Magdalena Casas | President
Magdalena Casas is a Deputy City Attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, where she prosecutes misdemeanor cases involving a variety of crimes. A native of Los Angeles, she graduated from UCLA, where she majored in English Literature, with a minor in Public Policy, and received a Master of Public Administration degree from CSUN. Ms. Casas graduated from Whittier Law School, magna cum laude. Before joining the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, Ms. Casas was a Staff Attorney with the non-profit Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County. In that capacity, Ms. Casas assisted self-represented litigants with access to legal services in the areas of family, housing, and civil law.
Prior to attending law school she worked for the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation & Parks, where she managed recreational programming in the most underserved communities for the residents of the City of Los Angeles. In 2010, the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council honored her for her commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for youth participating in at risk programs and activities. She is currently a law advisory committee member with Los Angeles Mission College, and in her spare time she enjoys volunteering for a variety of charitable causes.
Elizabeth Hernandez | President-Elect
Elizabeth A. Hernandez is an attorney at Dordick Law Corporation in Beverly Hills. Ms. Hernandez’s areas of practice include catastrophic personal injury, premises liability and wrongful death cases. She was selected for the Daily Journal’s Top Women Lawyers 2021. She was selected by her peers for inclusion in the 22nd (2016) through 28th (2022) Editions of The Best Lawyers in America for her work in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. She has also been selected to the 2022, 2021 and 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers list.
Her professional memberships include: (1) Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) - 2022 Executive Committee: Treasurer, which means she will be President of CAALA in 2026, and she is currently an Emeritus Board Member, (2) Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) – 2022 Board Member, 2020 Executive Committee - Women’s Caucus Representative; (3) Mexican American Bar Association – 2022 Board Member: Secretary, 2021 Vice-President, 2020 Membership Director; and 2019 Trustee, (4) Latina Lawyers Bar Association, and (5) The American Association for Justice.
Ms. Hernandez has been a speaker at various seminars. The most recent seminars include: (1) Getting The Most Out Of The PMQ From Discovery Through Trial Panel – Dealing With the Know Nothing PMQ, 60th Annual Convention, November 2021, (2) Trial Skills Sessions: Direct Examination, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Women in Law, October 28, 2020; (3) Higher Level Medicine For Lawyers Panel - The Most Common Avoidable Catastrophes in the E.R. and How to Find Them, Consumer Attorneys of California, 59th Annual Convention, November 2019; and (4) Discovery & Depos Panel – Creating Your Discovery Plan, CAALA, Las Vegas Convention, August 2019 and August 2018 (Discovery & Evidence Panel).
Ms. Hernandez has also written various articles which have been published in CAALA’s Advocate journal, CAOC’s Forum magazine, and Plaintiff magazine. Her most recent articles include: (1) Supporting the Non-Economic Damages Claim in a Wrongful-Death Case, CAALA’s Advocate journal, April 2021, (2) An Effective Discovery Plan is More Than Just Knowing the Law and Some Facts, CAALA’s Advocate journal, October 2019; and (3) Preparing Your Retained Expert Witness for Deposition, Advocate journal, October 2017. She’s been practicing law in California since 1999. She received her J.D. from Southwestern University School of Law in Los Angeles and obtained her B.A. in History from UCLA.
Diego A. Arp| Vice-President
Diego A. Arp is Senior Counsel at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. His legal practice includes banking, compliance, corporate, regulatory, and tax work for domestic and international commercial transactions. Diego was born and raised in the San Joaquin Central Valley to parents of Mexican and Creole descent.
He attended San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California and then transferred to the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). While at UCSB, Diego earned a bachelor’s degree and obtained dual majors in History and Law & Society. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law (UCLA School of Law). At UCLA School of Law, Diego served as a member of several diverse law student organizations in leadership positions, clerked at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and at Crystal Stairs, Inc.
Since graduating, he has served as President of the UCLA School of Law Alumni Association, actively supports the UCLA School of Law, Law Fellows Program, the Mexican American Bar Foundation, California Minority Counsel Program, Association of Corporate Counsel and the Hispanic National Bar Association. Diego is also a member of the Wells Fargo Law Department Diversity and Inclusion Council (LDDIC) both nationally and locally. He volunteers regularly with the Alliance for Children’s Rights and has provided pro bono legal services to immigrant families held in detention centers in Dilley, Texas as a participant of the Dilley Pro Bono Project.
