Team

Elisabeth Bass

Account Services Assistant

Se habla español.

Elisabeth grew up with an appreciation for Latin culture in her hometown of Miami, Florida, and later, while living in southwest Kansas. She studied Spanish and Leadership at Hollins University and brings more than ten years of customer service to her role at Poarch Law. As the Account Services Assistant she provides administrative support to the Account Services team by assisting with legal contracts and billing. She is one of the most generous people we know, inside the office and out, and has previously organized charitable drives and events to benefit troubled girls, a local high school, and homeless adults. Elisabeth joined Poarch Law in 2013 and if there are muffins or a breakfast casserole on the counter at the office, it’s usually courtesy of Elisabeth’s culinary skill and generosity. On weekends, Elisabeth enjoys drinking craft coffee from her beloved french press, binge-watching college football in the fall, and baking her way through the latest issue of Southern Living.

Katy Benitez

Client Services

Se habla español.

Katy brings more than ten years of customer service experience with the immigrant community to her role in Client Services at Poarch Law. It’s often Katy’s voice that greets you when you call, and her sunny disposition, empathy, and compassion are some of the reasons she’s so well-suited to be part of our reception team. Katy is actively involved in a number of Christian ministries and has served congregations in several different local Spanish-speaking churches. She travels extensively with church missions, including to Mexico and Puerto Rico, and studied Spanish and Theology at MIZPA Pentecostal University.

 

Dana M. Clinevell

Senior Paralegal

Dana has been with Poarch Law for 11 years. Dana loves what she does, and it shows. Our clients know that Dana is invested in their cases, and she is an integral part of each client success. Whether she’s juggling multiple tasks to meet client deadlines, engaging faceless government agencies, or working closely with our paralegal staff and attorneys, Dana is the consummate professional and our clients’ best ally. When she’s not at the office, Dana’s likely attending or watching a sporting event, walking her dogs Taz and Harvey, or hanging out with a close-knit group of Clinevell family.

 

 

Ruth Ebel

Paralegal

Se habla español.

Ruth might be one of the quietest people in the office, but she’s also one of the most productive. Ruth manages Poarch Law’s removal practice, and brings her unique, focused attention to some of our most heart-wrenching cases. Ruth graduated from Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee (B.A., Spanish) and worked in legal services prior to joining Poarch Law in 2013. She has traveled extensively, including to Spain, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua. She loves exploring other cultures and when she’s not working, she’s likely playing bass guitar, listening to live music or salsa dancing.

 

Kelsey Engle

Paralegal

Se habla español.

Kelsey graduated from Roanoke College (B.A., Spanish) in 2015 and joined Poarch Law the day after graduation. Kelsey’s subtle sense of humor, bright smile, and reliable, consistent competence make her the master of client details and provide the foundation for her work with client accounts. Kelsey enjoys travel, having visited Spain, Puerto Rico, & Mexico. Kelsey joined the firm in 2015 with previous experience in customer service, retail, and a wealth of volunteer work that emboldens the empathy so necessary to her job. If she’s not at work, she’s outside with her dog, Maya.

Zulmaire Gonzalez

Paralegal

Se habla español.

Zulma is a Venezuelan attorney, human rights activist, and journalist living in the United States. She joined the firm in 2014 and manages the firm’s asylum practice, after developing and assisting with “charlas” (informal education seminars for the immigrant community) and other Poarch Law Public Education projects. Zulma continues to write for several Spanish publications. Prior to coming to the U.S., Zulma spent her career as an attorney in public administration and with non-governmental anti-corruption organizations. When she’s not leading change, Zulma enjoys a good glass of wine, reading, and spending time with her husband.

 

Danielle Hylton

Office Manager

Danielle brings 18 years of experience in both public and private accounting to her work managing Poarch Law. A graduate of Mary Baldwin College (B.A., Business Administration), Danielle keeps the accounting and billing operations running smoothly. A native of Blacksburg, she is a devoted Hokie fan. When she is not attending her sons’ sporting events you can find her on the court playing in the local USTA leagues. You can easily recognize Danielle because she is the most colorfully-dressed employee in our office.

Rocio Mendez

Paralegal

Se habla español.

A native of Salem and also a native Spanish-speaker, Rocio studied Spanish language, literature, and international relations at Barry University in Miami, Florida. After careers in customer service and banking, Rocio joined Poarch Law in 2015 to manage our Special Immigrant Juvenile and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals clients. She brings a natural curiosity, profound empathy, and a healthy dose of practical insight to her work on behalf of some of our most vulnerable clients. In addition to her work at Poarch Law, Rocio enjoys teaching English and volunteering at church and in the community. Outside of work, Rocio continues to play soccer on a local recreational team and enjoys time with her family.

Cari Preas

Paralegal

Cari is our employment-based and adoption paralegal and her masterful work demonstrates the pride she takes in a job well-done. A native of Salem, Cari graduated from Roanoke College (B.A., Business Administration) and previously worked as a human resources professional. She brings 20 years of combined human resources and customer service experience to her role at Poarch Law, where her primary focus is providing exceptional service to clients in the areas of international and domestic adoption as well as employment-based immigration. Outside of work, she enjoys supporting high school and college football while spending time with her family.

 

Cristina Sanchez-Jones

Client Services

Se habla español.

It’s usually Cristina’s smiling face that greets you as you walk in, or her charming voice that you hear over the phone. A native of Colorado, Cristina grew up in a bilingual household and has volunteered countless hours within the Hispanic community since moving to Roanoke. Her compassion and hard work shine through every day in her role in Client Services. Cristina graduated from James Madison University (B.A., Foreign Language: French and Spanish), and taught high school Spanish for Roanoke City Public Schools upon graduation. She has studied abroad in France and travels frequently to the Dominican Republic. In her free time, Cristina enjoys spending time with her dog Duke, cheering on her beloved Denver Broncos, kayaking the numerous rivers in Virginia, and cooking, baking, and crafting at home.