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.

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.  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].

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. Brittney was admitted to the California State Bar in December 2014. Contact Brittney at [email protected].

 

Jane L. Blasingham, Esq.

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].

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. 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].

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.

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.

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].

Anne Rawlinson, Esq.

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].

Constance Trinh, Esq.

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].

Fabi Ampudia

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!).    

Lindsay Graves

Lindsay is a paralegal for Whitney | Petchul.  In 2017, while simultaneously completing her undergraduate studies at Chapman University, Lindsay Graves began her legal career with a Rancho Santa Margarita law firm where she assisted in medical summation, report generation and preparation for trial in the local courts. Since that time, she graduated summa cum laude from Chapman University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and has proven herself to be amazingly capable and motivated to grow and expand her responsibility.   To that end, we are very proud to announce that as of fall 2021, she has been accepted into the prestigious Chapman University School of Law!  Contact Lindsay 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].

Mariana Shenoda, Esq.

Mariana Shenoda was admitted to the California State Bar in 2018. Mariana specializes in homeowners association matters.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Vanguard University and later received her Juris Doctor degree from Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked for many years in Real Estate as a foreclosure specialist, salesperson, and broker. Contact Mariana at [email protected].

Tanner Petchul

Tanner Petchul is a legal assistant for Whitney | Petchul.  Tanner recently graduated Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. During his studies, he was a four year “Scholar Athlete” owing to the high grades that he obtained while balancing his studies with the vigorous obligations, schedules and travels related to his Division I, volleyball career. Tanner is currently contemplating law school for the fall of 2022, and in his free time he is keeping himself busy with, among other things,  practice LSAT exams. Contact Tanner at [email protected]. 

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

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