Directors at Large

Natalie Athas

Natalie received her Paralegal Attestation in 2012 and has 25+ years of dedicated litigation experience as a professional paralegal, legal secretary and assisting branch office liaison administrator.  As a trial paralegal, Natalie teams with attorneys in all phases of complex litigation, providing support from inception through and including trial preparation and has an emphasis in providing trial support in multi-million, high-stakes civil litigation cases for high-profile clients in the Banking/Financial Services, Commercial Real Estate and Labor/Employment industries and practices.  In addition, Natalie provides paralegal support for senior partners/associate attorneys in Telephone Consumer Protection Act class action cases which involve research, preparation of complex spreadsheets and document-intensive analysis and productions.

Natalie has been an OCPA member since she began her career as a professional paralegal. Natalie served as co-chair for the Employment Law Section and has volunteered and participated in various OCPA events.  Natalie also served as Secretary as a Board of Director Member for the Orange County Legal Secretaries Association and prepared the syllabus for the Annual Civil Case Management Seminar for multiple years. In addition, she also served as a Board Member for Oak Creek Elementary Parent Teacher Association and volunteered and participated in many events for countless years. 


Tanya Chopra

Tanya has served as Director at Large since 200, serving as Co-Chair of the Hospitality and the Mentor Program. She previously served as Secretary in 2009-2010 and as co-chair for the OCPA Corporate and Real Estate Section. Tanya has twelve years of paralegal experience in Corporate Law, Contracts and Uniform Commercial Code Secured Transactions and is currently working as a Paralegal at Beckman Coulter, Inc., a Danaher Corporation. Her educational background includes a B.A. in Political Science from California State University, Fullerton, and a Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Irvine.

Leila Conrad, CP


Leila is currently employed as a contracts paralegal at First American Financial Corporation in Santa Ana, California. She has a degree in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine. In 2010, Leila obtained her Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Irvine Extension Program. She then earned her designation as a Certified Paralegal in 2012 from the National Association of Legal Assistants.

Leila joined the Orange County Paralegal Association (OCPA) in 2012. Soon after, she became more involved with the OCPA by volunteering throughout the year as Promotions Chair. The following year, Leila joined the OCPA Board. Since then she has held various positions including Co-Chair of the Educational Conference in 2013, Compendium Coordinator and Hospitality Co-Chair in 2014, and Treasurer from 2015 through 2016. In 2017, Leila helped to organize the 3rd Annual OCPA Family Picnic.

Leila has also volunteered her time at Legal Aid Society of Orange County in the Legal Resolutions division. Beginning in 2014, she was honored to join the Advisory Board of the Irvine Valley College Paralegal Program.


Patricia Foster

Patricia has been working in healthcare and contract law for the past 8 years at CHOC Children’s Hospital and currently with Beckman Coulter. Prior areas have been in business, civil, bankruptcy and construction defect litigation for over 20 years. Patricia has tutored student paralegals in litigation, contracts and discovery. She obtained a B.S. in Hotel Administration – University Nevada Las Vegas (1989); Paralegal Certificate – UC Irvine Extension (1995); Management of Business Contracts Certificate – UC Irvine Extension (2011).

For the past 25 years, Patricia has been employed as a paralegal in Orange County and has been a member of OCPA for most of that time. Patricia attends OCPA events and participated in organizing the first educational conference for OCPA.  Up until her children graduated from high school Patricia was involved in serving on school charter boards as President, youth leadership groups and her HOA board. 


Lorena Hughes

Lorena received her Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. She previously worked as a manager in the hospitality industry and has extensive experience in business. Lorena moved on to pursue a career in the legal field and earned her Paralegal Certificate at the University of California, Irvine Division for Continuing Education. She is a paralegal at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc., specializing in criminal defense. Lorena is also a certified Notary Public and Spanish Interpreter at the law firm.

Lorena served as President for OCPA in 2017 and as Vice President of Administration in 2015 and 2016. Lorena is a frequent guest speaker for student paralegal classes at Santa Ana College and UCI Division for Continuing Education. In the past, she has chaired the Hospitality Section for OCPA, chaired the Criminal Section, and co-chaired the 27th Annual OCPA Educational Conference.


Hilary Martin


Hilary received her Bachelors of Science in Finance, Real Estate and Law with a Minor in Business Economics which she received from California State University, Long Beach. She also received her Paralegal and Human Resources Management Certificates from the University of California, Irvine.

