Legal & strategic guidance for California community associations

The magic of Whitney|Petchul is our team. We are very proud to have assembled a very deep bench of not only the best and the brightest, but also a team with a stunning level of experience. As a consequence, we are able to provide legal counsel and strategic planning at a level that is well beyond what can be learned in a law school.

Attorneys

Frederick T. Whitney, Esq.

Founder

Fred Whitney entered the Association industry in 1998 and presently serves as counsel to some of the largest master planned communities in California. Fred has successfully tried cases on issues involving CC&R enforcement, contract disputes and complex election issues. Through this representation, Fred has had the privilege of successfully arguing Association industry issues before the California Appellate Court, which has resulted in published Appellate opinions setting standards within the Community Association industry. Fred presently serves as the editor of the CACM Law Journal, giving him the opportunity to interact directly with leading industry professionals throughout the state of California on a regular basis. Contact Fred at [email protected].

Dirk Petchul, Esq.

Founder

Dirk Petchul has practiced real estate and corporate law in southern California since 1991.  Since about the turn of the century he has, almost exclusively, represented community associations in an extraordinarily broad scope of transactional and litigation settings.  He is a prolific speaker, author and educator on issues affecting California community associations and very actively participates in the California legislative process with respect to issues that impact them.  

Dirk is currently a state-wide at-large Delegate to the CAI California Legislative Action Committee (CLAC) and a co-chair of the CAI Orange County Legislative Support Committee (LSC).  He is also member of, and qualified instructor for the California Association of Community Managers (CACM), a trained mediator (Pepperdine’s Straus Institute), and a member of the Orange County Bar Association’s Real Estate Section. His past service has included work as a law clerk for the California Court of Appeal (4th District, Santa Ana), an adjunct Professor of law (Western State School of Law), a long-term member of the CACM Legal Advisory Steering Committee, a member of the OC Bar Association Real Estate Section, a Director of the OC Escrow Association and an advisory member of the Chapman University School of Law Environmental Land Use and Real Estate Law Program. Contact Dirk at [email protected].

Jane L. Blasingham, Esq.

Shareholder

Jane L. Blasingham represents community association clients on general corporate counsel matters.  Her work encompasses advising associations and their boards on community association law, amendment and enforcement of governing documents, fiduciary duties, employment issues and contracts. She has represented associations in all matters pertaining to the Davis Stirling Common Interest Development Act and other state and federal laws. Her experience includes planning, entitlement, management, budgeting, permitting and construction of new residential communities. She managed formation of new communities and served as director on four Declarant association boards. She taught business law courses at California State University. Contact Jane at [email protected].

Patrick Coughlin

Patrick Coughlin is a legal assistant for Whitney | Petchul.  Patrick graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor’s degree in Law and a minor in Business Administration. Following his graduation, he began his career in the legal industry as a Client Intake Specialist at an Estate Planning Law Firm. He loves to speak with our clients and will do anything in his power to make sure they receive the best service possible.  Patrick is currently contemplating law school for the fall of 2023. In his free time, he enjoys sports and riding bikes by the beach. Contact Patrick at [email protected].

William J. Curry, Esq.

Shareholder

William (Bill) Curry was admitted to the California State Bar in 2018. Bill studied at Chapman University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Whittier School of Law in 2018. Bill was born and raised in Orange County. Prior to joining Whitney | Petchul, Bill served his community for 12 years as a Deputy Sheriff for the Orange County Sherriff’s Department. Bill’s time as a Deputy Sheriff gave him a unique perspective on community service, expanded his communication skills, and enabled him to develop into a creative problem solver, all of which allow him to be an excellent choice for providing legal guidance to association managers and directors. Contact William at [email protected].

Dawn Ebert, Esq.

Dawn is litigation attorney for Whitney | Petchul. She has been practicing since 2006 and has had extensive first chair litigation experience on cases covering an broad spectrum of claims and issues. She is a graduate of Whittier College School of Law. Contact Dawn at [email protected].

Kris J. Geiger, Esq.

Shareholder

Kris J. Geiger has represented community associations since 2001 on matters including statutory compliance with Davis-Stirling, enforcement and interpretation of govern documents, in addition to drafting and negotiation vendor contracts and telecommunications site license agreements, and preparing amending governing documents. Prior to representing community associations, she specialized in representing California public agencies on personal, employment, and labor law matters. She has been practicing law since 1994 and served as editor for the Southwestern Law Review and an intern for the Honorable Ronald S. W. Lew of the United States District Court, Central District of California. Contact Kris at [email protected].

Jake Harle, Esq.

Mr. Harle brings a well-seasoned perspective to community association law. He has, almost exclusively, focused upon serving California community associations for just about 25 years. Prior to that his practice was dedicated to the representation of homebuilders.

Mr. Harle graduated, magna cum laude, from the University of California, Los Angeles and received his Juris Doctorate from the UCLA School of Law in 1987. While at UCLA Law, he had the honor of serving as the managing editor of the prestigious UCLA Law Review publication.

