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June 2014 - Meet the Board
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Meet the Board


Sarah de Diego 
Tell us about your background. My practice includes internet and technology law mainly for companies involved in online advertising and when I opened my own firm five years ago the support of my fellow WLALA members was invaluable.  Besides having served on the WLALA Board in various roles for the past 10 years I am currently Chair of the CA State Bar's Cyberspace Law Committee and sit on a variety of other boards. I travel frequently to visit clients around the country, as well as abroad, and to speak at tech conferences. 
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved?  As Co-Chair of the Scholarship Committee I assist in collecting scholarship applications, interviewing law students and recommending candidates to receive the WLALA Foundation Tuition Scholarship.  It would be great to have more members participate in our committee by helping to interview the students and select the candidates.  In general I would like to see members attend more events and become actively involved with WLALA as it is a great place to connect with other amazing lawyers, find mentors or be a mentor, and have fun!

What are your passions and interests?

My favorite thing to do is scuba diving (preferably somewhere tropical) with my husband Dave. When I'm not working I can usually be found paddle boarding down in the Marina or reading a book at the beach. I'm also actively involved with Hope Church Santa Monica.  Funny fact about me is I have a giant old turtle named Fred. 


Fernanda Schmid
Awards & Recognition







Tell us about your background. I am the General Counsel at Cornerstone Research, Inc. I was formerly a litigation attorney until I transitioned to an in-house counsel position six years ago. Since moving in-house, I have worked as an Associate General Counsel, Deputy General Counsel, and now General Counsel, at expert services testifying and consulting firms.

What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? Along with my Co-Chair Susan DeWitt, our Awards and Recognition Committee solicits nominations for awards in the legal industry. As we typically choose candidates based upon nominations that are submitted by members and non-members, I would love it if more members nominated candidates to bring them to our attention.

What are your passions and interests? My first and foremost passion is my family. I love spending time with them doing anything and nothing. One of my favorite pastimes is reading – I can even find the back of a toothpaste box engrossing!

Sarah Schuh Quist 
Financial Development
Tell us about your background. I serve as a Senior Attorney and Special Assistant United States Attorney for the US DOJ - Federal Bureau of Prisons; I practice habeas corpus, federal tort, and constitutional tort litigation, and I provide information and guidance to staff, the legal community, and the public regarding detention matters. My career working with inmates began when I assisted federal inmates while attending University of Wisconsin Law and continued after graduation when I volunteered to assist women in a Guatemalan jail. In addition to inmate litigation, I have experience with labor law and commercial litigation, and for the past three years I have led diversity programming for federal employees as the first LGBT Program Manager at the federal detention center.
What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved?  On the Financial Development Committee, I collaborate with three other co-chairs to organize the annual WLALApalooza silent auction which provides financial support for WLALA operations and the Foundation's mission. I value the WLALA community, and I encourage members to take advantage of the diverse practice areas and deep talent of WLALA members by finding one or more committees that speaks to their interest and emailing the chairs to take an active role in that committee.


What are your passions and interests?
I'm passionate about women's rights, breaking the cycle of poverty, public transportation, wilderness, and music. Outside of work, you can find me in the outdoors leading community hikes and cross country backpack trips, teaching a Wilderness Travel Course, and assisting with wilderness navigation instruction. 

Ariella Thal Simonds
Financial Development

Tell us about your background. I am a sixth-year associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy practice.  Before attending law school at UCLA, I worked in Washington DC on a variety of social policy issues.  I am a native Angeleno but, having also lived in New York, Western Massachusetts, Berkeley, DC, and Jerusalem, it wasn’t until my husband and I settled back in Los Angeles nine years ago that Los Angeles felt like home again.  We now enjoy exploring the city with fresh eyes with our two-year-old daughter and newborn son. 


What is your role for WLALA and how would you like to see members get more involved? As Co-Chair of the Financial Development Committee, I would like to see our members (as well as the other institutions and professionals that make up the Los Angeles legal community) come out in force to support the important work WLALA does to promote the success of women in the legal profession.  So much has changed in the 95 years since WLALA was founded but women lawyers still face tremendous challenges – old and new.  The professional development programs and networking opportunities that WLALA provides, as well as its strong voice on behalf of women in the legal profession, are invaluable, and yet they do come with a price tag.  We need those who support WLALA’s vision to contribute financially to the organization to ensure its success for another 95 years and beyond. 
What are your passions and interests? I am passionate about my family.  We love to go on family hikes, play at the beach and picnic in the park.  On the weekends, I bake with my daughter, catch up on political news, and research obsessively (to my husband’s dismay) about the safety or toxicity, as the case may be, of various foods, cosmetic products and household items.