Mary Walter, President
Mary Walter is an senior associate at Liebler, Gonzalez & Portuondo, focusing on appellate practice and litigation support. In this role, she has advocated on behalf of her clients throughout the state in a variety of practice areas, including financial institution litigation, commercial transactions, real estate law, and general civil litigation. Mary is a Board Certified Appellate Specialist. Prior to joining Liebler, Gonzalez, Mary represented national and statewide insurance companies in liability and coverage disputes involving personal injury, product liability, and contract issues. She is a member of the Florida Bar and has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. Mary is a native of Winter Park, Florida. She earned both her undergraduate degree and juris doctorate degree from Florida State University. While in law school, she served as Co-Editor in Chief of the FSU Business Review and was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honor Society and the Order of the Coif. Mary was also a proud member of the World Renowned Florida State University Marching Chiefs, and remains active in the alumni association.
Heather Meglino, President-Elect
Heather M. Meglino is the owner of Meglino Law, LLC. Her practice focuses on business owners and employers in various business and employment law matters. This includes making sure businesses are protected and in compliance with business and labor & employment laws. Heather also litigates cases including employment discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, overtime and unpaid wages, FMLA leave and disability issues, employment contracts, and other employment law claims under various state and federal laws. She also provides training to businesses and serves as in-house counsel for multiple companies. In addition to serving as CFAWL’s Secretary, Heather currently serves on the Harbor HouseYoung Professionals Board. She is also the Rollins College Chi Omega Chapter Advisor, and the Communications Coordinator on the OCBA Young Lawyers Board. Heather volunteers as a Wish Granter for the Make-A-Wish Central and Northern Florida Chapter, and is this year’s Recruitment Chair on the Executive Committee for the annual Walk for Wises event.
Mallory Widgren, Treasurer
As an accomplished plaintiff’s personal injury attorney, Mallory Widgren counsels and represents individuals who have been injured or wronged in the areas of civil litigation including automobile negligence, premises liability, product liability, wrongful death, negligent security, breach of contract, and insurance coverage issues. She has tried numerous cases to verdict in both Florida State and Federal Courts. Bar service is an integral aspect of Mallory’s professional perspective and she has been an active member undertaking leadership positions with the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers and The Orange County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. She serves on both the Young Lawyer Board of Directors and the Women’s Caucus Board of Directors for the Florida Justice Association. She is a Fellow of the Florida Bar Leadership Academy, Class IV. Mallory has been honored with entry into the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums, SuperLawyers Rising Stars 2019 & 2020, and the recipient of FAWL’s Leader in the Law Award 2020. Mallory began her legal education at the University of Central Florida where she received a Bachelor of Arts in legal studies, and Cambridge University in the United Kingdom where she studied international law. Continuing her education as a scholarship recipient at Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, she graduated among the top 10 students of her class and served as a Senior Editor for the Barry Law Review. When not practicing law, Mallory enjoys building blanket forts and conducting science experiments with her five-year-old daughter and three-year-old son.
Tina Leger, Treasurer-Elect
Tina Leger is a Staff Attorney at Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, where she practices civil litigation serving the needs of low-income clients. Tina is a native of Orlando, Florida. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida and juris doctorate degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. She is a member of the Florida Bar. In 2013, Tina joined CFAWL while in her third year of law school. She has had the privilege of serving on various committees and the Board of Directors throughout the years, such as serving as OCBA Representative, Young Lawyers Director, CLE Coordinator, and participating in FAWL Lobby Days, Corks for a Cause, Members Reception, Judicial Reception, Covenant House Project, Runway for Justice, and the Mentor/Mentee Program. In addition to her involvement with CFAWL, Tina is a member of the Orange County Bar Association, an athlete at CrossFit Orlando, practicing golfer of Ladies Links at Dubsdread Golf Course, and avid paddleboarder. In her spare time, Tina enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, biking, and running road races for charity.