Mr. Harle is a frequent author and speaker on issues relating to California community associations and their operation. He is a long-term member of the California Association of Community Managers (“CACM”). He is also a past president and active member of the Orange County Regional Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (“CAI-OC”). Amazingly, Mr. Harle currently serves as a member of the CAI-OC publications committee and has held that position for decades! He was also honored with a CAI-OC “Lifetime Achievement” Award in 2014. Contact Jake at [email protected].

Nancy Michael, Esq.

Since about 2004, Nancy has, almost exclusively represented California Community Associations.  She regularly advises some of the region’s largest associations on a broad array of issues which include CC&R and operating rules interpretation/enforcement, elections, contract negotiations, maintenance/repair obligation allocations, governing document amendments, maintenance responsibilities and amendments to governing documents. Nancy received her law degree from Southwestern University School of Law in 2000, where she graduated cum laude. While at Southwestern University, she was a member of the Law Review and Public Interest Law Society. Contact Nancy at [email protected].

Jean M. Moriarty, Esq.

Shareholder

Prior to joining our firm, Ms. Moriarty already had more than 26 years of experience in the insurance defense field, including defending community associations, property/community management firms and commercial property owners. Her past work encompassed a very wide range of typical and not-so-typical issues faced by those clients. With Whitney | Petchul she has continued her wide-ranging litigation work in both defending and bringing claims on behalf of California community associations.  

Jean has been practicing since 1985 and is one of the most experienced trial attorneys in the state. She has been lead counsel in hundreds of mediations and over 45 jury trials in Orange County alone! She is an Associate Member of American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and has previously served as a faculty member of the Farmers Trial Advocacy Program (designed to train new attorneys advocacy skills). Contact Jean at [email protected].

Adam Obeid, Esq

Adam is a litigation attorney for Whitney | Petchul. He has extensive experience in California civil litigation and appeals including both the bringing of and defense of claims on behalf of California community associations.  In addition to litigation and appeal work, and has extensive experience in transactional work including the drafting, interpretation and enforcement of contracts, insurance obligations and community association governing documents. 

Adam graduated with honors from Occidental College and received a bachelors degree after double majoring in History and Philosophy.  He earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Western State University College of Law. Contact Adam at [email protected].

Anne Rawlinson, Esq.

Shareholder

Anne Rawlinson’s legal work focuses on interpretation, revision, and enforcement of governing documents, contract preparation, board meeting procedures, and troubleshooting day-to-day community association operations. She has a B.A. in English from Pomona College, an M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. Prior to becoming an attorney she worked for many years in university administration and book publishing. She is admitted to practice in the state of California and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Contact Anne at [email protected].

Natalie Stephan

Natalie Stephan has been a California attorney since 2014.  Beginning in 2016 she focused her practice almost exclusively upon representing California community associations. She has served as legal counsel for numerous southern California community associations, working with their boards of directors and managers to address a broad range of issues including interpreting, enforcing and revising governing documents; drafting and negotiating contracts; advising on compliance with new legislation; and defending or prosecuting lawsuits. Natalie has significant experience as a litigator and served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Maria D. Hernandez at the Orange County Lamoreaux Justice Center. Her litigation background has provided her well-seasoned skills for resolving disputes both prior to and after a lawsuit is filed.  Contact Natalie Stephan at [email protected].

Constance Trinh, Esq.

Shareholder

Constance Trinh specializes in CC&R enforcement and interpretation, contract negotiation, corporate governance, and dispute resolution. She has more than a decade of experience in real estate litigation and civil appeals and served as trial and appellate counsel for the prevailing defendants in Lee v. Silveira (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 527 (establishing a director’s right to pursue an anti-SLAPP motion in response to claims based on director votes). Constance graduated cum laude from Chapman University and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She received a Juris Doctor from Chapman University School of Law. Constance is admitted to practice in all state and federal district courts in California. Contact Constance at [email protected].

Jacky Wang, Esq.

Bio coming soon.

Fabi Ampudia

Shareholder

Fabiola (“Fabi”) Ampudia is a paralegal for Whitney | Petchul.  She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business from San Diego State University with Distinction. She also obtained a Certificate of Translation and Interpretation from University of California San Diego and is fluent in English, Spanish, and is currently learning Brazilian Portuguese. Fabi has a legal background that includes the areas of Various types of litigation, unlawful detainers, settlement planning, and special needs trusts. She is also a dedicated member of the community and serves on the PTA Board for her children’s schools. Contact Fabi at [email protected]. 

Karla Cespedes

Karla Cespedes is a legal assistant for Whitney | Petchul. Although she has been with us only since 2019, she quickly became, and remains, indispensable member of our team. She came to our firm with a solid legal foundation owing to her several years of previous experience as an intake specialist at a workers compensation law firm in Costa Mesa.  Further, she built upon that foundation during the last couple of years by/through her Paralegal Certification Studies at the prestigious UC Irvine (from which she is expected to graduate by early next year!). Contact Karla at [email protected]

Mary Jo Colwell

Sr. Paralegal

Greg Lent

Paralegal/Office Manager

Ricky Ng

Paralegal
27 Orchard Rd, 
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Phone:  (949) 766-4700
Email:   [email protected]

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