Lori Romero | Secretary
Lori Romero became the Senior Partner of the Law Firm of Arevalo & Romero on January 1, 2018, at the age of twenty-seven. She attended Scripps College on a full scholarship and graduated in 2012. She went to Loyola Law School and graduated in 2015. She was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2016.
During law school, she interned in the gang unit of the District Attorney of Compton, California, clerked for Judge Hector Guzman and interned for three years in the Office of Counsel of the Army Corps of Engineers. She also did a clerkship at the Law Office of Enrique Arevalo. It was during this clerkship at the firm and under the guidance of Enrique Arevalo when she decided to pursue a career in immigration law.
Eve Lopez | Treasurer
A founding partner of López Law Group, a boutique family law practice in West Los Angeles, Ms. López exclusively practices family law. She is a certified family law specialist, regularly appointed by the court to represent minor children. Guided by the principle: if you get, give and if you learn, teach - Ms. López teaches locally and nationally on issues related to custody disputes involving children with special needs, minor’s counsel and integrating the use of technology in the courtroom. Teaching and providing consulting services regarding the use of technology allows her to proudly embrace her inner geek.
Ms. López also volunteers her time as a pilot. She assisted in re-establishing the Los Angeles Chapter of the 99s organization, an international organization of women pilots whose first president was Amelia Earhart. As a pilot, Ms. Lopez flies for public benefit including as a Command Pilot for Angel Flight West, assisting in non-life threatening medical transport and for the Young Eagles program, where she flies children aspiring to be astronauts and pilots on their first general aviation flight.
Eric Canton | Membership Director
Eric R. Canton is a trial attorney at the Law Offices of Brian D. Witzer, Inc., representing individuals throughout California who have been injured by the wrongful and negligent acts of others. Eric earned his undergraduate degree from UC Santa Barbara in 2009, where he majored in Law and Society and minored in Music and Spanish. While attending UCSB, Eric was very active in the community. He played in a non-profit community-based Mariachi, worked for a non-profit organization that focused on helping children with learnings disabilities succeed in elementary school, and interned for the Santa Barbara Public Defender’s office.
Eric then obtained his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School in 2016. While in law school, Eric served as Vice President for La Raza de Loyola, volunteered as a mentor and coordinator for Loyola’s Young Lawyers program, and competed in the the 21st Annual Uvaldo Herrera Moot Court Competition.
Eric received First Honors recognition in the Civil Litigation Skills Practicum and completed the Civil Litigation and Advocacy Concentration with honors. Eric was then awarded a fellowship with the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). When Eric is not working, Eric enjoys spending time with his family, going to Dodgers games, playing soccer, and exploring new places.
Mayra B. Joachin | Newsletter Director
Mayra Joachín is a Staff Attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Southern California where she works with the Bakersfield Office. Mayra is part of the Immigrants’ Rights, Criminal Justice, and Police Practice Projects. She utilizes advocacy and litigation to address immigration detention issues, advocate for the closure of immigration detention centers and a reduction in the number of individuals who are incarcerated, and combat racially discriminatory practices employed by law enforcement in Kern County.
Prior to joining the ACLU, Mayra worked at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC). At NILC, she advanced the rights of low-income immigrants through impact litigation, administrative advocacy, and technical assistance. She was counsel on cases challenging rescissions to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”), changes to the public charge admissibility rule, and discriminatory public utilities policies. She also engaged in advocacy to reduce immigration enforcement at health care facilities. In 2020, she received the Jack Berman Award of Achievement.
Mayra holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she double majored in Political Science and Spanish and minored in Latin American studies. She graduated from Columbia Law School in 2015. Her passion for her work stems from her experiences as a Salvadoran immigrant.
Elizabeth L. Bradley | Trustee (20+ years)
Elizabeth L. Bradley has been practicing law for over 27 years. She studied International Relations at the University of San Diego, and attended California Western School of Law, where she was a member of the La Raza Law Students Assn. and interned for the California Court of Appeal. Throughout high school, college and law school, Elizabeth worked at her mother’s litigation firm in San Diego, Viviano & Bradley, in many administrative roles culminating in her joining the firm as an attorney. Under her mother’s tireless example, Elizabeth learned the importance of mentorship and service to the community.
After relocating to Los Angeles, years later Elizabeth and her mother formed their own firm, Bradley & Bradley, LLP, where they tried several cases together. Elizabeth is a State Bar of California certified specialist in legal malpractice, and is a partner in Rosen Saba, LLP, where she has practiced for the past eleven years, prosecuting legal malpractice, legal ethics and employment discrimination and harassment matters, as well as handling the firm’s appeals.
