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Board Members

Elizabeth A. Hernández | President

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 | Pres-elect 

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.

Eve López | Vice President 

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.

Jesse Blancarte | Secretary 

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.

Eric Canton Treasurer 

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.

Lori Romero | Membership Director 

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.

Jesus Zelada | Newsletter Director 

Jesus Zelada is the founding member of the Law Office of Jesus Zelada, APC, an immigration law practice dedicated to providing the best representation for persons facing removal from the United States, persons wishing to petition family members for United States legal permanent residency, and any other immigration needs.  Prior to opening his law practice in 2012, from 2009 to 2012, Mr. Zelada gained invaluable experience as an attorney working at a law firm dedicated to the practice of immigration, family, and criminal law. 

Mr. Zelada grew up in a challenging neighborhood and now dedicates his time to giving back to his community.  Mr. Zelada is the current President of the Board of Directors for YouthBuild Charter School of California (YCSC), a project-based high school serving young people ages 16-24 who previously left or were pushed out of the traditional school system without a diploma.  YCSC provides students with vocational training, counseling, leadership development, post-secondary readiness, and an authentic education leading to a high school diploma.    

Mr. Zelada received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Cornell University and his Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School.  On December 1, 2009, Mr. Zelada was admitted to practice law in the State of California.

Elizabeth L. Bradley | Trustee (20+ years)


Elizabeth L. Bradley has been practicing law for 30 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. Elizabeth grew up working 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.  

Elizabeth and her mother later formed their own firm, Bradley & Bradley, LLP, where they tried several cases together.  Their partnership as mother-daughter Latina lawyers inspired Elizabeth to write a television pilot that was in development at NBC and CW.  Elizabeth is now a partner at Rosen Saba, LLP, where she has practiced for the past 13 years, prosecuting legal malpractice, legal ethics and employment discrimination and harassment matters, as well as handling the firm’s appeals. She is a State Bar of California certified specialist in legal malpractice, and was named one of California’s Top Professional Responsibility Lawyers by the Daily Journal in 2021 and 2022. 

Elizabeth is serving her third term as MABA Trustee, is Co-Chair of MABA’s Judicial Pipeline Program and Judicial Endorsements Committee, and is LACBA’s 2023-2025 Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Outreach.  She serves on the State Bar Committee on Professional Responsibility and Ethics, is a past and founding member of the CLA Ethics Committee, is past Chair of LACBA’s Professional Responsibility and Ethics Committee, serves on the United States District Court Standing Committee on Discipline, 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, diversity and litigation issues, and participates in mentoring programs through MABA, LACBA and various schools and organizations.

Mario D. Vega | Trustee (20+ years)

Mario Vega is a senior partner at Vistas Law Group, LLP, where he practices in the areas of trust and estate litigation, financial elder abuse litigation, probate, and estate planning.  Mario was born and raised in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles and is a proud alumna of Loyola High School, Occidental College, and Loyola Law School.  A third generation L.A. Chicano, Mario touts his greatest accomplishment to be his two sons, Mario Ernesto and Diego Andres.  When not drafting trusts or representing litigants in court, Mario enjoys spending his free time, cooking, enjoying a glass of wine and playing guitar in his lawyer band The Appeals. 

Magaly Gil | Trustee (10- 20 years)

Magaly Gil Cole, Deputy Public Defender IV.

She has been a Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender for 19 years and currently represents the defense in the most difficult and complex felony cases, including the defense of capital cases.

She attended UC Santa Cruz, Modesto Junior College and graduated with a double major in Philosophy and Spanish Language and Literature from California State University Stanislaus in 2000.  She was offered a scholarship to attend Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego and she graduated with honors in 2003.  

Magaly was born in Chihuahua Mexico and lived there, and in Ciudad Juarez until the age of 12 when she emigrated to the Central Valley with her parents.  She has made Los Angeles her home after being hired at her dream job at the Los Angeles County Public Defender's office in 2004.

 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.

