Our Staff

Jose Perez Your Lawyer

Jose Perez, Esq. (B.A, J.D.)



Jose is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey, and Venezuela. Jose began his career as an attorney in Venezuela. Jose’s outstanding Venezuelan practice was recognized several times by the Miranda State Bar Association, which awarded him with honors in three different years.

In 2002, Jose decided to come to the United States to further develop himself academically and professionally. In 2004, Jose was admitted to Syracuse University College of Law, where he graduated cum laude. During law school, Jose clerked for a US District Court in Florida.

Jose joined the Smith Sovik law firm in 2007. Since joining the firm, Jose was involved in all areas of litigation. Jose has been and is a member of the Latin American Law Student Association; Hispanic National Bar Association; Black Law Student Association; DRI; American Bar Association; New Jersey State Bar; New York State Bar; Law Students in Action Project-Spanish Translation and Interpretation Assistance Team; Onondaga County Bar Association; AILA, among others.

In 2012, Jose decided to open his new and independent law firm. After opening the Law Offices of Jose Perez, Jose has been involved in all areas of litigation, including construction, labor and employment, premises liability, motor vehicle accidents, workers’ compensation, SSI/SSD, and immigration. Jose has been a speaker/panelist at numerous events dealing with his legal practice, Workers’ Compensation, and immigration issues. Jose also has a “Know-Your-Rights” column in the CNY Latino newspaper.

Jose has received numerous awards and recognitions in New York State:

  • 2009 Latino Leadership Award;
  • 2010 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Star in New York State;
  • 2011 HNBA Presidential Pro Bono Recognition Award;
  • 2011 40 Under 40 of Central New York;
  • 2011 Service Award in Recognition of Outstanding Pro Bono Service;
  • 2012 New York State Bar Association Empire State Counsel;
  • 2013 Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Star;
  • 2013 Keynote Speaker of the Opening Ceremony of the Onondaga County Hispanic Heritage Month;
  • 2014, 2015 and 2016 Super Lawyers Upstate New York Rising Star;
  • 2016 Keynote Speaker of the Opening Ceremony of the Syracuse University College of Law Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
  • 2017 Martindale Hubbell. Very High Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards.
  • 2017 Super Lawyers. Rising Stars.
  • 2017 The American Registry. Top Ten American Professionals.
  • 2017 Top Attorneys of Upstate New York. Rising Stars 2017.
  • 2018 Martindale Hubbell. Very High Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards.
  • 2018 Top Attorneys of Upstate New York. Rising Stars 2018.
  • 2018 Tthe National Advocates. Top 40 Under 40.
  • 2018 Worldwide Super Lawyers. SSI/SSD Law Firm of the Year.
  • 2019 American Institute of Legal Counsel. 10 Best Immigration Attorneys. New York.
  • 2019 Martindale Hubbell. 5 Anniversary 2014-2019. Rated BV Distinguished for 5 years. Very High Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards.
  • 2019 Martindale Hubbell. Very High Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards.
  • 2019 Acquisition International. 2019 Leading Adviser Awards. Leading Workers’ Compensation Lawyer of the Year, New York.; among others.
  • 2019 Sonia Sotomayor Award by the Syracuse University College of Law and the Latin American Law Students Association.
  • 2020 Martindale Hubbell Award. Very High Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards.
  • 2020 Global Excellence Awards – Most Influential Immigration Lawyer 2020 – New York. AI Acquisition International.

Jose has dedicated countless hours to community service. Jose has been representing clients successfully before the immigration courts and the USCIS on a pro-bono basis. The Fifth Judicial District ProBono Action Now Program, a probono program that was funded by the New York State Unified Court System, Catholic Charities of Tioga/Tompkins Counties, and The Worker’s Rights Group, a Syracuse task force, which advocates for immigrants in Central New York, have referred ProBono cases to Jose for representation in several fields.

Jose is the Vice-President of the Board of Directors of Nosotros Radio Inc. Nosotros’ mission is to provide quality Spanish & English language radio entertainment combined with on-air education for the encouragement and strengthening of the Latino community, and the promotion of intercultural sharing among Central New York’s diverse communities. Jose is also the Vice President of the League of United Latin American Citizens-(LULAC), Syracuse-NY-chapter, a Board Advisor of Syracuse University La Casita, and an Ad-hoc member of the Civil Rights Committee of Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse. Jose has appeared nationally on Telemundo and Univision.

Rebecca Curtiss

Rebecca Curtiss Esq. (MLIS, JD, LLM)

Associate (Pending Bar admission in NY)

UBE, February 2019

Rebecca graduated 15th in her class from Ohio Northern University’s Claude Pettit College of Law in May of 2018 with both a JD and an LLM. She earned JD Certificates in both International Law and Public Law & Policy; her LLM is in Democratic Governance and Rule of Law. During law school Rebecca served as President and Vice-President of LAMBDA, and was a member of BLSA and PAD. Rebecca was the Global Research Fellow for Tetra Tech’s Justice Sector Assistance Project in Ramallah, Palestine (Occupied West Bank) in the summer of 2016, and interned at CLARD, the Center for Legal Aid and Regional Development in Pristina, Kosovo in the summer of 2017. While in law school she began studying both Arabic and Russian. After law school, she worked briefly in the federal litigation department of Goldberg and Associates, an immigration law firm in Bronx, NY.