She currently serves on the State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics, is a current and founding member of the CLA Ethics Committee, is the immediate past Chair of LACBA’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee, and serves on LACBA’s Diversity in the Profession Section Executive Committee and the President’s Advisory Committee on Women in the Profession. She frequently writes and speaks on legal ethics and litigation issues, and participates in mentoring programs through various schools and organizations.
Moises Vazquez | Trustee (20+ years)
Moises Vazquez has been practicing law for over 41 years. In 1983 he founded the Law Offices of Moises Vazquez, where he practices personal injury and worker's compensation law.
He graduated from Cantwell High School and obtained his undergraduate degree from Loyola Marymount University. He then went on to receive his J.D. from UCLA School of law. While at UCLA, he earned the Dean's Scholarship and was the Centro Legal de Santa Monica director.
Moises has also served on the board of Latino Comp, California Applicant’s Attorney’s Association (CAAA), and Voters Injured at Work (VIAW). He has served multiple terms as president of Latino Comp and Chapter president, LAMAAA, of (CAAA).
Jacqueline Davalos | Trustee (10- 20 years)
Jacqueline Davalos owns her own practice, Davalos Defense Law Firm, where she practices criminal defense and post-conviction relief. Prior to founding her law office, Jacqueline gained experience as a public defender in Merced County, Kern County and most recently, Los Angeles County, as a deputy alternate public defender where she was given the award for “Most Misdemeanor Trials,” her first year. She also worked as an immigration attorney for a couple years at the beginning of her career.
Jacqueline got her B.A. in International Relations with an emphasis in Intercultural Studies from Pepperdine University, took a year off to live on Maui and then attended California Western School of Law where she did an externship in Santiago, Chile and interned at the San Diego Public Defender’s Office.
As the daughter of immigrants from Jalisco, Mexico, Jacqueline spent her childhood summers in Jalisco and is fluent in Spanish. Her drive to become an attorney stemmed from her passion to help immigrants navigate the complexities of their new home and to defend their rights.
Marina Torres | Trustee (10-20 years)
Marina A. Torres, is a former federal prosecutor and currently in private practice. Marina is an experienced litigator with over 30+ trials in federal and state courts, and almost 15 years of legal practice in litigation, white collar criminal and government investigation matters. She has received multiple awards and recognitions from several law
enforcement agencies and departments for her prosecutorial work – the DOJ Special Achievement Award in 2017, the FBI Director’s Award in 2019, and a commendation from the DEA and U.S. Secret Service in 2020. Prior to joining the U.S. DOJ, Marina was a political appointee with the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama, where she was part of the policy team leading the design and implementation of the President’s executive actions on immigration (DACA), and worked in civil litigation at the law firms of Wilmer Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and Munger Tolles and Olson LLP. Ms. Torres is also a former political candidate for Los Angeles City Attorney, raising over $750k as a first-time candidate and earning almost 113k votes.
Jesse Blancarte | Trustee (5-10 years)
Jesse F. Blancarte is the Managing Partner of Blancarte Law, APC, along with his brother, James E. Blancarte. Jesse primarily focuses on immigration law, representing clients before the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the Department of Homeland Security, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. He is also the Supervising Attorney at El Rescate, a non-profit that has represented individuals in immigration proceedings in Los Angeles for over 40 years.
Jesse attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a B.A. in Sociology and English. Jesse subsequently attended Loyola Law School and graduated in 2015. While in law school, Jesse externed for the Honorable Philip S. Gutierrez, who currently serves as the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Central District of California. He later externed for the Honorable Steven J. Kleifield of the Los Angeles Superior Court. Jesse was also a Board Member of the Scott Moot Court at Loyola Law School.
Jesse has also volunteered at non-profits that represent individuals in immigration proceedings for little or no cost. He has dedicated his career to advocating on behalf of immigrant communities that face increasingly difficult challenges and hostility. Jesse credits his father, Judge Jim Blancarte, and mother, Cynthia, for always being there to support and guide him.
Brenda Galvan | Trustee (5-10 years)
Brenda Galvan is a Deputy Attorney General at the California Department of Justice in the Division of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse. She received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law.
Before joining the Department of Justice, Ms. Galvan served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted cases involving a variety of crimes, including murder, attempted murder, carjacking, and robberies.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Galvan worked for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as an Immigrant and Foreign Affairs Liaison, a position in which she assisted hundreds of constituents, who were often victims of crime, with their immigration matters. That experience sparked her interest in attending law school.
