Veteran. Veterans’ Advocate. VA Disability Attorney.
I didn’t take the typical path to becoming an attorney. My mom and I moved to the United States from Puerto Rico when I was a very young child, and we ended up in Kansas City where I grew up. After leaving high school in the tenth grade to attend Job Corps, I earned my GED and returned to Kansas City, where I joined the Marine Corps. After finishing my enlistment in the Marine Corps, I returned to Kansas City and began working at the Union Pacific Railroad. However, I missed being in uniform, so I joined the Kansas Army National Guard, where I would have an experience that would change the course of my life. While deployed to Iraq in 2006, my good friend (and fellow Marine) Sgt. Jessie Davila was killed by a roadside bomb. His sacrifice inspired me to pursue my childhood goal of becoming an attorney and continuing to serve others through the law.
After Jessie’s death, I knew I wanted to serve others, but I wasn’t sure how just yet. I found my calling to become an advocate for my fellow veterans while attending college at Park University. My own experience with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the experiences of my friends who I served with left me very dissatisfied and frustrated, so I decided that I had to learn how to fight for veterans and help them obtain the benefits that they earned through their service. While at Park University, I helped expand the University’s veterans’ support programs, and helped Park earn a $100,000 Success for Veterans Award from the American Council on Education and the Walmart Foundation for the educational needs of transitioning veterans.
After graduating from Park University with a BA in Political Science, I went to law school at Stetson University College of Law. There, I continued my advocacy for veterans by doing internships at the VA and the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program, participating in the Veterans Law Clinic, and helping to create the Veterans Law Institute, which provides pro bono legal services to veterans seeking VA benefits. My biggest accomplishment during law school was establishing the Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Veterans Scholarship, which provides financial support to veterans so that they can attend law school. Shortly after graduating from Stetson, I moved to Washington D.C., where I had the privilege of serving as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert N. Davis of the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
My experience serving as a law clerk helped me become a better all-around advocate for veterans because I learned Veterans Law and had to interpret and apply it to several different cases. I was also fortunate because this experience allowed me to observe the different litigation styles of the attorneys who practiced before the court, which I then incorporated into my own style of advocacy. Once I completed my clerkship, I returned to Florida—armed with my new knowledge and improved skill set—and began working for a private law firm as a Veterans Disability Attorney.
When I am not practicing law, I enjoy golfing, watching documentaries, spending time with my rescue dog Molly, and volunteering in the community. Every year I organize and host the Sgt. Jessie Davila Memorial Classic golf tournament to raise money for the scholarship in his name. I’m a Life Member of the Marine Corps League, the Disabled American Veterans, and the American Legion. I’m also honored to serve as a Board Member for the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch. I am dedicated to serving others, whether it be in my community or in my legal practice, and I look forward to the opportunity to serve as your advocate and attorney.