Our TeamAttorneys & Legal Specialist Terry LaPorte Terry LaPorte has dedicated his legal career to representing individuals in Social Security Disability claims and appeals. After receiving his J.D in 1979 from Santa Clara University School of Law, he developed an expertise in Social Security Disability law. In 1982, he established the LaPorte Law Firm, a Northern California based law firm that specializes exclusively in the area of Social Security Disability law. For thirty years, Mr. LaPorte and his law firm have represented thousands of individuals in SSI and SSDI disability appeals in California and the Western States. Mr. LaPorte attained the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification and serves on the Board of Examiners, National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is a sustaining member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR), a provider attorney to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and a seven-time Chair of the Social Security Section, Santa Clara County Bar Association. He has served as a lecturer on disability law for the Continuing Education Program of the California Bar Association and for many community, legal and support organizations. Mr. LaPorte was named a top Northern California attorney in Super Lawyer, and has received a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly. Mr. LaPorte has also received numerous awards for his commitment to the individuals with disabilities and others in need in our community. Mr. LaPorte was bestowed the prestigious 2013 "Client Distinction Award" by Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com. Fewer than 4% of over 900,000 attorneys listed on Martindale.com and Lawyers.com have been awarded this honor of distinction. He was the 2011 Recipient of the Santa Clara County Bar Association Pro Bono Services Award. He was the recipient of the Philip J. Berelson Award for Generous Philanthropy in 2004, bestowed by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society honored him as the Chapter Programs Partner of the Year and he has been named the Social Security Attorney of the Year. Mr. LaPorte's dedication to the disabled has been acknowledged by the California State Bar's Consumer Business Review, the Santa Clara County Bar Association and the Pro Bono Project of Santa Clara County. Kevan Spence Kevan Spence – Jackson, Reno, Stockton and Sacramento offices Esq. Kevan Spence attended Smith College and Stanford University, where she received her BA and Masters of Art degrees, respectively. She received her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1980. She has been admitted to practice law in the State of California, the federal district courts, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals since 1981. Ms. Spence is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR). Ms. Spence was a medical malpractice attorney for 8 years and has broad knowledge of medical and disability issues. Her geographic area of the practice for our firm includes Stockton, Sacramento, the Central Valley, the Sierra Foothills., Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada. Ms. Spence is a committed member of her local community, serving as a Board Member of Amador Community College Foundation and as a Member of the Board of Trustees for Sutter Amador Hospital Foundation. Ms. Spence devotes herself exclusively to the practice of Social Security disability applications, appeals and hearings for clients in the Sierra Foothills, Stockton, Sacramento, Central Valley, and Tahoe/Reno areas. She has successfully represented numerous clients from application through administrative law hearings. Consistent with our firm’s philosophy, she believes that each client is unique. She and her staff offer thorough preparation of every case and individual attention to every client in order to enhance the likelihood of a successful outcome. Anne LaPorte Anne LaPorte – San Jose and Oakland offices Anne LaPorte received her law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2010. She is admitted to practice law in the State of California. Anne joined our firm in 2011 and is based in the San Jose and Oakland offices. Since 2011, her practice has focused exclusively on Social Security disability claims and appeals. She attends specialized training conferences sponsored by the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives and has represented many clients at Social Security appeals hearings throughout Northern California. She feels blessed to be able to assist our clients in navigating the disability claims process and strives to do so in a compassionate and attentive manner. Maria Miranda-Hammon Maria Miranda-Hammon – San Jose and Salinas offices Maria Miranda-Hammon has more than 20 years of experience as a Legal Specialist with the firm. She is an experienced and dedicated Social Security legal representative. She is deeply committed to achieving a successful outcome for every client. Maria specializes in the representation of claimants with SSI and SSA disability claims and appeals at Social Security hearing offices and district offices. Maria continues to expand her knowledge and experience through research and seminars offered