Grace Martinez, Client Services Manager
Grace Martinez joined our team as a Client Services member in 2014. She is our Director of First Impressions and manages all administrative functions in the front office. Often times, she is the first person you speak with when calling our law firm. Her days are busy while answering the phones, scheduling appointments, opening and closing files and translating for our attorneys. She truly understands the art of providing our clients with a world-class experience.
Prior to coming onboard, Grace supported the Dean of Humanities at our local Tidewater Community College as an administrative office assistant where she was well-respected and loved by all. Her work history includes customer servce, pre-school teaching, collections and many years of secretarial experience.
Grace earned her Associates degree in Applied Science from Tidewater Community College in Early Childhood Development and an Executive Secretarial diploma from Dover Business College.
She is the proud mom of beautiful triplet daughters and resides in Virginia Beach with her loving husband of 30 years. Grace is a native Spanish speaker, born in Ecuador and moved to the United States at the young age of eleven. When not working, Grace enjoys playing cards with her long-time friends, traveling to visit family and singing along to the best Latin songs of all times!
Jaquelyn Murray, Client Services Liaison/Paralegal
Jaquelyn Murray joined us in 2019 as our Client Services Liaison and Paralegal. Jaquelyn assists our team with all types of immigration cases from professional and business-based visas to family immigration, consular processing and naturalization. She also assists with translating for our attorneys and clients.
Jaquelyn is the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants and a native Spanish speaker. Originally from New Jersey, Jaquelyn moved to Virginia Beach in 2008. She spent 7 years working for the United States Congress, where she was most recently the Lead Constituent Service Liaison, overseeing all federal agency casework (with a specialty in immigration and citizen services), staff training and assisting with community engagement for Virginia’s 2nd congressional district. Jaquelyn holds a B.A. in Government & Politics from Regent University.
Jaquelyn and her husband, Jonathan, have been married 6 years, and currently reside in Chesapeake. When not working, Jaquelyn enjoys traveling, latin dancing, and working in foster care.
Domini Samson, Law Clerk
Domini was born in the Philippines but grew up in Kansas. He recently graduated from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, VA in 2018. Domini earned his B.A. in Criminal Justice from Virginia Commonwealth University. After earning his B.A., Domini worked as a paralegal at Schettine & Ngueyn, PLC, a law firm in Richmond, VA for 6 years. Before starting law school, Domini earned his Master of Arts in Law at Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, VA in 2015.
During his time in law school, Domini was involved in various student groups such as the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association as Treasure; Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy as a Managing Editor; Phi Alpha Delta as a Clerk; Alternative Dispute Resolution Board as a Board Member; and participated in the Immigration Practicum at Valverde & Rowell, PC. Domini also interned as a law clerk with Lollar Law in Norfolk, VA, which focuses primarily in representing private property owners in Eminent Domain cases and for Judge David W. Lannetti of the Norfolk Circuit Court.
Domini loves sports especially football and basketball and is a big Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas University Jayhawks fan. Domini lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two daughters. Domini likes to go on impromptu food tours, dances (not very well) salsa, merengue and bachata, and is an avid gamer.
Leesa Sherman-Hochmuth, Certified Paralegal
Our Senior Immigration Paralegal since 2004, Leesa assists Ms. Mendoza with all types of immigration cases from professional and business-based visas to family immigration, consular processing and naturalization.
A Norfolk, VA native and proud retired Navy spouse, she graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.A. in English Linguistics. She is a two-time recipient of scholarships for paralegal volunteers to the Annual Conference of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), and she enjoys volunteering each year at AILA’s local Citizenship Day events.
Leesa is an active member of the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA). In 2008, she was awarded NALA’s Certified Paralegal (CP) credential, recognized by the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistants as a high level professional designation.
Shelley Blankinship, Marketing Manager
Shelley Blankinship joined us in 2016 as our Marketing Manager. Shelley’s primary focus will be expanding marketing efforts, enhancing our digital presence and streamlining other processes to make Gardner & Mendoza more effective.
Shelley spent over 10 years with Pilot Media Companies, where she was most recently the Sales Development Manager overseeing marketing, sales and distribution efforts for Pilot Media products in retail outlets. Prior to her role in marketing, she spent over 9 years in Human Resources, with her last role as Benefits Manager. Shelley holds a B.S. in Business Management from Old Dominion University.
Shelley left the workforce in 2011 to become a stay at home mom, and has since reentered on a part-time basis. Shelley and her husband Don have been married over 10 years, and currently reside in Virginia Beach with their two children Eva, 8 and Cole, 6. When not working, Shelley enjoys family time, fitness and soaking up rays!
Gabriela Martinez, Office Assistant
Meet our Office Assistant, Gabriela Martinez. Gabby’s responsible for scanning, copying and file management. She’s currently a junior at Old Dominion University where she’s pursuing a degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. Prior to ODU, Gabby graduated from Tidewater Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts, where she also worked in the school’s writing center.
Gabby is a Virginia Beach native and the middle child of triplets. When not working or in school, she enjoys singing and writing and aspires to have a career in one or both someday. In case you couldn’t pick up on it from the last name, Gabby is the daughter of our G&M veteran and Client Services Manager, Grace Martinez.