Erica Cipparone, Secretary
Erica Cipparone is a partner with Beusse Wolter Sanks & Maire, PLLC, an intellectual property firm. Erica is a registered patent attorney, licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She focuses her practice on preparation and prosecution of patents, trademarks, and copyrights and related licensing and litigation. Erica concentrates her patent practice in the technical areas of biomedicine, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. Erica graduated with a Master’s in Biomedical Science Degree from the University of Central Florida, and while at UCF, completed her capstone defense which centered around cancer treatment therapies, and specifically, immunotherapy as a chemotherapy and radiation alternative. In particular, Erica’s research included immune checkpoint inhibitors, cancer-based vaccines, and cytokines as immunotherapy-based treatment methods for cancer therapy. Prior to joining Beusse Wolter Sanks & Maire, Erica attended Barry University School of Law with a focus on patent law and other intellectual property matters. Before attending law school, Erica worked as a Certified Pharmacy Technician for several years in outpatient and inpatient hospital pharmacies as well as compounding and retail pharmacies throughout both Central Florida and Utah. This year, Erica was honored to be selected as a recipient of FAWL’s Leader in the Law Award. When she is not practicing law, Erica enjoys spending time with her husband, who is also an attorney, and their two beautiful daughters.
Lauren Millcarek, Membership Director
Lauren Millcarek is an associate in Shutts & Bowen’s Orlando office focusing on business and federal court litigation. Lauren is experienced in the areas of complex civil litigation, False Claims Act investigation and litigation, white collar criminal defense, healthcare litigation, disputes involving debt collection and consumer solicitation practices, and financial services and business litigation. Lauren is active in the Orlando community and serves on the boards of the Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, and the homelessness nonprofit IDignity, as well as the Grievance Committee for the Orlando Division of the Middle District of Florida. Prior to joining Shutts, Lauren was with Holland & Knight. Before that, she served for two years as a federal judicial law clerk to the Honorable Roy B. “Skip” Dalton, Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, where she drafted hundreds of orders on dispositive motions and assisted the judge with more than a dozen civil and criminal trials. A proud double Gator, Lauren served during law school as a law clerk for the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., a certified legal intern trying cases with the State Attorney’s Office in Gainesville, the Executive Managing Editor of the Florida Law Review, and the President of the Law Association for Women.
Heather Trick, Membership Co- Director
Bio and Photo Forthcoming.
Nicolette Kramer, Programs Director
Nicolette is a solo practitioner. Her practice focuses on community association law. She studied philosophy at Manhattan College and earned her Juris Doctorate from the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University. Before starting her own firm, she gained experience as the senior associate at a boutique law firm that focused solely on the rights of planned communities. Nicolette has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2011 and is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. Nicolette joined CFAWL in 2018. She is an active member of the Central Florida Chapter of Community Associations Institute, where she serves on the Cares Committee. And the Orange County Bar Association, where she serves as Chair of the Health & Wellness Committee. Nicolette also serves as a Board Member for the Orange County Teen Court. Nicolette enjoys spending time with her significant co-habitant, Gary, and their chihuahua, Simon.
Sonia Henriques McDowell, Programs Co-Director
Sonia Henriques McDowell is an associate at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.. Her areas of practice include the defense of health care professionals and entities including: doctors, nurses, physical therapists, advanced registered nurse practitioners, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities and CCRCs. Sonia also handles the defense of personal injury and premises liability matters. Sonia has significant experience in handling appeals and financial services litigation. She gained extensive trial experience as an Assistant State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit where she handled the prosecution of felony crimes for three years and worked with specialized task forces focusing on drug trafficking cases involving lengthy minimum mandatory sentences. Sonia received her Juris Doctor from Barry University – Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Orlando, Fla., in May 2009, is a member of The Florida Bar and is also admitted in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Leia Leitner, Public Relations Director (social media)
Leia Leitner is an associate at Shepard, Smith, Kohlmyer & Hand, P.A. where she focuses on international commercial litigation cases, business litigation, public entity defense, and intellectual property and internet law. Leia is active in the Orlando community and served, and continues to serve, on the boards of the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Central Florida Association for Women Lawyers, the Greater Orlando Asian Bar Association, and the Orange County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer Section. Leia was also recently selected as a Fellow for the 2020-2021 Florida Bar Leadership Academy, Class VIII. Prior to joining SSKH, Leia was an associate attorney at a boutique intellectual property and technology law firm in Orlando, Florida where she litigated complex commercial cases in both federal and state courts. Her practice focused on all aspects of copyright and trademark prosecution and complex business litigation, government investigations and qui tam actions under the federal False Claims Act. She also drafted settlement agreements and negotiated contracts in the representation of matters involving sports, music and entertainment law. Leia received her Juris Doctor from Florida A&M University College of Law in May 2011 and Bachelor of Arts from the University of California San Diego in March 2003, graduating with a major in political science. While in law school, Ms. Leitner served as a certified legal intern at the State Attorney’s office in Orlando. She also earned a Certificate of Completion of Deposition Skills from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy in 2018. Leia was named by Super Lawyers® as a Rising Star in intellectual property litigation in 2019 and 2020.
