRUSTEE (10-20 YEARS)
Juan Ramos has experience in transactional law, including corporate, real estate, contracts and business law.  Through his experience at premier law firms, as in-house counsel and in his private practice, Juan has advised clients and management on business issues, legal compliance matters and strategic initiatives.  He is an Adjunct Professor at Southwestern Law School and a Lecturer in Law for USC Gould School of Law’s online program. As a past MABA Membership Director, Juan increased MABA’s membership.  Over the last several years, Juan has served on the MABA Lawyer Referral and Information Service (MABA-LRIS) Committee in charge of revamping and relaunching the service.  MABA-LRIS’s purpose includes, among other things, providing legal and professional assistance to the Latino community.  In addition, Juan drafted and filed with California’s State’s Supreme Court MABA’s amicus brief in support of a DREAMer’s admission to the State Bar. Juan was born and raised in Los Angeles.  After graduating from Roosevelt High School, he attended Harvard.  Before attending Stanford Law School, he received a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of Michigan, worked on Wall Street in New York, and taught at his high school alma mater. Juan is a board member of the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA and the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Boyle Heights, where he grew up.  He was previously a trustee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and a City of Los Angeles commissioner.

Kevin Keeland

TRUSTEE (5-10 YEARS)
Kevin M. Keeland is a Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.  Starting with the DA’s Office in 2005, as a student worker in the time keeping unit, Kevin worked his way up to student professional worker, law clerk and eventually to Deputy District Attorney.  While with the District Attorney’s Office, Kevin has been assigned to the West Covina, Compton and Alhambra Offices.   He has previously worked in the Victim Impact Program, or VIP Unit, where he handled sex and domestic violence cases involving both adults and juveniles.  He has obtained convictions in cases ranging from driving under the influence to first degree murder. Kevin obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2008 and his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in 2011.  Kevin has previously worked as a judicial extern for the United States District Court, with the Hon. Ronald S.W. Lew and for the California Superior Court, with the Hon. Michael Pastor.  Kevin is of mixed ethnic decent.  His mother is Mexican and his father is Norwegian.  Kevin is also a member of the Half-Norwegian Bar Association and was the recipient of the Latino Prosecutors Foundation Scholarship in 2009

Claudia Perez

TRUSTEE (5-10 YEARS)
Claudia Perez is a member of the California State Bar, practicing immigration and nationality law.  In 2014, Ms. Perez established the Law Office of Claudia Perez where she represents clients facing deportation in immigration courts and detention centers throughout the U.S. As the daughter of immigrants, Ms. Perez derives her passion for immigration issues from her family’s first-hand experiences. Ms. Perez graduated from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles in 2011. As a student, Ms. Perez was a member of the Scott Moot Court Honors Board and was selected to represent Loyola Law School in the National Moot Court Competition. She also participated in the Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition where her team was named 2011 National Champions. Ms. Perez was also President of La Raza de Loyola.  Ms. Perez’s undergraduate degree is in Psychology and Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. A Los Angeles native, Ms. Perez is a proud graduate of John Marshall High School. Ms. Perez lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Richard.

Paul Aguilar

TRUSTEE (0-5 YEARS)
Paul Aguilar is an Assistant General Counsel at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Prior, Mr. Aguilar was an associate at a boutique law firm in the Los Angeles area where he focused on employment law for public entities. He also served as an interim project management administrator in the Los Angeles Unified School District's Office of Educational Services. In this capacity, he coordinated special projects district wide and authored board reports and policy bulletins. While in law school, Mr. Aguilar was a legal assistant and extern at LAUSD, as well as serving as a law clerk in a civil litigation firm, a policy analyst for a legislative advocacy group and as a field deputy for a Councilman in the City of Los Angeles. Mr. Aguilar earned his Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles and holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies & International Relations from Brown University. He speaks and writes fluently in both Spanish and Portuguese

Beatriz Alfaro

TRUSTEE (0-5 YEARS)
Ms. Beatriz Alfaro was born in El Salvador and raised in Los Angeles. Ms. Alfaro earned her undergraduate degree in 2013 from Loyola Marymount University, where she double majored in Women’s Studies and Spanish. She developed an early passion for public service, promoting diversity, and gender equality. That commitment led her to UC Davis School of Law. While in law school, she clerked at the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, Yolo County District Attorney’s Office, and Attorney General’s Office in Los Angeles. In the fall of 2015, Ms. Alfaro externed for Associate Justice Elena Duarte at the Third District Court of Appeal. Post-graduation, she secured a Civil Rights Fellowship with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Ms. Alfaro has participated in the UCLA Law Fellows program and the Latino Leadership Initiative at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Ms. Alfaro was also recognized by Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) with the Future History Maker Award. Ms. Alfaro is a native Spanish speaker and hopes to always partake in mentoring programs since they were fundamental to her success. Currently, Ms. Alfaro is an Associate Attorney at Shegerian & Associates, which has obtained some of the largest employment verdicts in Los Angeles County and delivers strong and positive results for its clients.

