Lawyer Referral Service Panel Member Spotlight
The Alameda County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) refers clients to attorneys who have been assigned to various subject matter panels. Our service is well-established, respected in the Alameda County legal community, and certified by the State Bar of California.
Patricia Gutierrez de Sunseri
Patricia Gutierrez de Sunseri originally practiced law in her native Colombia for 16 years (Probate, Real Estate, Collections). After coming to the US, she spent ten years on staff at the Superior Court of Alameda County. In 2013, Patricia opened her own Family Law practice. She is also a licensed real estate broker. Patricia was honored for her volunteer work in 2015 as Legal Access Alameda’s Volunteer of the Year. She has been an ACBA Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) Panel Member since 2014.
Why did you initially join the ACBA Lawyer Referral Service?
I learned about the program while working for the Court, when I opened my practice it made more sense to join instead of doing marketing and advertising on my own.
What keeps you renewing your LRS panel membership every year?
Year after year still makes more sense professionally and financially to offer my services as an ACBA member than doing it on my own.
Do you have a particularly memorable story about an LRS client that you’d like to share?
Many of my clients; including the ones referred to me by LRS, are low income monolingual Spanish speakers. They have similar needs as anyone else but for some reason it is more difficult for them to find affordable and competent legal assistance. LRS recently referred to me a client who is monolingual in Spanish and cleans houses for a living. This client needed urgent help to avoid losing her 50% interest in her ex-husband’s pension, she only had a 2003 “status only” judgment and no order to divide opposing party’s pension (QDRO) was ever submitted to the Court (despite the fact that each party was represented by counsel at the time). Within a couple of months I was able to submit and obtain a “judgment on reserved issues” and QDRO while overcoming opposing party’s refusal to cooperate by moving for signatures by elisor as needed. Soon my client will begin to receive not only her monthly pension payments but also payment for over a year of retroactive payments.
What would you like to say to an attorney who might be thinking about joining LRS?
LRS attorneys not only benefit from the ACBA’s marketing and prestige but also by knowing that their fees help to support the ACBA’s commitment to excellence in the legal profession and equal access to justice within the community.
Where do you practice?
Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Which areas of law do you practice in?
What is your favorite thing about practicing law?
It satisfies my professional need for the intellectual challenge and the personal one of helping others.
What is one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?
I completed my first year of law school at 19 years old and have been an attorney for 37 years.
As an LRS panel member, you receive quality referrals for a small fraction of the cost of advertising in the yellow pages or on the internet. Whether you are hanging a shingle for the first time, or have an established practice, we can help your practice grow. Contact LRS Director Rachel Shigekane at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.