Magistrate Lisa Smith Bedwell, Public Relations Co-Director (web/print)
Lisa Smith Bedwell was admitted to the Florida Bar in 2005 and has been a family law focused attorney since 2007. She is also a member of the Washington D.C. Bar, and has been trained as a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and in Collaborative Divorce Practice. Lisa has a Master’s Degree in English Literature and worked as a professional writer in communications and legislative affairs in Washington D.C. before moving back to Florida for a staff counsel position with the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. She next worked as an associate attorney at Rechel & Associates in Tampa, where she continued her work in family law advocacy, mediation, and appeals. After marrying and moving back to Orlando, Lisa opened her own firm in February 2015, simultaneously serving as “Of Counsel” with Stenstrom, McIntosh, Colbert & Whigham in Lake Mary. In June 2016, Lisa was appointed to serve as a Magistrate for the domestic relations and mental health divisions for the Ninth Judicial Circuit. She continues to be a diversely published writer and editor, with her work appearing in the Florida Bar Journal, Lawyer Magazine, FAWL Journal, Lexis/Nexis online, Development Magazine, and PT Magazine, among others. Lisa is a Bencher member of the Central Florida Family Law Inn of Court, a member of the Orange County Bar Association, past co-chair of the OCBA Health and Wellness Committee, and a member of both the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the Collaborative Family Law Group of Central Florida. She has been a member of CFAWL since 2015. Lisa previously served on the Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers Board as Chair of the Legislative Committee, and on the Mentorship Committee. In 2015 and 2018, she was a contributing author to FAWL Journal (and member of the Journal Committee) and in 2019 served FAWL on the Legislative Committee. Lisa is married, has two children, and loves cooking, yoga, music, reading, and scifi.
Kathleen Shea, FAWL Representative
Kathleen Shea works as an Associate Attorney at Rumberger, Kirk, and Caldwell, PA, focusing her practice in the area of casualty defense. She represents clients in motor vehicle accident liability claims involving personal injury, wrongful death, and property damage. Prior to entering private practice, Kathleen worked at the Public Defender’s Office for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Here, she gained extensive trial experience, having tried nearly 70 cases to verdict. In addition to serving on the board for CFAWL, Kathleen is an active member in the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar Association, is Vice-Chair of the Pace Center for Girls of Greater Orlando Young Professionals Board, and is a volunteer tutor at the Adult Literacy League. This year, Kathleen is also a fellow of the Florida Bar Leadership Academy.
Amanda Sampaio Bova, OCBA Representative
Amanda Bova has practiced law in Central Florida for over thirteen years and became Board Certified in Criminal Trial law in 2015. Amanda has a diversified legal career which includes both government service and private practice. She began her legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in Orange County where she handled thousands of cases, including misdemeanor, felony, and juvenile delinquent cases. She now serves as Senior Attorney at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate. Prior to joining the Department, Amanda ran her own law firm focusing on criminal and family law. Amanda earned her law degree from Florida State University College of Law, and her undergraduate degree from Eckerd College. Amanda is active in local bar associations and currently serves as the Orange County Bar Association Representative for CFAWL. She was formerly appointed to serve the Florida Bar as chairwoman of the Grievance Committee and served as President of the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
Ashley Wright, Young Lawyers Director
Ashley Wright serves as in-house staff counsel for Geico General Insurance Company where she practices insurance defense litigation. Before entering private practice, Ashley served as an Assistant State Attorney for the 15th Judicial Circuit where she developed extensive jury trial experience, trying over 50 criminal cases from jury selection to verdict. Ashley earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida, graduating Cum Laude in 2012. She later earned her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2015. Ashley is dedicated to her career and commitment to public service. In addition to her involvement as CFAWL’s Young Lawyers Director, Ashley continues to serve as an active leader in several organizations within the Central Florida community, including the Paul C. Perkins Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association, George C. Young American Inn of Court, and New Leaders Council. Ashley’s God-given purpose in life is to empower, inspire, and positively enrich the lives of girls and women in her community. She is the Founder of Becoming Black Female Barristers – a social community for aspiring law students to interface with licensed attorneys with the intent to foster personal and professional development. She is also the Founder of Worthy of the Crown Pageant Coaching, LLC – a full-service pageant coaching and consulting business. Ashley also serves as the Chair of the Pace Center for Girls Young Professionals Board in Orange County and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys reading, practicing yoga, spending time with family, and traveling.