Hilary has twelve years of experience as a paralegal and office administrator in Family Law and is currently employed with Hittelman Strunk Law Group, LLP.

Hilary is presently a Board of Director for OCPA and has served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer in 2013 and 2014, President in 2011 and 2012, and Vice President of Administration 2009 and 2010. Before that, in 2008, 2009, and 2010, Hilary served as Educational Conference Co-Chair, and the Compendium Coordinator. Hilary has also served as the Family Law Section Chair in 2008 through 2011.

Hilary is also an active member of the Orange County, Association of Legal Administrators and is currently serving on the extended board as co-chair of General Meetings/Speakers Committee.  Hilary has also served as the co-chair of the Legal Secretaries Course and co-chair of the Finance & Technology Section.

Hilary enjoys scuba diving, riding her bike, traveling to new places when she isn't working or volunteering and spending time with her daughter.


Kathy Miller, ACP, CAS


Kathy earned her bachelor’s degree from UCI and her paralegal certificate, with honors, from UCI’s Division of Continuing Education Paralegal Certificate Program (“UCI”). She has over 30 years of litigation paralegal experience including 20 years at Rutan & Tucker in the trial and employment law departments. Since 2006, she has been a Senior Paralegal Specialist for FedEx Express's legal department in its California office.  She earned: CP credential (1997); CAS (1998); and two ACP certifications (2006 & 2007).

Kathy’s 13 years serving on the OCPA Board of Directors including President; Secretary; Treasurer; Compendium Editor; Salary Survey Chair; Employment Section Chair; CAPA Secondary; Education/Career Conference Chair; Ethics Section co-chair; and Mentor Chair. Kathy seven years on NALA’s Board of Directors include Region IX Director, Continuing Education Committee Chair, Facts & Findings/Newsletter Editor. She currently serves on the NALA’s Certifying Board.

After over 30 years of teaching in UCI’s Paralegal Certificate Program, Kathy recently retired. Since 1986, Kathy has been a member of UCI's Paralegal Advisory Board.

Kathy is the recipient of several prestigious awards including the Super Star Paralegal of the Year Award, UCI Distinguished Advisory Board Member, NALA’s National Outstanding Contribution Award and two-time winner of UCI Distinguished Instructor Award.

Tracy Morgan, CP

Tracy has been in the legal industry for over 15 years and has been a paralegal for over 10 years.  Tracy obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from California State University, Fullerton and her Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Irvine Extension Program.

Tracy started her legal career as a legal secretary working in-house for Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company where, after obtaining her paralegal certificate, she transitioned in to the role of paralegal.  Since then Tracy has worked for large law firms and, most recently, for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher where she has been a litigation paralegal for 11 years handling various matters including general litigation, wage and hour class actions, mass tort, international litigation, patent litigation and environmental litigation.

Tracy has previously served the Orange County Paralegal Association as a Director at Large during 2004, 2005 and 2017.

Carrera Mullinax, CP

Carrera most recently served as the OCPA’s Vice President of Administration, coordinating the 2017 Section meetings, Carrera looks forward to continuing a leadership role on the Board. Besides regularly attending many Section meetings since first becoming a member in 2010, Carrera strongly believes in the continuing education and mentoring of fellow paralegals. To that end, Carrera actively volunteers as a mentor for the UCI Division of Continuing Education’s Paralegal Certificate Program, has previously taught at OCPA’s CP/CLA review course, and hosted 2016’s OCPA Member Family Day event.

Carrera is a National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) –certified paralegal and currently works as the paralegal to the City Attorney of Newport Beach. Prior to her current job, she worked in private practice in Family Law and Probate for seven years. Her experience in both transactional law and litigation allows her to relate to a variety of fellow paralegals in our industry.

Her role in the City Attorney’s office continues to assist her in being an excellent member of Board of Directors because she helps steer a large organization in managing both its people and risks. She fulfills and helps similar responsibilities and duties that are required and valued in both the City and OCPA. These responsibilities include excellent service to their constituents, being a role model of integrity, understanding conflicts of interest, preservation of confidentiality, protection of assets, and maintaining ethical values.



