Our Attorneys are Diverse and Passionate
Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez is composed of a unique make-up of attorneys with extensive legal experience, which enables the firm to provide clients with expert legal guidance quickly, economically and efficiently. All of our attorneys are dedicated to making meaningful differences in their communities, with many serving as activists for various ethnic, legal and community groups.
As specialists in several legal practice areas, including Business, Education and Public Law, we attract the best and brightest lawyers throughout the nation to each of our West Coast and Southwest city offices.
Bonifacio Bonny Garciamanaging partner and founder
Bonifacio Bonny Garcia is the managing partner and a founder of Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez. Although he also heads the firm’s Glendale office, Garcia has extensive experience representing school districts, community college districts, special districts, cities and other governmental entities throughout the state of California.
Mary T. Hernándezequity partner and founder
Mary T. Hernández is a founding partner of Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP and heads the San Francisco Bay Area office. Hernandez serves as legal counsel to school, county and community college districts as well as nonprofit organizations and charter schools throughout California.
Nitasha Kaur Sawhneyequity partner
Nitasha Kaur Sawhney practices in the firm’s Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area offices in California, advising clients on all aspects of labor and employment matters. Sawhney specializes in labor negotiations, contract grievances, hiring and discipline matters, leaves of absences and health, and retiree benefit matters. Sawhney also frequently advises clients on charter school and nonprofit matters as well as general governance, strategic planning and policy implementation. Sawhney serves as legal counsel to public school districts, community college districts, private universities and charter schools throughout the state.
Nadia P. Bermudezpartner
Nadia P. Bermudez is a partner of Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP and practices in the San Diego office. Bermudez’s practice focuses on employment litigation, counseling and general business litigation. Her approach to disputes involves a mix of zealous advocacy, creativity and practical business solutions for companies.
Erika Anderson is an associate in the San Diego office of Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP, practicing primarily in the areas of education law, litigation, and labor and employment. Anderson has experience in private business litigation matters involving international contract law and foreign jurisdiction. Anderson has also worked closely with numerous school districts across the state to help mitigate ongoing cuts in state funding, including contract negotiations with labor unions, engaging in impasse proceedings and fact finding, and advising school districts on matters of employment law and grievance processing.
Aerobel Banuelos is a partner in the San Diego office of Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP. Her practice covers most aspects of transactional work relating to public agency and special district representation, including water law issues, public works and purchasing issues, and real property issues. Banuelos frequently represents the Oxnard School District, Garvey School District and other firm clients in finance and transactional matters.
Susan Graham Barnesemeritus
Eran Bermudez is an attorney in the San Diego office and also serves Garcia, Hernandez, Sawhney & Bermudez’s clients in the Imperial Valley. She practices general education law, public agency law and labor and employment law, with a focus on advising various school districts and other public agencies on personnel administration, labor and management, and grievance and arbitration procedures.
Albert Erkelof counsel
Albert Erkel is an attorney in Garcia, Hernandez, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP’s San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego offices. His primary area of practice is the litigation of all types of complex business construction and employment disputes. He has significant experience in handling arbitrations, mediations and trials in both federal and state courts.
Rodrigo E. Guevara is an associate in the litigation, labor and employment, and corporate law practice groups of Garcia, Hernandez, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP in the San Diego office. He focuses his practice on employment litigation, complex business litigation, and corporate transactional matters and represents companies of all sizes, from Fortune 200 to start-up companies, in a variety of industries, including health care, retail and food service.
Lawrence S. Joeattorney
Lawrence S. Joe is an associate in Garcia, Hernandez, Sawhney & Bermudez, LLP’s Los Angeles office and a graduate of UCLA’s School of Law and the School of Public Affairs. He works in the firm’s Education and Public Law practice groups.
James Meeker is an associate in Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez’s San Francisco Bay Area office. His practice focuses on education law, particularly in the area of special education, as well as labor and employment. Meeker has experience handling special education due process hearings, as well as special education appeals in state and federal courts. As part of the firm's labor and employment team, he has assisted senior counsel in handling grievances and arbitrations under collective bargaining agreements, and wage and hour class-action litigation and appeals.
Benjamin Niebergof counsel
Benjamin Nieberg is an attorney in the firm's San Diego office and specializes in education law, particularly in the area of special education. He has served as general counsel for school districts and has represented other governmental entities in personnel and student issues, contracts, labor negotiations, and governance issues.
Chaka Okadigbo is a Partner in Garcia, Hernandez, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP’s Los Angeles office. He has extensive litigation experience, which encompasses representation at the superior court and appellate levels. The breadth of his experience includes copyright, employment and general business litigation. On behalf of the firm’s clients, Mr. Okadigbo prevailed in the California Court of Appeal in a published decision establishing that the opt-out procedures of California class actions are inapplicable to federal collective action claims brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act in California courts (Haro v. City of Rosemead (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1067.)
Leah M. Smith is an associate in Garcia, Hernández, Sawhney & Bermudez LLP’s San Francisco Bay Area office and a cum laude graduate of William & Mary School of Law. She is a member of the Firm’s education and public law groups.