Traci Deen, Director at Large
Traci Deen is Executive Director of Conservation Florida (CFL). A 6th generation Floridian born in Homestead, Traci is passionate about protecting Florida’s wild and working lands for the generations of Floridians to come. As Executive Director, Traci oversees statewide land conservation efforts. Her work with CFL includes fostering strategic partnerships, engaging the community and community leaders, and facilitating large-scale land transactions. Traci is an environmental lawyer and an active member in the legal community. She was appointed to the Florida Bar’s Governmental and Public Policy Advocacy Committee for 2017-2018. She’s also a member of the Environmental & Land Use Law, Public Interest Law, and City, County & Local Government Law sections, and a member of the Orange County Bar Association & Legal Aid Society. Traci is currently serving as Legislative Director for FAWL. In the community, Traci is an active member of the Junior League of Orlando and serves as the Chair of the Junior Leagues of Florida State Public Affairs committee. She also serves on the Board of Directors of AMIKids Orlando. Traci enjoys a good book, horseback riding, exploring trails with her dog Maggie Sue, and spending time with her husband Michael and daughter Molly.
Fay Pappas, Director at Large
Fay Pappas, an attorney with Bailey Fisher, PLLC who represents the injured in personal injury, medical malpractice, and wrongful death matters statewide, is a past chair of the Florida Justice Association’s Women’s Caucus. A Rising Star in Plaintiff-Personal Injury, according to Super Lawyer Magazine since 2017, and member of the “Top 40 Under 40” in Florida by the National Trial Lawyers Association since 2016, in 2019 she was named to NTLA’s “Top 100” trial lawyers nationwide. In addition to CFAWL, she is active in the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association. A native Floridian, Fay attended law school at the University of Florida Levin College of Law where she served on the board of the Florida Law Review. Her public service efforts while still in law school garnered her recognition from the Florida Bar as a Public Service Fellow for two consecutive years.
Hon. Gisela Laurent, Judicial Liaison
The Honorable Gisela T. Laurent was elected to serve as Orange County’s first Female Hispanic County Court Judge in 2016. She presided in the County Criminal Division from January 2017 until December 2018. She currently serves in the County Civil Division. Prior to Judge Laurent’s service on the judiciary, she served the community as a bi-lingual attorney who advocated on behalf of Florida’s diverse populations, ensuring they had a clear understanding of the justice system and the impact of their cases. Judge Laurent earned her business and law degrees from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business and the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Judge Laurent moved with her parents to Orange County at age three. She attended Orange County Public Schools from elementary to high school. Judge Laurent gained her hard-work ethic from her parents, who had immigrated from the Dominican Republic more than three decades ago. They owned and operated a dry-cleaning company and an auto-body business for 35 years. In 2002, Judge Laurent was competitively selected to serve as a Law Clerk for United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, where she assisted the United States in the post-conviction relief in the appellate division. Upon graduation from law school in 2003, Judge Laurent accepted a position with the Ninth Judicial Circuit Public Defender’s Office, where she represented the poor and indigent community in all stages of criminal defense. Judge Laurent believes that civility, integrity and professionalism are hallmarks of justice for all. She believes attorneys and judges have mutual obligations to one another to enhance and preserve the dignity and integrity of our courtrooms. Judge Laurent has enjoyed her membership with CFAWL since 2004. She credits the organization for not only the learning and growth opportunities it has given her throughout the years, but the strong bonds with other women lawyers who have motivated, empowered, and supported her in journey of life.
Jamie Billotte Moses, Immediate Past President
Jamie Billotte Moses is Senior Counsel with Holland & Knight LLP and is a Board Certified Appellate Specialist. Jamie is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and has been recognized as one of Florida’s Legal Elite and Orlando’s Top Lawyers. Jamie practices in both state and federal trial courts as well as state and federal appellate courts. She is very active in The Florida Bar, having served as President of the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar, on the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar, as Chair of the Appellate Court Rules Committee, and as past Chair of the Statewide Advertising Grievance Committee. Jamie is the Immediate Past Chair of the Appellate Board Certification Committee. She is a Past President of the Orange County Bar Association, a past President of the OCBA Legal Aid Society, and was the Founding Chair of the OCBA Appellate Practice Committee. In June of 2015, Jamie received The Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section’s Pro Bono Award. Jamie is a proud graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles and the University of Notre Dame Law School. Jamie and her husband compete in triathlons and she completed her first Ironman in 2017. She has two adult children.