by the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) and the Annual 9th Circuit Conference for experienced Social Security practitioners. Maria’s vast litigation support experience and knowledge of computer graphic software is used extensively within the law firm in preparing documentation presentations and conference materials. Maria’s expertise includes the use of electronic filing software. With a fully integrated bicultural background, Maria has represented many monolingual Spanish speaker claimants in our San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Salinas and Monterey area offices. Kevin LaPorte Kevin LaPorte - Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose offices Kevin LaPorte received his JD from the University of San Francisco Law School where he was also awarded an International and Comparative Law Certificate with Honors. He is admitted to practice law in California. Mr. LaPorte is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), and has received specialized training in Social Security disability law at national NOSSCR conferences. Before joining the firm, Mr. LaPorte’s practice focused on international criminal law and human rights. He served as Assistant Attorney to the International Civil Parties in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia. This trial was conducted as a joint enterprise between the United Nations and the Cambodian government, and involved the drafting of closing statements in the historical trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders, along with conducting fact gathering missions for the crime of genocide. He also worked for the United Nations in The Hague, Netherlands at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which involved the criminal trial of a former General accused of genocide and war crimes. Mr. LaPorte’s experience helping victims of human rights abuses inspired him to help individuals closer to home who are suffering from disabling illnesses and injuries. His background in human rights laws gives him a unique perspective in representing clients whose disabling conditions prevent them from being able to work. His practice focuses on representing clients in Northern California in the Social Security claims and appeals process. Support Staff Lladira Abarca Lladira Abarca Office Manager Lladira Abarca joined the LaPorte Law Firm in 2008 as Office Manager. Her prior experience includes her work as a law firm litigation and trial paralegal. As a paralegal, Lladira was recognized for her excellent performance, innovative ideas, work flow improvements, exemplary attitude, and positive morale. Lladira's expertise in handling a wide variety of legal cases enhances her contribution to the management of our clients' cases. She brings with her a background firmly rooted in commitment to the client. Lladira is also skilled in effective communication with clients and counsel. Sylvia Marichalar Sylvia Marichalar Sylvia Marichalar joined the firm in 2000 and has been a valuable member of our staff for over twelve years. Her extensive background in customer service and office procedures enabled her to quickly adapt to the client-centered approach of our law practice. Ms. Marichalar is fluent in both English and Spanish. She manages client files, prepares outgoing legal documents, answers our multi-line telephone system, and welcomes visitors to our office. Ms. Marichalar is one of our three Spanish translators employed by the firm and provides translation assistance to our Spanish speaking clients. Ms. Marichalar is dedicated to serving our clients with compassion and personal attention. Madeline Sammet Madeline Sammet Madeline Sammet is based in the San Jose office of the LaPorte Law Firm. She relocated to San Jose from the Midwest to join her family in the San Francisco Bay Area after pursuing her AA degree in English. Madeline has strong experience working with physically and mentally disabled individuals in the medical and rehabilitation industries. She genuinely enjoys interacting with and assisting our Social Security disability clients in whatever way she can. Patty Lewine Patty Lewine Legal Assistant Patty Lewine Patty Lewine has supported attorney Kevan Spence in the firm's Jackson, Stockton, Sacramento, Tahoe and Reno offices since 2009. Patty has an extensive background in customer service, which is demonstrated in her dedication to our clients. She offers prompt and courteous attention to each individual client's needs and requests. Mona Khella Mona Khella Legal Assistant Mona Khella joined the LaPorte Law Firm in 2011 and supports clients in the Oakland, San Francisco and Burlingame offices. Mona has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Psychology. In 2010, she received a Paralegal Certificate from California State University, East Bay. Prior to joining the law firm, she worked as a Title 2 Claims Representative for the Social Security Administration in Walnut Creek. In this capacity, she gained extensive knowledge in the process of filing SSDI and Retirement benefits applications and appeals . Mona has recently spent some time in the Middle East, where her family is from originally. She speaks fluent Arabic and has some knowledge of Spanish.