James Blancarte | Trustee (5-10 years)

James Blancarte, Jr. has served as a Trustee on multiple MABA Boards. On his first MABA Board, he served as the MABA Golf Tournament Chairman and has been on the committee for every golf tournament since then, including the 2023 tournament at the Brookside Golf Course. He has also served on numerous committees over the years and is honored to serve as a Trustee for the 2024 MABA Board. James comes from a family with an extensive background in the legal field. His father was an attorney for many years and is now a Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. His brother, Jesse Blancarte, is an attorney and fellow MABA Board Member. They are the Managing Partners of their law firm, Blancarte Law, APC. James's sister, Marisa Blancarte-Cuevas, is a contract procurement specialist for SCAG, the Southern California Association of Governments. James credits the guidance of his father, past MABA president judge James Blancarte, Sr., who helped him become the attorney he is today.James manages a general practice including a variety of state court matters. He also represents minors in custody and guardianship cases to assist in their eventual application for a juvenile visa, a critical step in acquiring legal status in the United States. James also represents many individuals, unable to afford legal services, on a low-bono and pro bono basis. Through his work at Blancarte Law, APC and MABA, James dedicates his time and energy to give back to the community.

Brenda GalváTrustee (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.

Cynthia Santiago | Trustee (Appointed) 

Abogada Cynthia Santiago, is the daughter of immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico and Guatemala. At an early age she witnessed injustice resulting in her brothers wrongful incarceration. From that point the seed was formed that developed her passion to defend the rights of her community. Abogada Santiago has been a community activist since her teenage years raising awareness of social justice issues and establishing two teen centers focused on at risk youth. Abogada Santiago obtained a full scholarship to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where she graduated with Honors in the College of Social Studies, a multidisciplinary major focusing on History, Government, Political and Social Theory, and Economics. In 2011, Abogada Santiago graduated from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California. Immediately after being sworn in 2012, she formed her solo law firm focusing on immigration and criminal defense. Through her deportation defense and representation of detained individuals she has vast experience in complex crimmigration cases. She has assisted hundreds of families with self initiated pro bono workshops. She is frequently interviewed on tv, radio and print about immigration news. In 2020, she became host on a national tv show "Tribuna Juridica" where she provides legal insight on immigration topics to a Spanish speaking audience. Cynthia has a passion for leading others to higher education and law school, she has sponsored various scholarships and hosts mentoring events for first generation Lawtinas. In 2020, Abogada Santiago branched into   personal injury and worker rights to further assist our underserved communities in Knowing Their Rights.

Humberto Guizar | Trustee (Appointed)

Humberto overcame a very rough juvenile gang background to become an attorney. He has been a lawyer for 37 years. Humberto Guizar specializes in civil rights and catastrophic personal injury litigation.   

Humberto is also one of the 4 founders of Justice X. A collaboration of black and brown civil rights lawyers committed to social equality in the judicial system. He is also one of the founders of the Protestors Defense Alliance, (PDA).  A non-profit legal aid service that offered free legal services to protestors that were arrested in response the infamous killing of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.   

In 2000 Humberto was profiled in the Daily Journal for his role in obtaining one of the first 7 figure verdicts against CRASH officers from the L.A.P.D.  The front-page story was entitled “From Gang member to Attorney”. Humberto was also the lead counsel in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Ceballos v. Garcetti. In 2012 Humberto was nominated for CAALA Trial lawyer of the year for a multiple 7 figure verdict he secured against the LAPD for the beating death of Mauricio Cornejo. 

On April 26, 2003, he was honored by the La Raza Alumni Association at CSUN with a lifetime achievement award.  Humberto provides expert court testimony in the Southern California criminal and civil courts as a “gang expert”.   

Humberto organized the First National Memorial for lives lost during police interaction on Monday 24, 2020 where he published the lives of hundreds of Black and Brown Americans killed by police.  He has continued to host this memorial.   

Humberto is on the Board of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charity Group. He organized an annual sporting event that raises money to buy Trykes for disabled children from the economically disadvantaged communities of Los Angeles.   

Humberto has participated in the resolution of cases for his clients totaling over 75 million dollars and he has handled over 150 jury trials.   

Finally, Humberto has been on the MABA board 13 times.  More than any other member of MABA.

Marilyn Valdez | Student Trustee

Marilyn Valdez is a second-year law student at LMU Loyola Law School. She is interested in entertainment and public interest law. Prior to law school, Marilyn graduated from UCLA in 2021, receiving a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Chicana and Chicano Studies. Following graduation, Marilyn worked as an executive assistant in Global Distribution at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She coordinated with numerous executives to develop sales strategy for various television content such as Billy the Kid. During law school, Marilyn interned with Paramount’s West Coast CBS Legal department and supported various attorneys. This upcoming year, Marilyn is going to extern at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and looks forward to serving her community as an LA native. 

Marilyn is immensely honored and ecstatic to be Student Trustee and to be part of MABA’s incredible family. She hopes to make a positive impact on the community and looks forward to collaborating with the brightest minds of the Latino community. 

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