MEET THE STAFF

Our experienced, award-winning team has served more than 15,000 immigrant clients in North Carolina. No matter what challenge you’re facing, we are here to help.


Attorneys


Richard “Bert” Diener, Attorney
If, as some people seem to think, our profession is a constant battle, Bert comes to the fray particularly well-prepared. Serving four years in the United States Marine Corps, Bert’s travels included postings in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Okinawa, Japan; and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. While earning his law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was selected to be a member of the UNC National Trial Team. Both he and fellow attorney Russell Johnson were trial team partners in law school and over a decade later, have joined to fight for the under-served. Bert has proven himself willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in his efforts to help others. And when discussing his work, he often quotes the Texas attorney Joe Jamail, “if you are not emotionally involved, your client is not getting your best effort.”


Amanda Gladin-Kramer, Attorney
Amanda grew up on a small farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina. She has lived in Boston, London, Key West, and Cali, Colombia, but North Carolina is home. After attending Tufts University and the University College of London for her undergraduate degree in literature, graduating Magna Cum Laude, Amanda worked as a freelance writer and editor. She also worked in communications and education policy at a local nonprofit, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina. In law school, Amanda was a staff writer for the Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation and a member of the Julius Chambers Civil Rights moot court team, and worked passionately for workers’ and prisoners’ rights as part of the Civil Legal Assistance Clinic. Amanda cares deeply about education and equity. In 2011 she bicycled 500 miles in five days across North Carolina to raise funds for education. Amanda has litigated dozens of cases in workers’ compensation, custody and divorce, personal injury, and other matters. She brings a fighting spirit to her practice, seeking justice for those injured in accidents. Amanda speaks Spanish and loves to travel with her husband, Alejandro.


Elaine Hartman, Attorney

Originally from Ohio, Elaine has lived in NC for more than a decade. While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill she was inspired by an acquaintance’s immigration story and decided to attend Carolina Law. She worked as a Comments Editor on the North Carolina Law Review and participated in the Immigration Clinic. When not working at an immigration attorney at Diener Law, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and shopping at thrift stores.


Russell Johnson, Attorney

Russell Johnson joined Diener Law in 2015 after spending more than a decade as one of the principal litigators at Howard, Stallings, From & Hutson, where his practice was focused on serious injury cases and complex commercial litigation. Russell has successfully handled catastrophic injury and death cases in areas such as car wrecks, medical malpractice, products liability, and dram shop liability. In commercial cases, Russell has obtained judgments in excess of a million dollars and has successfully defended multi-million dollar claims. For each of the past three years, Russell was selected by his peers to Super Lawyers Magazine’s Rising Star List (awarded to less than 2.5% of eligible attorneys.)
In 2004, Russell graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Law, where he was Executive Editor of the First Amendment Law Review and a selected member of the Broun National Trial Team, along with firm founder, Bert Diener. During law school Russell also won a Gressman-Pollit Award for Appellate Advocacy, a Best Attorney Award at UNC’s 1L Mock Trial Competition, and authored the article “One Nation Under God: A Poorly Chosen Battle in the War Over Separation of Church and State.” Russell’s undergraduate degree is from West Virginia University where he graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honors fraternities, as well as the Golden Key National Honor Society.


Andrew Neal, Attorney
Andrew is native of Raleigh, North Carolina who joined Diener law in October of 2013. He primarily practices in the area of Criminal and Traffic Law, Family Law, and Real Estate. Andrew joined the Diener Law team following several years as a solo-practitioner in Durham and Wake Counties. Andrew is a 2007 graduate of Wake Forest University where he studied Political Science and Religion. Andrew attended North Carolina Central School of Law and graduated in 2010 Magna Cum Laude. Throughout law school Andrew interned with Durham County District Attorney’s Office, the NCCU School of law Criminal litigation clinic, and numerous solo practitioners throughout Wake County. Andrew continued to pursue his passion for the courtroom after law school representing clients in a variety of litigation settings. Currently, Andrew spends the majority of his time navigating the Superior and District courtrooms of Eastern North Carolina. In his spare time Andrew enjoys spending time with his wife Kristi, dogs Cecil and Addy, along with the newest addition to his family, his daughter Ellie. When not with his family Andrew enjoys playing golf whenever possible.


Legal Professionals

 


Margaret McLaurin, NC Certified Paralegal
Margaret began working with Diener Law in February 2015 as an addition to the worker’s compensation team. She has a degree from Louisburg College and received her paralegal certification from the N.C. State Bar in April of 2006. After years of experience in personal injury, Margaret tried something new and began working in worker’s compensation in 2002. Her compassion is helpful in working with clients so they receive everything in which they are entitled. Raised in Clayton, North Carolina, Margaret is the proud mother of two daughters, Bethany and Candace, and the very proud grandmother of Brantley. On weekends, she enjoys cooking, working in the yard and taking on new DIY projects.