Rebecca earned her Master of Science in Library and Information Science in 2008 from Florida State University. She worked as an academic librarian before her interests in government policy and politics led her to attend law school. She earned her BA in English and American Literature in 2004 from the University of South Florida.

Rebecca grew up in a large Italian-American family in Syracuse, NY and is happy to be back in her home state. She’s excited to have joined the Law Offices of Jose Perez in Buffalo, NY, and looks forward to making a real difference in the lives of our clients.

Cristina Mercader Perez

Cristina Mercader Perez

Associate (Pending admission in NY)

Bachelors of Laws in Spain,
LL.M. of Spanish Laws
LL.M. candidate for American Laws
MBA of International Business

Cristina Mercader graduated from Law School in Spain in 2018, while also obtaining a major in Private and Business Law. She also attended one year of study at Universitet Lubelski Jana Pawla II, Poland 2016, specializing in advanced studies of American Law.

After graduation, Cristina diversified her education by completing a Master’s degree in Strategic Business and Management in Madrid, Spain. Simultaneously, she acquired professional experience in eviction cases working with the legal back-office team for major Spanish banks.

In 2019, she enrolled in a Spanish LL.M. studies to practice Law in the Spanish Courts. As part of its completion, she opted for a full time internship with the Montalvo Abogados Law Firm, where she collaborated in civil cases and procedures.

She recently relocated to Rochester, New York. She has been volunteering with the Rochester Volunteer Legal Service Project (VLSP). Her fluency in Spanish, Catalan, English and French has served to overcome language barriers arising with non-native English Speakers clients seeking legal aid.

Cristina is looking forward to sitting for the New York State Bar Exam upon the completion of her LLM at the University of Buffalo Law School and becoming an authorized attorney to practice law in the United Estates in order to relentlessly serve people always to the best of her abilities.

Languages: Spanish, Catalan, French & English.

Dicsia Dorta

Dicsia Dorta

Legal Assistant

Tel. (315) 422-5673

Dicsia earned her law degree from the University of Habana Law School in Cuba, her native country. She practiced law in Cuba for 8 years working as a legal advisor of institutions of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment.

She immigrated to the United States in 2007 and established in the Syracuse, New York area since then.

She held different jobs from 2007 to 2014. In the summer of 2014, Dicsia was given the opportunity to work as an intern in the New York State Human Rights Division where she says she “fell in love with the legal investigation process” and help the Human Rights Specialists to interpret for Spanish speaking complainants.

Dicsia served as a volunteer for the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County. She obtained certifications as a legal and medical interpreter in 2015.

In 2016 Dicsia completed her certificate program as a legal assistant at Bryant & Stratton College, where she also completed a notary public course.

In November of 2016, Dicsia was inducted to the ABG Honor Society in Bryant & Stratton College and graduated with honors on April 2017.

Dicsia is our legal assistant since 2015.

Languages: Spanish & English.

Jenniferd James

Jenniferd James


Jenniferd James was born and raised in Cuba and moved to Rochester, New York in January 2004. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in 2013. After graduating she attended Shear Ego International School and obtained a Degree in Esthetics. Jenniferd started working as a Sales Associate for a major retail store until was presented the opportunity to work in a law firm office environment.

Her previous experience as a bilingual sales associative and customer service representative prepared her for the day to day tasks of a busy and exciting office environment.

Jenniferd joined the firm in June 2017 as a Bilingual Office Assistant in the Rochester’s Office to provide support handling client intake and initial call management. She is very excited about being a part of this team.

Languages: Spanish & English.

Eddy Luce - IT Support

Eddy A. Luce

IT and Administrative Assistant

She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Advertising and Marketing. She also has a Certificate in Web Technology from Onondaga Community College.

During the past ten years, she has had a web design and marketing company. She has worked in areas such as business analytics, marketing, public relations, communications, advertising, graphic design, web design and digital marketing.

Eddy has collaborated with YWCA of Onondaga County, Nosotros Radio Inc., Syracuse Latino Festival and the Hispanic Heritage Month Committee. She has also participated in the program Human Library organized by the Onondaga County Public Library.

Languages: Spanish & English.

Celimar J. Fuentes

Celimar J. Fuentes

Secretary/Legal Assistant

Tel. (315) 422-5673

Celimar J. Fuentes-Boria has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Office Administration from the University of Puerto Rico, Carolina Campus which she obtained in 2015. In order to further develop herself academically, in 2019, she pursued a Certificate in Administration, Human Resources and Labor Relations from the Institute of High Education in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

She joins the Law Offices of Jose Perez PC after having completed 4 years of experience as Human Resources Coordinator in the field of Airport, Security and Food Production. Her expertise includes Staffing, Talent Management, Customer Service, Problem Solving and Strategic Thinking.

