The Poarch thompson team



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.


Intake paralegal

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Parlant français.

Cristina is our Intake Paralegal and carefully listens to your specific immigration needs and determines which lawyer to direct you to for your consultation. As a native of Colorado, Cristina and her family moved to Roanoke in 2002. With family roots both in the Dominican Republic and in the US, Cristina grew up in an English and Spanish household. As a paralegal, she also prepares bond motions. Cristina graduated from James Madison University (B.A., Foreign Language: French and Spanish), and taught high school Spanish for Roanoke City Public Schools prior to joining Poarch Thompson Law. We can’t do without Cristina’s quick wit, easy laughter, and thoughtfulness. In her free time, Cristina enjoys spending time with her dog and cat, cheering on her beloved Denver Broncos, kayaking the numerous rivers in Virginia, cooking, baking, and crafting at home.



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.


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 sons’ sporting events you can find her on the tennis courts playing in the local USTA leagues.


Executive assistant

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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 Account Services Assistant she provides administrative support with legal contracts and billing. 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. On weekends, Elisabeth enjoys drinking craft coffee from her beloved French press, binge-watching The Office, and baking her way through the latest issue of Southern Living.

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, 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.




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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 gang-related asylum cases and bond and removal intake. 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.



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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 brings a long history of customer service experience to her position in Client Services. Karina relishes the fast-paced work at reception and manages multiple demands on her time effortlessly. When she isn’t at work, Karina spends time with her family, and experiments with fashion.

KArla Garcia


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As a paralegal in our asylum practice, Karla is dedicated, conscientious, and one of the quietest people in the office. She moved to Roanoke six 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 costal Mexican town to Washington State. When not at work, Karla and her family love hiking the Mill Mountain trails, playing pool, barbecuing, and relaxing.



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.



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Kelsey began working for Poarch Thompson Law part-time as an undergraduate at Roanoke College. After she graduated in May 2015 (B.A., Spanish), she joined the team full-time. As a paralegal, she works on family-based immigration cases. Kelsey most enjoys getting to know the clients she assists with applying for family-based green cards, seeking waivers of inadmissibility, or making application for naturalization. In the office, she has a fabulous sense of humor and playful energy that keeps our office light and laughing. When she isn’t at Poarch Thompson Law, she’s outside with her dog, Maya.



Habla español.

Born and raised in Roanoke, Kyra is a graduate of the University of Michigan (B.A. in Sociology and Environmental Studies). As a college undergraduate, Kyra spent a summer interning at Poarch Thompson Law, and we didn’t think twice about welcoming her back as an official employee. Kyra brings humility, quiet diligence and a dose of good humor to her role as a paralegal on complex cases involving visas for victims and family-based petitions. When not at work, Kyra is either listening to music or enjoying the outdoors.


Account Services

In Poarch Thompson Law’s Account Services department, Morgan assists with billing. She graduated from Longwood University (B.F.A., Interior Architecture) and is also pursuing a second degree in accounting at UVA. Gentle, fun-loving, and super-conscientious, Morgan leads by example with her focus and persistence. Outside of work, Morgan has an integral role in her church and enjoys spending time with her family, unwinding with friends, and gardening.

rocio mendez


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A native of Salem and a native Spanish-speaker, Rocio studied Spanish and French, literature, and international relations at Barry University in Miami, Florida. After careers in customer service and banking, Rocio joined Poarch Thompson Law in 2015 to manage our Special Immigrant Juvenile and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals clientele. 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 and youngest clients. In addition to her work at Poarch Thompson Law, Rocio is a Sunday School teacher and enjoys 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.

Ruth ebel


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Ruth graduated from Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee (B.A., Spanish) and worked in legal services prior to joining Poarch Thompson Law in 2013. In her tenure at Poarch Thompson Law, she has developed expertise in multiple practice areas, and she now focuses on helping our attorneys secure great results in complex immigration court cases. Ruth’s competencies are most evident in her preparation of cancellation of removal cases and immigration court cases in which our clients seek family-based remedies. She loves exploring other cultures and when she’s not working, she’s likely playing bass guitar, listening to live music or salsa dancing.

Sidney M. Clinevell


Sidney is a paralegal in our adoption practice and does some work with our employment-based immigration cases. As a native to Salem, she graduated from Ferrum College (B.S. Biology) before moving back to the Roanoke/Salem area. Sidney’s past experiences working in real estate, public health, and animals (her true love), has graced her with a skilled ease at finding connections and creative solutions throughout her work. When not at work, Sidney and her fiancé love exploring new restaurants, going to sporting events, traveling, and spending time with their dogs and cat.