Board of Directors

Mira El Sonbaty, Co-President

Mira El Sonbaty is Senior Vice President and Co-Chief Privacy Officer at Fox Corporation. Mira advises FOX production and distribution businesses on privacy and data security practices, including risk mitigation strategies. Her practice focuses on compliance, commercial agreements, policy and regulatory work. Mira was formerly with Arnold & Porter, where she handled consumer protection, intellectual property, and complex commercial litigation. Mira also represented clients in pro bono asylum and Violence Against Women Act matters. Mira is committed to public service and served for many years on the Advisory Board for the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and has volunteered for or worked with Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Public Counsel Law Center, Children’s Rights Project, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Foothill AIDS Project. Mira received her law degree from University of Southern California Gould School of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Pomona College in Claremont, California.

Diana Hughes Leiden, Co-President

Diana Hughes Leiden is a litigation associate at Winston & Strawn, focusing on trademark, copyright, and antitrust litigation.  Diana began her career with a year-long fellowship working as a staff attorney at the AIDS Legal Referral Panel in San Francisco, and continues to be dedicated to pro bono work.  She has represented several asylum applicants in both San Francisco and Los Angeles Immigration Court, as well as parents seeking to adopt children from the foster care system.  Diana earned her law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she graduated cum laude and was the Executive Notes Editor of the Hastings Women’s Law Journal, and her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Edie Mermelstein, Treasurer

F. Edie Mermelstein is the founding attorney of FEM Law Group with offices in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Ms. Mermelstein is a civil litigator with a special interest in financial elder abuse, trust litigation, intellectual property, consumer protection, and employment class issues. She also handles appeals, Anti-SLAPP motions, and estate planning matters. In 2016, Ms. Mermelstein represented California consumers in a class action case regarding forced arbitration provisions before the U.S. Supreme Court. She was named as a Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2016 and 2017 and a Super Lawyer for 2018.  Edie is a graduate of the University of Southern California and received her law degree from Abraham Lincoln University. Through adversity, Ms. Mermelstein found her calling and has demonstrated her commitment to women, children and the elderly by dedicating a percentage of her practice to pro bono work to further her advocacy for the underserved.

Pamela Palmer, Secretary

Pamela Palmer is a litigation partner at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP specializing in complex business litigation, with extensive experience defending clients in securities class actions, derivative suits, merger and acquisition litigation, and fiduciary and business judgment cases in courts across the country. Prior to private practice, Pamela served as a law clerk on the Ninth Circuit of Appeal. Pamela is a co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Derivative Suits Sub-Committee and serves on the board of the Inner City Law Center and the Advisory Board of Peace Over Violence. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine and received her law degree from the Gould School of law at the University of Southern California.

Lois D. Thompson, Immediate Past President

Lois D. Thompson is a partner at Proskauer Rose LLP and has represented clients in complex litigation for over 30 years. Initially based in New York, Lois has broad litigation experience, most prominently in the areas of real estate and securities law. She is on the boards of the Western Center on Law and Poverty and the Western Justice Center. She graduated from Smith College, on whose board she also serves, and earned her law degree from the Columbia University School of Law.

Thea Alli, Board Member

Thea Alli is an Associate at Morgan Lewis where she represents employers in employment litigation including wage and hour class actions and single-plaintiff lawsuits involving harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination claims. Prior to joining the firm, Thea was a commissioned officer in the US Air Force for 12 years and did tours in Afghanistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. In 2018, she clerked for Judge Harris L. Hartz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. She received her law degree from UC Irvine and did her undergraduate work at the United States Air Force Academy.

Stacey Armato, Board Member

Stacey Armato is an attorney at Atlantic Investors and a dedicated community advocate and volunteer. Elected to the Hermosa Beach City Council in 2016, Stacey is also a Board Member for BreastfeedLA, Co-Chair of Winemasters for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a member of the Parent Advisory Council for Mattel’s Children’s Hospital at UCLA. A women’s rights champion, in 2011 Stacey brought a lawsuit against TSA for harassment related to breast milk screening. As part of the settlement, TSA re-wrote their breast milk policy and re-trained all TSA employees on the proper handling of breast milk at airports. Stacey received her undergraduate degree in Gerontology from USC and her law degree from the Pepperdine University School of Law.

Tony Blain, Board Member

Tony Blain is an entertainment attorney who has represented a wide range of content-based clients in transactions and litigation. Named one of the “Top 100 People in Hollywood You Need to Know” by Fade In Magazine for two consecutive years, Tony has been a featured speaker at seminars, events, and panels held by the American Film Institute, Writer’s Guild of America, and the UCLA Extension Program’s Independent Producer series. He graduated from Brown University and earned his law degree from Pepperdine School of Law.

Christa Demeke, Board Member

Christa Demeke is a litigation attorney at Roll Law Group P.C. Christa represents Roll Global LLC’s affiliated companies in litigation and also works on regulatory, marketing, and advertising matters. Prior to Roll, Christa was counsel at O’Melveny & Myers, LLP and she clerked for Judge Michael A. Ponsor of the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. Her pro bono work has focused on assisting asylum seekers, juveniles charged as adults in criminal cases, Violence Against Women Act petitioners, and adoptive parents. She is an active volunteer with the I Have a Dream Foundation-Los Angeles and is a member of the John M. Langston Bar Association In-House Attorney Committee. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and earned her law degree from Stanford Law School.

