The Poarch Thompson Team

Cari Preas

PARALEGAL

Cari is our employment-based 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 resource professional. What Cari loves about her job is her ability to help others enrich their lives and achieve their goals through employment-based immigration. Cari is a wealth of knowledge and kindness. She is the first one to stop what she is doing to answer a question or lend a listening ear. Outside of work, she enjoys attending athletic events, reading a good book, and spending time with her family.

Dana M. Clinevell

SENIOR PARALEGAL

Dana has been with Poarch Thompson Law since 2005 and while she’s worn many hats, she now manages our entire paralegal team while still working on our most difficult family-based matters. 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’s 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 is likely attending or watching a sporting event, walking her dogs Taz and Harvey, or hanging out with a close-knit group of Clinevell kin.

Debby Diaz

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

Debby recently graduated in 2022 from Virginia Western Community College with a degree in Business Management and a certification of Business Communication. Debby was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia. Before working at Poarch Thompson Law, Debby worked in the healthcare  industry for two years as a patient administrator and a Spanish interpreter. Debby assists with client services and paralegal duties. In her spare time, she enjoys reading romance novels, spending time with friends and family, and dancing with City Modern Assemble dance group. 

Jasmine Hall

PARALEGAL

Jasmine graduated from Roanoke College in August of 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. She was raised in Roanoke, Virginia and loves what the area has to offer. Jasmine is one of the kindest humans you will meet. She’s humble, a team player, and a hard worker. These assets make her an integral asset to our family-based team. When she’s not working, Jasmine enjoys baking and cooking, spending time with her husband and two animals, and listening to True Crime podcasts.

Karina Linares

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

Kari’s family immigrated to the United States when she was only three years old. She was born in a small town in Northern Mexico but was raised in Austin, Texas. Her family moved to Roanoke, Virginia, where she has called home for almost two decades. Kari was drawn to the healthcare industry initially and worked as a Spanish Medical Interpreter before attending Virginia Western Community College where she received her certification as a Medical Assistant. After years in healthcare, she decided to pursue a new career path as a paralegal. She joined Poarch Thompson Law in the summer of 2022 and works with special immigrant juveniles. She adds incredible value as she is a former client and has witnessed many struggles firsthand. When she’s not at work, she enjoys baking with her two kids and watching documentaries with her husband.

Karen Gonzalez-Rosado

Habla español.

Karen came to the United States as a young child. Since moving to the United States, she has always resided in Roanoke, Virginia. She graduated from William Fleming High School and obtained her Certificate of Medical Interpreting in 2018. Karen is gifted in communication and, prior to working at Poarch Thompson Law, worked in the customer service industry since she was 17. It brings her joy to interpret a conversation between two people that speak completely different languages. Karen is essential to our stellar front desk team! Outside of work, she loves to spend time reading, being with friends and family and exploring the outdoors–especially during the winter season.

Carolina Garcia

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

Caroline recently graduated from SUNY Empire State College with a degree in sociology and political science. Carolina’s mother immigrated from Colombia to the United States. Carolina was born and raised in Long Island, NY but also lived in Colombia for two years as a child. Carolina is a native Spanish speaker who works with victim visas as a paralegal. She loves to spend time with her family, travel, play tennis, and thrift shop. On her days off, she likes to watch documentaries and new shows, listen to true crime podcasts, and of course, cuddle her cat, Milo.

Melanie Burton

PARALEGAL

Melanie grew up in Northern Virginia. She moved to the Roanoke Valley after she married her husband and is now a Salem “transplant” having lived here longer than anywhere else. Melanie has been a family and criminal law paralegal for over two decades. She handles adoptions and special immigrant juvenile status cases while helping Rachel’s husband with his criminal and family law practice part-time. Melanie has an Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Virginia Western Community College. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys spending time with her three children and her sister. She also enjoys reading and playing video games.

Katy Benitez

CLIENT SERVICES

Habla español.

Katy brings more than ten years of customer service experience with the immigrant community to her role in Client Services at Poarch Thompson 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 lead 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 graduated from Mizpa Pentecostal University with a degree in Spanish and Theology.

