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.
Frederick T. Whitney, Esq.
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.
Dirk Petchul has practiced real estate and corporate law in southern California since 1991. Prior to Whitney | Petchul, Mr. Petchul was a partner at Berding|Weil serving as a transactional and litigation counsel to California community associations. His litigation work has ranged from govern document enforcement to strategizing appeals that have benefited community associations throughout the state. He has practiced almost exclusively within the community association industry and in so doing served as legal counsel to an extensive array of community associations and building owners. He is a frequent speaker, author and educator on issues affecting California community associations and actively participates in the California legislative process in matters that impact California community associations. He is a member of, and qualified instructor for the CACM, a qualified mediator and member of the Orange County and California State Bar Association Real Estate Sections. His experience includes past service as a law clerk for the Court of Appeals of the State of California, an adjunct Professor of law, a long term member of the CACM Legal Advisory Steering Committee, a member of the Common Interest Development Committee of the State Bar Real Estate Section, a Director of the Orange County 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].
Brittney Aquino, Esq.
Brittney H. Aquino received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Criminal Justice from California State University Fullerton. Thereafter, Brittney earned a Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California. Through her studies at California Western School of Law, Brittney earned a concentration in the areas of family and elder law. Brittney was admitted to the California State Bar in December 2014. Contact Brittney at [email protected].
Jane L. Blasingham, Esq.
Jane L. Blasingham represents clients on general corporate counsel matters including but not limited to, advising associations and their boards on homeowners 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].
William J. Curry, Esq.
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. While at Whitter, Bill received two CALI Awards for the highest grade in Business Associations and Legal Analysis. 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].
Jane Gaba, Esq.
Jane Gaba represents community associations in both transactional matters and in litigation including enforcement of governing documents, contract disputes, architectural issues, maintenance obligations, and governing document revisions. During her career, Jane has tried dozens of cases and has participated numerous mediations and arbitrations. She served as trial and appellate counsel in the matter of Nellie Gail Ranch Owners Association v. McMullin (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 982 (affirming that owners could not make out a claim for adverse possession over common area). Prior to joining Whitney | Petchul, Jane worked for a mortgage banking litigation firm giving her extensive litigation experience in various area of real property law. Jane graduated cum laude from University of California – Los Angeles, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in Italian, and received her law degree from Western State University College of Law. Contact Jane at [email protected].
Kris J. Geiger, Esq.
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.
Nancy Michael has been with the firm since 2004 and became a shareholder in 2014. Nancy specializes in homeowners association matters and business and civil litigation. She advises community association Boards on an array of issues, including CC&R enforcement and interpretation, elections, contract negotiations and preparation, maintenance responsibilities, amendments to governing documents and other community issues. 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.
Ms. Moriarty has over 26 years of experience in the insurance defense field, including defending Homeowners Associations, Property Management Companies, and commercial property owners. She has handled environmental and discrimination claims and litigation. Ms. Moriarty has been lead counsel in hundreds of mediations and over 45 jury trials in Orange County. She has been practicing injury and community association law in Southern California since 1985. Ms. Moriarty is an Associate Member of American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). She was a faculty member of the Farmers Trial Advocacy Program designed to train new attorneys advocacy skills. Contact Jean at [email protected].
Anne Rawlinson, Esq.
Anne Rawlinson focuses on interpretation, revision, and enforcement of governing documents, contract preparation, board meeting procedures, and troubleshooting day-to-day 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 a[email protected].
Constance Trinh, Esq.
Constance Trinh specializes in CC&R enforcement and interpretation, contract negotiation, corporate governance, and dispute resolution. She has 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].
Melanie Alonso is a Paralegal with Whitney | Petchul. After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UC Riverside, she entered the legal field as a legal assistant with a worker’s compensation law firm, where she also worked as the Director of Operations for an online law school. After three years with the firm, Melanie attended UC Irvine to pursue her Paralegal Certification and has been working as a Litigation Paralegal ever since.
Karla Cespedes started her legal experience in 2016 working as an Intake Specialist in a worker’s compensation law firm in Costa Mesa. She helped with gathering injured worker information and starting up the initial claim. She then had the wonderful opportunity to start working as a Legal Assistant with Whitney | Petchul and is now pursuing her Paralegal Certification at UC Irvine, where she’s expected to complete by the end next year.
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Phone: (949) 766-4700
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