Theane Evangelis, Board Member

Theane Evangelis is an appellate and general commercial litigation partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. She plays a substantial role in a wide range of appellate, constitutional, media, and entertainment cases, as well as crisis management matters, employment, consumer, wage-and-hour, and securities class actions. She also represented plaintiffs in the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage. She graduated from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and earned her law degree from the New York University School of Law.

Kevin Feldman, Board Member

Kevin Feldman is CEO of Feldman Capital LLC in San Francisco, a strategy and advisory firm, providing services to global asset management clients. Prior to September 2014, Kevin was the CEO of World Gold Trust Services where he had responsibility for overseeing global investment operations. Previously, Kevin has held senior leadership positions at BlackRock, Vanguard and Charles Schwab. Kevin received his M.P.A. from Harvard and B.A. from UCLA. He is a Certified Financial Planner and serves as a non-public arbitrator for financial industry matters at FINRA.

Kerry Fowler, Board Member

Kerry Fowler is a partner at Jones Day where she has been a litigator trying complex civil actions for over 14 years in the areas of product liability, toxic tort, fraud and unfair business practices, health care, consumer class actions, and claims arising under the FCRA. She was a Judicial Extern for the Honorable Dickran Tevrizian of the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. She graduated from Loyola Law School and did her undergraduate work at USC.

Victor George, Board Member

Victor George represents plaintiffs in employment discrimination and catastrophic personal injury matters. Victor has been named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles and has been nominated for this honor eight out of the last ten years. Victor frequently lectures and teaches both plaintiff and defense attorneys for all phases of trial skills. Victor graduated from West Virginia University and received his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.

Vanessa Gomez, Board Member

Vanessa Gomez is an Associate in the real estate division of Kirkland & Ellis LLP where her practice focuses on acquisitions, dispositions, financings and joint ventures for institutional investors, owners and developers. Prior to Kirkland, she was an associate at Proskauer Rose.  Vanessa was a student legal honors extern for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2017 and employed at various financial institutions in New York and California before receiving her law degree from UC Irvine. Vanessa is dedicated to pro bono work and her representation has included asylum seekers, state benefit recipients, DACA recipients, and adoptive parents.  While in law school, Vanessa advocated on behalf of domestic violence survivors in California by testifying before the California State Assembly on a bill to amend notice requirements for domestic violence ex parte orders; the bill was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018.  In recognition of her commitment to public service, Vanessa received Pro Bono High Honors in law school and was awarded the State Bar of California Wiley W. Manuel Certificate for Pro Bono Legal Services, the UCI Law Legacy Award, and the UCI Community Bridge Builder Award. Vanessa completed her undergraduate work at Princeton University.

Genie Harrison, Board Member

Genie Harrison is the principal of the Genie Harrison Law Firm which focuses on plaintiff’s employment, civil rights and wage and hour matters. She has previously been a partner at Schonbrun, DeSimone, Seplow, Harris, Hoffman & Harrison as well as Litt, Estuar, Harrison & Kitson. Genie is a frequent speaker and author on employment law matters and presents regularly at seminars regarding trial work, discovery tactics and strategy, and on substantive areas of the law within employment litigation. She is involved with several professional associations and presently serves as the secretary for the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA), where she will be president in 2021. In 2017, Genie was named among the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Southern California for the second year in a row as well as one of the Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Southern California. She has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America for Plaintiff’s Employment Litigation and named one of the Top Labor and Employment Lawyers by the Daily Journal. She did her undergraduate work at Elmhurst College and received her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law.

Esra Hudson, Board Member

Esra Hudson is a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and focuses on employment law and related litigation. She represents companies in state and federal court in claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, trade secrets, and unfair competition. She also defends companies against employment based class action suits and provides management training on a variety of employment related subjects, including sexual harassment and discrimination prevention. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earned her law degree from University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

Bethany Kristovich, Board Member

Bethany Kristovich’s practice at Munger Tolles & Olson (MTO) is focused on complex civil litigation with an emphasis in trial work, particularly representing television content creators and law firms. Named one of California’s “Top 20 Under 40” lawyers by the Daily Journal in 2015, she is an active member of her community and maintains a busy pro bono practice. Bethany was among the Munger Tolles lawyers who assisted the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) in their class action Lauderdale v. City of Long Beach which sought and obtained injunctive relief for a class comprised of deaf and hard of hearing individuals; in 2010, MTO received DRLC’s Counsel of the Year Award for their extensive pro bono work on disability matters. In 2008, Bethany took a leave of absence from her firm to serve as a volunteer deputy city attorney and, immediately following the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, she returned to her home state of Louisiana where she volunteered for the Orleans Indigent Defender Program, assisting clients in court every day for two months. Bethany clerked for the Honorable Edward Rafeedie in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. She completed her undergraduate studies at Pomona College and received her law degree from University of Southern California Law School, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Laura Lively, Board Member