Marissa Montes

TRUSTEE (0-5 YEARS)
H. Marissa Montes is the Co-Director of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles Immigrant Justice Clinic. Marissa was born in Jalisco, Mexico and immigrated to Los Angeles, California as a child with her immediate family. Since a young age, the adversities Marissa’s family faced motivated her to become involved in the immigrant rights movement. She then attended college at the University of Southern California, where she continued in her advocacy, and double majored in International Relations and Spanish. Upon graduating from Loyola Law School in 2012, she was jointly awarded Loyola’s Post-Graduate Public Interest Fellowship and co-founded this unique community based clinic, which brought direct immigration legal services through clinical legal education to the East Side of Los Angeles. Through this fellowship, Marissa gave her first law lecture at the age of 25, and has since then successfully supervised many clinical law students in their representation of immigrant clients. In addition to her role in the clinic, Marissa has also taught courses in regards to Cross Cultural Competency and Trauma Informed Lawyering, as well as spearheaded Loyola’s first Alternative Spring Break to El Paso, TX where students represented immigrants in removal proceedings. Marissa has also testified before the California State Assembly, as well as has had her work highlighted on many media outlets including, the Los Angeles Times and CNN in Espanol. Additionally, Marissa remains active in the community as a member of various immigrant rights coalitions and is a current HNBA Latina Commissioner. She has also been recently acknowledged by the American Bar Association as a 2017 On the Rise, Top 40 Young Lawyer.

Heriberto Veliz

TRUSTEE (0-5 YEARS)
Heriberto Veliz is an attorney at Perez & Caballero, representing plaintiffs in catastrophic personal injury, premises liability, and wrongful death cases. He has extensive training in litigation and is dedicated to vigorously advocating for his clients. Heriberto was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and raised in Sylmar, California. He graduated with Honors from CSUN with a B.S. in Finance. He then earned his J.D. from Loyola Law School. While at Loyola, he served as President of the La Raza. Heriberto also worked as a clinical student for the Loyola Immigrant Justice Clinic, where he represented victims of crimes seeking lawful status to the United States. Heriberto highly values building relationships and serving the community. He is an active member of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), the San Fernando Valley Bar Association (SFVBA), and will be proudly serving on the MABA Board of Trustees for a second time.

Chloressa Neblina

STUDENT TRUSTEE
Chloressa “Chloe” Neblina is MABA’s Student Trustee and acts as a liaison between the MABA Attorney network as well as the Southern California law schools. She was born in Los Angeles, CA and graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 2010 with a double major in Comparative Literature and Italian Studies. During college, she worked as a mentor and college counselor for high school students. After college, she worked for a personal injury firm, where she gained valuable experience and a desire to attend law school. She currently attends Loyola Law School as a third year evening student, while working as a law clerk for Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles (LAFLA) helping clients with ther naturalization applications and U-Visas. Prior to LAFLA, she was a paralegal at Kids in need of Defense (KIND) where she helped unaccompanied minors in need of immigration relief. At Loyola, she is Co-Chair of the Immigration Law Society and Networking Chair for La Raza. Her strong commitment to her community and her passion to provide a voice to children, has also led her to volunteer at Casa Libre, a shelter and academy for unaccompanied minor boys, where she encourages them to pursue their education and assists with the needs of the shelter. She hopes to one day become an immigration attorney to protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community. She is honored to serve as a Student Trustee and hopes to encourage more Latino students to attend law school and increase our representation in the legal field.

Claudia I. Perez

MABA EXECUTIVE ADMINISTRATOR
Claudia Perez was born in East Los Angeles and graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016 with a major in Global International Studies and a double minor in Italian and History. She has been an active member and student leader of the United Nations Foundation Girl Up, a nonprofit organization aimed at aiding one of the most marginalized groups in the world: girls. She expanded this organization by co-founding one of the first UNF college clubs in the nation, UCSB Girl Up Club. There, Claudia and her student members passionately raised awareness of various social justice issues, particularly concerning to girls in Malawi, Ethiopia, Liberia, Guatemala, and India. During this tenure, Claudia lobbied in Congress for the Girls Count Act of 2013, later signed by President Obama in the summer of 2015. During her undergraduate studies, she also attended the University of California, Washington Center where she partook in an internship with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of human rights through advocacy, education, and empowerment. Directly after graduating from UCSB, she studied abroad in Italy attending the University of Bologna. There she represented the University of California organization during the United States presidential elections by giving a city wide speech on the importance of student representation and voting. As the MABA Administrator, she is immensely honored to be a part of this dedicated and inspirational family and hopes to continue working alongside nonprofit organizations in helping alleviate some of the most prevalent world issues.