Karina Benitez

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

Born in Honduras, Karina moved to the United States in 2006 with her younger sister. Though she’s been a resident of the Roanoke area most of her time in the U.S., she has also lived in New York City. Karina takes pride in her role as an Asylum paralegal as she helps clients through this elaborate process. Karina relishes the fast-paced work and manages multiple demands on her time effortlessly. When she isn’t at work, Karina spends time with her family, and experiments with fashion.

Elizabeth Mariana (Liz) Saloma Castañeda

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

When Liz was fourteen years old, she and her family immigrated to the United States from Mexico City. Before working at Poarch Thompson Law, Liz juggled several full and part-time jobs while graduating summa cum laude from Kaplan University (B.A. Business Administration). As a paralegal, Liz works on asylum cases. Bright, loving, and determined, Liz inspires the office to work harder, do more, and stay positive. Outside the office, Liz is actively engaged in local immigrant advocacy, reading, watching musicals, baking, or salsa dancing.

Joey Poarch

CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO)

Though he is known to do a bit of everything (from consulting, to marketing, to resolving technology issues, to playing guitar at office parties), Joey’s role at Poarch Thompson Law focuses on the firm’s business growth. By combining his technology and business experience, Joey orchestrates the tools and processes our office needs to run at its highest and best. He is a Virginia Tech alumnus, a board member of the Salem Educational Foundation, an investor/advisor at Woobot.io, member of the band Chasing Fall, a father to three amazing daughters, and husband to our fearless founder Christine Lockhart Poarch. When he isn’t at work, you’ll most likely find Joey listening to music, enjoying the outdoors, traveling for fun, or spending time with family.

Elisabeth Bass

BILLING MANAGER

Habla español.

Elisabeth grew up with an appreciation for Latinx 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 Thompson Law. As the Billing Manager, she provides administrative support with legal contracts and billing, including implementing online services in an effort to go green. One of the most generous people we know, inside the office and out, she has previously organized charitable drives and events to benefit troubled girls, a local high school, and homeless adults. Elisabeth joined Poarch Thompson 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. Elisabeth enjoys drinking specialty coffee in her beloved moka pot (and keeps a google spreadsheet of more than 100 roasters she’s tried so far) and running the coffee bar at her church.

Danielle Marshall

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER (CFO)

Danielle brings 20 years of experience in both public and  private accounting to her work as Poarch Thompson Law’s Chief Financial Officer. A graduate of Mary Baldwin College (B.A., Business Administration), Danielle keeps the accounting and billing operations running smoothly. With grace, humor, and a well-executed plan, Danielle keeps the office sailing smoothly so that the attorneys can focus on clients and casework. A native of Blacksburg, she is a devoted Hokie fan. When she is not attending her son’s sporting events she is either playing tennis or traveling. 

Natalie Lopez

A native of New Jersey, Natalie’s parents immigrated to the United States from Mexico which fuels her passion to provide first-class, detailed oriented and compassionate service to our clients. Natalie is currently pursuing her degree in business administration from Roanoke College and has worked in a variety of roles at Salem favorite Mac & Bob’s since 2015. A die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, Natalie likes to stay active, try new restaurants with friends and hangout with her cat Rosie in her spare time.

Karla Garcia

As a receptionist, Karla is dedicated, conscientious, and one of the quietest people in the office. She moved to Roanoke nine years ago from the northwest. It was there that she and her husband met and started their family. Her life has been shaped by immigration ever since her parents moved their family from a coastal Mexican town to Washington State. When not at work, Karla and her family love hiking the Mill Mountain trails, playing pool, barbecuing, and relaxing.

Carly Bly

Carly was born and raised in Yorktown, Virginia. She began her academic career at Randolph-Macon College, graduating in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a minor in criminology. She then continued her educational pursuits at Arizona State University, where she earned a Master of Science degree in forensic psychology in 2023. In 2022, Carly moved to Smith Mountain Lake with her family, and they have grown to love the area. Aside from working as a paralegal at Poarch Thompson Law, Carly enjoys going to concerts, spending time with family, watching movies, and hiking with her Australian Shepherd dog, Winnie.

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