Laura is currently an Associate with King & Spalding LLP.  Prior to joining the firm, Laura clerked for Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas of the Ninth Circuit and worked for another international law firm. While in law school, Laura successfully briefed and argued a case in the Ninth Circuit on behalf of a client who was denied necessary medical care while in prison.  She worked as Research Assistant to Dean & Distinguished Professor of Law, Erwin Chemerinsky, for two years and she was President of the Student Bar Association, a Style Editor for the UC Irvine Law Review, and Co-Chair of the Women’s Law Society. During this time, Laura and two colleagues also successfully advocated for equal access to reproductive health services at UC Health Centers and published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times as part of their effort.  At graduation, Laura received Pro Bono Honors in recognition of her advocacy work for veterans, victims of domestic violence, and children with disabilities. Laura did her undergraduate work at California State University, Fullerton, she received her law degree from the University of California, Irvine, and she holds a Master’s of Arts in Humanities from Duke University.

Jessica Ludd, Board Member

Jessica Ludd serves as General Counsel to the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) in San Dimas. UNAC/UHCP is a labor organization representing more than 32,000 health care professionals throughout Southern California. Prior to UNAC/UHCP, Jessica was in-house counsel at the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television & Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). Jessica is a graduate of Columbia Law and the University of California Los Angeles, holding degrees in Political Science and English.

Alicia Matricardi, Board Member

Alicia Matricardi works as General Counsel and Director of Real Estate for New Economics for Women, a national nonprofit economic development organization based in Los Angeles. The nonprofit performs real estate development and programs to advance economic mobility for low-income families, particularly female-led households. Alicia works as a community economic development leader for the organization through her work to build affordable housing, primary health clinic, charter school and other commercial spaces through new construction and acquisition/rehabilitation real estate development. As a California-licensed attorney, she also performs as General Counsel for the organization, advising on all nonprofit governance, fund development, contract, and real estate matters. Alicia splits her time between work for the nonprofit and leading her own law firm, Matricardi Law, A Professional Law Corporation, specializing in transactional real estate matters and business start-ups. Alicia owns and leads Carthay Group, a commercial brokerage and development company, as a California Real Estate Broker. Alicia is a Board Member of the Southwestern University School of Law Alumni Board and chairs their Diversity and Alumni Magazine Committees. In 2015, she was named Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year by the Real Property Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. Alicia received her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley.

Anna Menedjian, Board Member

Anna Menedjian is a trial consultant and a graduate of Pepperdine University. Anna serves in several capacities benefiting the community including as a Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles South Valley Planning Commission, Ambassador-at-Large for the National Association of Women Business Owners Los Angeles Chapter (NAWBOLA) and on the board of the Consulate General of Armenia’s Community Affairs Council. 

Kim Nakamaru, Board Member

Kim Nakamaru is a corporate lawyer at Global Eagle Entertainment where she focuses on corporate governance, securities, capital markets and mergers/acquisitions, and also manages its employment, litigation and intellectual property matters. Prior to Global Eagle, Kim was a corporate/sports associate at McGuireWoods LLP representing public and private companies, sports entities, and private equity and venture capital funds in mergers/acquisitions and commercial transactions. At McGuireWoods, Kim was very involved in pro bono work, including representation of a transgender refugee and a victim of domestic violence in immigration matters.  She also successfully petitioned the California Supreme Court to grant a posthumous law license for a Japanese social justice pioneer denied admission to the State Bar based on race. In recognition of this work, the Japanese American Bar Association honored Kim and her McGuireWoods colleagues with their 2017 Community Service Award. Prior to McGuireWoods, Kim served as a law clerk to the Hon. J. Spencer Letts of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Kim did her undergraduate work at Princeton University and received her law degree from Loyola Law School. While at Loyola, Kim served as an extern to the Hon. Consuelo B. Marshall of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and sports law clerk for Fox Cable Networks. While at Princeton, Kim was the captain of the varsity lightweight crew team and developed a passion for using sports to empower women and girls after experiencing discrimination while training in Japan.

Amy Quartarolo, Board Member

Amy Quartarolo has been with Latham Watkins since 2002 and is a member of the firm’s Litigation and Trial Department and the Insolvency Litigation Practice Group.  In her practice, she represents both debtors and creditors in a range of bankruptcy-related and complex commercial litigation, and regularly practices in both state and federal courts. She also serves on the firm’s Women Enriching Business (WEB) committee and the Training and Career Enhancement Committee, and is a member of the EEO Review Board. She graduated from UC Davis and received her law degree from UCLA.

Karen Rigberg

Karen Rigberg works as legal counsel for Arnold & Porter in Los Angeles, specializing in consumer protection and anti-trust law. Prior to Arnold & Porter, Karen worked as Managing Counsel for Toyota Motor Sales handling training, claims, litigation, and more. Ms. Rigberg earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and received her JD from the University of Arizona College of Law where she was Senior Articles Editor of the Arizona Law Review.