Julia Cassels, Owner and Principal Attorney
Drake University, School of Law, Juris Doctor, Highest Honors, Top 10% of Graduating Class, 2001
Augustana College, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology / Special Education, Valedictorian, 4.0 GPA, 1998
University of Wisconsin at Madison, 4.0 GPA, 1996
Board of Governors, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 2017-2019
Amicus Committee, Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 2016-Present
Admitted to Practice-United States District Court, 2014 – Present
Admitted to Practice-Ninth Circuit Court Of Appeals, 2014 – Present
Owner/Attorney Law Office of Julia Cassels, 2005 – Present
Attorney, Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office, 2002 – 2005
Law Clerk, United States District Court, Southern District of Iowa, Presiding Judge Ronald Longstaff and the Habeas Unit, 2001 – 2001
CASA Volunteer, Court Appointed Special Advocates, 1998 – 2001
Finalist Spring Essay Contest, The Sartorialist, 2013
Top Young Attorneys to Watch, Attorney at Law Magazine, 2006
Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, CASA, 2001
Graduated in Top 10% of Class, Drake University Law School, 2001
Dwight D. Opperman Scholarship, 1998-2001
Valedictorian, Graduated with Highest Honors, Augustana College, 1998
Trial Strategies for Winning Unwinnable Cases, 2013
Evidentiary Issues, 2011
State Bar of Arizona, May 2002-Present
American Bar Association, 2003-Present
Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 2005 to Present
American Civil Liberties Union, 2016 to Present
Greater San Diego Orchestra, January 2015 to May 2016
Ms. Cassels studied psychology and special education as an undergraduate with the intention of becoming a child clinical psychologist. Everything changed in her final semester at Augustana College when a grant was awarded by the Kellogg Foundation regarding juvenile justice issues. After working on a particularly compelling murder case, where the defendant was just fourteen years old, she abandoned her Ph.D. applications and applied to law school.
During law school, Ms. Cassels had the opportunity to do numerous clinical programs, including work in Social Security Disability benefit appeals, child welfare, and indigent criminal defense. She graduated at the top of her class and was the recipient of the prestigious Dwight D. Opperman Scholarship.
Ms. Cassels clerked for the Honorable Ronald Longstaff, presiding judge of the federal court in the Southern District of Iowa. She also worked in the habeas unit.
Ms. Cassels relocated to Arizona and began working at the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. Her responsibilities included all areas of indigent defense and provided a breadth of training and experience that she recalls very fondly.
Ms. Cassels opened her own firm in 2005. Her focus was major felony criminal defense. She has completed in excess of 75 felony jury trials. Notable cases include a Not Guilty verdict on a drive-by shooting, a directed verdict on a sale of marijuana in excess of 70 lbs., and a Not Guilty verdict on a shooting between neighbors where she successfully impeached the victim and her motives. She has also completed in excess of 25 misdemeanor trials. She regularly provides training and mentoring for young lawyers.
Ms. Cassels had the opportunity to move into the field of immigration when many of her criminal clients also had immigration concerns. She authored and argued the brief that led to the change of the state of the law regarding bondability for DACA clients. She also has a 100% success rate in removal hearings.
Ms. Cassels is also an accomplished musician and a member of the Greater San Diego Orchestra.
She has travelled extensively. She cooked professionally for a time, is a certified personal trainer, and an advocate for rescue animals.
Karina Ordonez, Of Counsel
Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Juris Doctorate
Naval Postgraduate School, Master of Arts in Security Studies, Homeland Security, and Defense
Law Office of Karina Ordonez, PLLC
Rodriguez Law Office, PLLC and Knowles Law Firm, PLC, Headed immigration section at both Firms as well as practiced criminal law.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ICE, Office of Chief Counsel,
Legal Extern.U.S. Department of Justice, EOIR Immigration Court, Legal Extern
State of Arizona
US District Court for Arizona
U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Aside from Immigration Law, Ms. Ordóñez gained valuable experience in criminal law through her externship with the Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joseph B. Heilman, where she provided extensive legal research and writing for a second degree murder case and various civil matters. Since practicing, Ms. Ordóñez has represented clients in both State and Federal courts, including the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Ms. Ordóñez also participated in the Arizona State University, Post-Relief Conviction Clinic and the Arizona Justice Project where she worked on various DNA cases to exonerate wrongfully convicted defendants. Prior to Ms. Ordóñez legal career she was the Assistant Director for Strategic Policy for the Arizona Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity, she was the primary advisor to the deputy director in matters pertaining to national policy, lead the 2006 and 2007 State Homeland Security Federal Grant Applications receiving 20 million dollars and 51 million dollars respectively, ensured compliance with both state and federal laws, and served as the state agency liaison by building, managing, and reporting the yearly Homeland Security budget for 25 state agencies.
She also provided crisis communications by coordinated and lead logistics for press conferences, news releases, and media availability. Special projects in her portfolio include developing the State Homeland Security Strategy and the State Infrastructure Protection Plan. Her previous responsibilities as Southwest Border Specialist (2003-2005) included serving on various bi-national committees and implementing agreements between Arizona and Sonora, Mexico which focused on border security and first responder preparedness. She developed and implemented official procedures for bi-national coordinated efforts during a disaster (prevention, protection, response, and recovery).
Ms. Ordóñez worked for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and provided state lobbying efforts regarding predatory lending, contingency fees, budget and non-participating tobacco manufacturers’ sales tax with 100% success rate. At the Arizona State Supreme Court, Administrative Office of the Courts, Ms. Ordóñez externed and provided lobbying efforts for the Interstate Compact, Judge Pro-Temp, and abolished adoption fees. She is bilingual in both Spanish and English. Ms. Ordóñez has traveled extensively throughout the world.