Ms. Galvan is actively involved in the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the Latino Prosecutors Association. In her spare time, Ms. Galvan enjoys spending time with family and friends, long-distance running, traveling, eating at new restaurants, and hiking with her significant other, Jeremy, and their dog, Buster.
Christian Contreras | Trustee (0-5 years)
Christian Contreras is an attorney, advocate, and community leader. As an attorney, Christian is the principal of the Law Offices of Christian Contreras, PLC and partner at Guizar, Henderson & Carrazco, LLP where he practices civil rights, criminal defense, personal injury, trials, appeals, and general civil litigation. Christian’s achievements as a lawyer include several jury trial victories, multiple successful results at the Ninth Circuit and Court of Appeal, and millions recovered for his clients.
As an advocate, Christian works with various non-profit organizations in the pursuit of social equity. Christian serves as counsel to Centro CSO, the Latino Coalition of Los Angeles, and other community organizations. Christian also works in shaping policy and has also testified at the State Capitol in support of legislation.
As a community leader, Christian also serves on the board of directors of the East Los Angeles College and currently serves as the state-wide legal advisor to the League of Latin United American Citizens. Christian is also a co-founder of Justice X. Justice X is a coalition of Black and Brown lawyers dedicated to advancing social equity. Through Justice X, Christian is launching an education initiative where the program focuses on teaching young adults from lower socio-economic neighborhoods about their rights in an effort to empower them and foster hope.
Ronald Gomez | Trustee (0-5 years)
Ronald Gomez, a native of Inglewood, CA, serves as Deputy Public Defender for the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Prior to joining the Public Defender's Office, he practiced Employment Law as an Associate Attorney at prominent law firms in Los Angeles.
Ronald is a graduate of UCLA, Loyola Marymount University, and most recently, of USC Gould School of Law. As a proud first-generation American, he is passionate about serving the needs of underrepresented communities. Before law school, he was a member of Teach for America and was also a Fulbright Scholarship recipient. Today, as a newer attorney, he intends to use his legal education to advocate for racial and social justice.
As a new member on the MABA Board of Trustees, Ronald intends to continue advocating for the rights of the Latino community through his participation with the Association.
Juan J. Redin | Trustee (Appointed)
Juan J. Redín is a Senior Deputy General Counsel with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Juan was born in Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico. At the age of 10 he immigrated to the U.S. 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 pioneering law, AB 540 and transfer to UCLA. Juan received his bachelor’s in political science, magna cum lade, from UCLA in 2003.
Juan obtained his Juris Doctor from the UCLA School of Law. During law school, Juan served as the Co-Editor in Chief of the Chicano Latino Law Review and the External Co-Chair of the La Raza Law Student Association. Juan also completed a judicial externship with the Honorable Fernando Olguin at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Prior to joining Metropolitan, Juan represented school districts, cities, and various public agencies, in securing funds to finance critical infrastructure projects.
Juan is passionate and deeply committed to expanding educational access to those who are less fortunate, especially for Dreamers. Through his work with Dreamers, Juan was honored to join First Lady Michelle Obama during the 2012 State of the Union address in Washington DC. Juan is an avid cyclist, striving baker, and also enjoys coaching youth soccer.
Jesus Zelada | Trustee (Appointed)
Jesus Zelada is the founding member of the Law Office of Jesus Zelada, APC. Mr. Zelada gained invaluable experience working previously at a law firm dedicated to the practice of family, immigration, and criminal law. Having also worked for two civil litigation firms, Mr. Zelada also has a strong background in civil litigation.
Ashley Kim | Student Trustee
Ashley Kim (She/Her) is a second-year law student at Southwestern Law School. She is interested in public interest and entertainment. Prior to law school, Ashley graduated from UC San Diego in 2020, receiving a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Law and Society. Following graduation, Ashley worked as a JusticeCorps Graduate Fellow at Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Los Angeles. She assisted self-represented litigants on family law matters and provided mentorship to undergraduate student interns. As a Los Angeles native, Ashley has always been inspired to work with her community.
During law school, Ashley has been involved with the Latino Law Student Association, Mass Incarceration Awareness Law Society, and is the co-founder of the First-Generation Law Student Association. Ashley is also a staffer for the Southwestern Journal of International Law, a research assistance for Professor Christopher Robinette, and a teaching assistant for Professor Hila Keren and Professor Dov Waisman. Ashley is also a dean’s fellow and peer mentor, helping students assimilate during their first year.
This past summer, Ashley externed at the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice in their immigration division helping domestic violence survivors. Specifically, Ashley worked on SIJS, EADs, and U-Visas.