Brigitte Nielsen        


Brigitte Nielsen is currently a Corporate Paralegal Consultant at HKN & Associates, Inc., where she has partnered up with her husband to provide consulting services in the areas of Business Management and Legal Services.  She has over 15 years of combined specialized administrative, paralegal and project management experience.  Areas of specialty include, but not limited to: Corporate and Commercial Law, Public Law, Environmental Law and Civil Litigation.  She obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach, and a dual ABA approved Paralegal Degree and Certificate at Santa Ana College.  Brigitte is an active member of the OCPA Board of Directors and holds the position of Director at Large and Public Relations Liaison.  She is also co-chairing the Pro Bono Committee.  She also previously served as co-chair for the OCPA Corporate/Real Estate Section.

Angela Nolte-Lopez

Angela began her legal career in the late 80’s starting as a temporary file clerk.  She progressed to legal secretary and then became a paralegal by declaration.  During that time, she completed her Bachelor of Art’s degree in history at California State University at Fullerton.  Seeing the changes in the legal industry and the need to be more marketable, she obtained her Paralegal Certificate from University of California at Irvine.  

The majority of Angela’s background is in civil litigation.  In the recent past, she moved in-house and worked for the reverse mortgage subsidiary of OneWest Bank and then moved to Universal Protection Services in their litigation department.  Both of those companies underwent mergers which caused Angela to go back into a law firm setting.  She is currently working for a sole practitioner in Irvine.  Although she has not served on the Orange County Paralegal board, Angela has served on the PTA for her sons’ school and on her HOA’s board of directors.

Kerry Schoonover


Kerry Schoonover has experience working in various areas of law including corporate, litigation, mortgage & auto sales finance compliance and licensing. She is currently working in-house in the Risk & Compliance Department at American Advisors Group.  She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Vanguard University in Costa Mesa in 2005 and an ABA approved Paralegal Certificate from the University of California, Irvine in 2009.

Kerry has served the OCPA for 7 years as a Director at Large 2010-2014, Hospitality Chair 2010-2013, Educational Conference Chair in 2012, Vice President of Administration 2013-2014, President in 2015, and Secretary 2016-2017.  She is passionate about serving the OCPA membership on the Board of Directors and has enjoyed being involved in the planning and decision making aspects of the association.



Susana Schwartz

Susana Schwartz has served as a Director at Large for the years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. She has 20 years of Civil Litigation experience. She is currently employed with Moran Law. She received a B.A. in Business; completed two years at Bryan College of Court Reporting in 1988; four years of various legal writing and technical software night courses at two community colleges; and obtained her Legal Assistantship with Honors from the University of California, Irvine in 1997.  

Susana has been an OCPA member for the past ten years. She has further served as a Litigation Section Co-Chair for the past six years and as an Ethics, Real Estate, Employment, and Intellectual Property Section Co-Chair for the past two years.  She has enjoyed participating on the Board these past four years because of OCPA's high standards and expectations in providing continuous quality education through both the section and general meetings.       


Lindsay Soulé

Lindsay is the Corporate Paralegal/Legal Projects Manager for Alliance HealthCare Services, Inc. in Irvine, CA. Lindsay obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2008 from Washington State University and her Human Resources Management certificate in 2009 from Chapman University in San Diego, CA. After she was given an opportunity to gain experience in the Corporate Legal department, she joined the Paralegal Certificate program at UC Irvine and received her certificate in December 2016.

Her professional background includes over 10 years of experience within Human Resources, Marketing, Project Management and Corporate Law roles within the action sports and healthcare industries. She has held a diverse range of leadership positions which have developed a strong sense of professional knowledge, responsibility, team building skills and the ability to adapt to high pressure environments. She is a fast learner, willing to wear many hats and excited to learn any new knowledge throughout all aspects of business.

Lindsay joined the OCPA when she began her paralegal certificate program in 2015 and has always been drawn to the close community, educational information and networking that it provides. She has been the Corporate/In-House Section Chair for the 2017 year. 

Robert Wenzel

Robert earned his B.A. in History from UC Irvine and his Paralegal Certificate from Santa Ana College. Robert currently works as a Litigation Paralegal for One LLP, an Intellectual Property law firm in Newport Beach. Previously, he worked as a Paralegal at Nowland Law, a Business Litigation defense firm in Newport Beach.

Robert’s professional background includes having worked in the insurance, mortgage and call center industries.

Robert has been an OCPA member since 2013.




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