Languages: Spanish & English.

Daria Ivasiuk

Daria Ivasiuk

Intern (Pending Bar admission in NY)

Daria Ivasiuk is a lawyer from Ukraine with both an LLB and an LLM which she obtained while attending Law School. Daria also took a course in International and European law at the University of Zurich.

Thereafter she moved to the United States to further develop her academic success. In 2019, she graduated from Syracuse University College of Law with an LLM.

During her education in Ukraine she had several internships in District Courts holding the position of Chief Judge’s assistant. These positions gave her the opportunity to learn the features of legal proceedings from within where justice is served.

In USA, Daria worked with the Immigration Law Project which provided her with a tremendous exposure while working with other lawyers and acquired practical skills. Her knowledge of Russian and Ukrainian languages helped in providing legal assistance to the community.

Working directly with clients in the legal system has given her opportunities to see how the law affects real people and she can apply her skills to help those people in need.

Now Daria is preparing to pass the NYS BAR Exam in order to practice law in the United States.

Languages: English & Ukrainian.

Sofia Rossi

Sofia Rossi


Sofia Rossi is currently studying Citizenship and Civic Engagement & Policy Studies with a minor in Business and is a Reneé Crown Honors student at Syracuse University. Specializing in Health, Education, and Human Services in the Maxwell School, Sofia plans on translating her studies to a J.D. in public interest law to serve the Latinx community- specifically in the education sector.

Holding a diverse array of leadership positions both on and off-campus, Sofia currently serves on Cabinet for SU’s student government Student Association and on the Executive Board for SU’s both PanHellenic Executive Council and Dean’s Team. Sofia has dedicated her time as a student to serve the greater Syracuse community by working as a court-appointed volunteer at the Vera House where she processes orders of protection and as a programming intern at the Boys and Girls Club of Central Village.

While Sofia is a New York native, she hopes to one day settle in Washington D.C. and take her Brazilian-American background and legal experience to federal politics.

Simon A. Chona

Simon A. Chona


J.D. Candidate 2022
SU College of Law
Secretary of the Latin American Law Student Association

Simon is a Venezuelan American student at Syracuse University College of Law. During his first year at the College of Law he served as the 1L Representative for the Latin American Law Student Association.

A native of Maryland, Simon earned a BA in History from Michigan State University in 2017. After graduating from Michigan State, he interned at the Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center where he assisted attorneys providing legal services to low income residents of Detroit. Prior to attending law school, he worked as a bilingual GED instructor at Identity Inc., a non-profit organization in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

He wants to become a lawyer as he wants to use his legal expertise to bridge the gap between the Hispanic Community and others.

Alexandre Guimaraes Carvalho

Alexandre Guimaraes Carvalho


Alexandre is a lawyer admitted in Brazil with experience in insurance law, administrative law, and business law. He has experience working for the Brazilian government in the Accountability office, Insurance Regulator, and the General Attorney’s Office.

He also worked in private civil practice for the Sandoval Assef’s law office representing both individuals and business.

Alexandre came to US for a LL.M. at Syracuse University and during this time he was involved in Immigration Law doing volunteer work for non-profit organizations such as CYO, Catholic Charities and Christian Immigration assisting refugees and asylum seekers. He also worked with wage and hour employment cases and as volunteer for NYLAG during the Coronavirus pandemic assisting people with the unemployment and pandemic benefits and drafting demand letters for workers.

Languages: English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Aimee Shukuru

Aimee Shukuru


Aimee Shukuru is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is studying International Relations and Political Science at Syracuse University.

She hopes her degree in such subjects will enable her to work with diverse individuals from all walks of life.

After her undergraduate career, she wants to become a lawyer and help her community with her legal skills. She believes that attending law school with a focus on international law, immigration and human rights law will perfectly fit with her vision of life and where she see herself in the future.

Languages: English, Swahili & Kinyarwanda.

Ganga Kharka

Ganga Kharka


Ganga Kharka was born and raised in a refugee camp located in Eastern Nepal. Ganga and her family immigrated to Syracuse seeking a better, prosperous and free life. Ganga is currently attending Syracuse University and is majoring in International Relations and Political Science.

As a stateless refugee, Ganga grew up in an environment where she experienced injustice and discrimination. She believes in cooperating with diverse individuals to build a better society and has always been passionate about bringing positive changes around the world. She has decided to pursue a career in the legal world and become an immigration lawyer.

Ganga worked at the Syracuse University College of Law’s registrar’s office for a year and took law classes during her Sophomore year. She plans on taking more law courses in the future. Additionally, during the summer of 2019, Ganga had the opportunity to intern at the Volunteer Lawyer’s project of Onondaga County. Throughout that internship, Ganga was able to interact with refugees/immigrants from different ethnic backgrounds who survived
unimaginable turmoil. While she was able to empathize with them and help them, it kindled her desire to continue to help others like them in the future.

To Ganga, the law is very personal. The law is rational, allowing us to bring order to an occasionally chaotic world. It gives voices to the voiceless and strives to eradicate injustice in society.

Languages: English, Nepali & Hindi.