Scott Brown, Litigation Coordinator
As the litigation coordinator Scott manages the firm’s civil and domestic caseload and deadlines, and assists with the firm’s personal injury and worker’s compensation cases. A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Scott received an A.B. cum laude in Comparative Literature from Harvard College and a J.D. from UNC Law in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Scott then practiced law for a number of years in Atlanta, working as Law Clerk to two U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judges, then as Director of Court Services at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, and later as Assistant Regional Counsel for the Social Security Administration. Scott joined Diener Law in November 2009. Scott has worked extensively with a non-profit group that assists homeless veterans and serves on the Advisory Board of Directors for the NC FIELD, Inc., a local non-profit group that promotes “justice and equality by increasing access to opportunities for farm-working communities in North Carolina.” In his free time, Scott enjoys reading, cooking, doing crossword puzzles and traveling.


Hector R. Cora Jr., Case Manager

Hector began his association with Diener Law as a legal assistant in 2010. Today, Hector is a felony and DMV Fraud case manager and assists with the scheduling of the firm’s numerous criminal cases in the surrounding counties. He always has a smile for clients and co-workers alike. Although born in Brooklyn, NY, Hector lived in Puerto Rico for ten years. He attended Mount Olive College and is a baseball coach for the Wayne County Arsenal travel team on which his sons play. He is a loving husband to his beautiful wife and the proud father of three children, Isaac, Isaiah and Sara Elyse. On the weekend, you may find Hector playing softball, swinging a club on the golf course or fishing nearby.


Raul Fuentes, Case Manager
Raul was born in Mexico but was raised in Seven Springs, NC. He has worked at Diener Law since the spring of 2013, helping clients in worker’s compensation and personal injury. Being fluent in English and Spanish, Raul thrives on working with clients to find the most efficient way to get the help they need. He is a volunteer firefighter and likes attending church, working out and spending time with family. His favorite quote is by Saint Francis of Assisi, “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”


Vicente Marin-Luna, Case Manager
Vicente began working for Diener Law in June of 2011 as a legal assistant. Fluent in Spanish and English, Vicente brings a special mix of compassion and dedication to his work with the firm’s sales/marketing/billing department, and his work ethic is inspiring. Vicente has a gift for identifying with clients and their problems and finding creative ways to help them. He is Mexican-American and comes from a big family with huge values. Vicente has a Business Administration Degree and also a Management Applications & Principles Certificate. Before joining the firm, Vicente was employed by a mentoring company for three years, primarily working with Hispanic youth. Vicente works hard to achieve all his goals at work and in his personal life because he does not like giving up!


Yasmin Peralta, Case Manager
Yasmin has been a legal assistant with Diener Law since October of 2014. Originally from Durango, Mexico, she has been in North Carolina since the age of six. She likes helping people and understands that working with people in need is a learning experience and she is eager to assist and grow in her profession. Yasmin is the mother to a little boy, Aaron.


Estela Ruiz, Case Manager
Estela started working for Diener Law in October 2011. Fluent in Spanish and English, Estela translates in court and assists with answering telephone calls. Having lived in the United States for 27 years, Estela says she could not ask for a better place to live. She is currently enrolled at Pitt Community College, where she will soon graduate with a degree in Human Services. Estela is the proud mother of two wonderful boys, Carmelo and Emilio. She is also part of a big family consisting of her mother and father, four sisters and two brothers, all of whom she loves very much. Estela and her family like spending time outside, and in the summer, they enjoy visiting beaches and parks, fishing, and cooking out. Estela loves helping people and looks forward to growing with the firm.


Yadira Alverez Moisen, Legal Professional
Yadira, who is from Mexico City, is a recipient of DACA and now legally resides in North Carolina. Formerly a nail technician, she is a certified notary and has found a new career path as a legal professional at Diener Law Abogados. Outside of work, she enjoys spending times with her family, especially her nieces and nephews. Her favorite quote is, “If you can dream it you can do it!”


Administrative Staff

 


Michelle Johnson, Marketing Coordinator

Living in North Carolina for more than 14 years doesn’t keep Michelle from forgetting her roots in a small town in West Virginia. Helping people is always a priority whether it’s volunteering at UNC Children’s Hospital, working at church or assisting at her kids’ schools. Michelle graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in Journalism and General Business and helps with human resources needs at Diener Law since joining the firm in the spring of 2015. Michelle also helps with marketing and documenting processes for the firm. She enjoys event planning, shopping and decorating in her spare time.


Stephanie Diener, Accounting Manager
Stephanie, who is Bert Diener’s wife, has been with Diener law since its inception. Presently, she serves as the firm’s accounting manager. In this capacity, she manages the trust account and the firm’s billing. Stephanie received a Bachelors of Science, summa cum laude, in Elementary Education from East Carolina University. She taught second grade for several years before starting to work for the firm. Stephanie and Bert have three beautiful children, Sarah Hope, Grace, and Alex. Stephanie enjoys cooking, playing tennis and exercising.


Rusty Speedy, Administrative