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.

CRISTINA SANCHEZ-JONES

paralegal

Habla español.

Parlant français.

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 works on asylum cases and prepares bond motions, as well as engaging new client on initial phone intakes. 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, and cooking, baking, and crafting at home

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.

DANIELLE HYLTON

office manager

Danielle brings 20 years of experience in both public and private accounting to her work managing Poarch Thompson Law. 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.

ELIsABETH BASS

Executive assistant

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 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.

ELIZABETH MARIANA 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 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.

KARINA BENITEZ

CLIENT SERVICES

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 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.

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.

KELSEY ENGLE

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

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.

KYRA E. JAMISON

paralegal

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.

MORGAN COMBS

Paralegal

Morgan is Poarch Thompson Law’s adoption paralegal. 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 in her role as a paralegal 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

paralegal

Habla español.

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

PARALEGAL

Habla español.

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.

SAVANNAH K. STEVENS

CLIENT SERVICES

Habla español.

Before joining the Poarch Thompson Law team in January 2019, Savannah lived and worked in Colombia, teaching English to high school and preschool-aged children. She graduated in 2017 from The College of William and Mary (BA, Government and Environmental Sciences). Savannah enjoys getting to know the clients and learning complex legal concepts. Savannah supports her colleagues with file management, translations, and client outreach and she helps keep Poarch Thompson Law green with a recycling initiative and helping update and maintain our paperless office. When not at work, she is either out helping coach a youth lacrosse team, running, reading, traveling, or spending time with friends and family.

VICTORIA ALEJANDRA GARAYALDE

Marketing

Habla español.

Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Victoria has been crossing cultures and languages from the very beginning. She moved to Roanoke to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Before Roanoke, she lived in a small Peruvian town high up in the Andes. In her role as our dedicated marketing assistant, she plans the events of Poarch Thompson Law’s Public Education Project, develops the attorneys’ materials for various speaking engagements, updates our blog and social media sites, and manages Poarch Thompson Law’s online presence. An amazing writer, when not at work, Victoria is either working on her novel or thinking about how she should be working on her novel.

201 S. College Ave, Salem VA 24153
(540) 387-1005

Disclaimer

The results of client matters depend on a variety of factors unique to each matter. Past successes do not predict or guarantee future successes.