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North Carolina Immigration Lawyers
Our Experienced Immigration Lawyers in North Carolina and California
Our experienced, award-winning team of personal injury and immigration attorneys in North Carolina and California has helped nearly 50,000 immigrants solve immigration problems from California to North Carolina. No matter where you are or what immigration challenge you’re facing, we are committed to our goal–to help immigrants like you.
Richard “Bert” Diener
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.”
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 as an immigration attorney at Diener Law, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and shopping at thrift stores.
Adrianna grew up a typical “military brat” living in Germany, Texas and South Carolina before settling in the small town of Johnsonville, NC, right outside of Fort Bragg. Adrianna’s passion for law was sparked when she was 11 and her aunt was viciously murdered. She fell in love with the judicial system after attending the trial. After attending Winston-Salem State University for her undergraduate degree in justice studies, graduating Cum Laude, Adrianna continued her education at Charlotte School of Law. During her first semester of law school, she attended an immigration reform seminar and became very intrigued and passionate about immigration law. As a student attorney, Adrianna worked for the Immigration Clinic in Charlotte handling removal proceedings, asylum cases and family-based visas. At IBM she did employment visas before joining the Diener Law family where she handles domestic, criminal and traffic cases and works on U-visas. Adrianna is very outgoing and family oriented. She loves traveling and spending time with family and friends.
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.
Italia Lima has spent her entire legal career handling matters exclusively in the area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law. Italia attended the University of California, Davis as a pre-law major, graduating Dean’s List in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. She received her Juris Doctor degree from University of Illinois – John Marshall Law School, Chicago in 2015. While in law school, she served as President of the Latino Law Student Association, where she was awarded with ‘Most Active Minority Student Organization’. Additionally, she helped initiate her school’s first ever immigration clinic, and became part of the inaugural class. Lastly, after a 10-year hiatus, Italia co-chaired and spearheaded the city-wide ‘Illinois Latino Law Forum’ in 2014.
Italia is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association, Latina Lawyers Bar Association, Mexican- America Bar Association and the Orange County Women’s Bar Association. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling, spending time as a new mom with her daughter, Vienna, and going out dancing.
Immigration & Legal Professionals
NC Certified Paralegal
As a paralegal, Margaret handles all of our worker’s compensation cases assisting the attorney, Russell Johnson. Margaret received an AA Degree from Louisburg College and was certified by the North Carolina State Bar in 2005 as a certified paralegal. She has been handling worker’s compensation cases since 2002. She joined Diener Law on February 15, 2015. She was born and raised in Clayton, North Carolina where she still lives. She has 2 grown daughters Bethany and Candace and has 3 grandchildren, Brantley (age 8), Macey (age 7), and Madison (age 4). She loves reading, DIY projects and cooking.
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.
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 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 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!
Lizzet, a legal professional in the Mount Olive office, is eager to help people. She was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, but moved to the U.S. at two years old. She was raised in North Carolina and is now a recipient of DACA. Lizzet understands the struggle to achieve the American Dream as an immigrant. In her free time, Lizzet likes to spend time with family, be outdoors and visiting new places. Her future includes college and becoming a social worker for neglected and abused children.
Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, Mayra was mostly raised in North Carolina and currently lives in the small, rural town of Pikeville. As an immigrant and DACA recipient, she knows the struggle of coming to the U.S. achieving the American dream. Although it can be hard, Mayra encourages everyone to keep trying and never give up. As she says, “There is light at the end of the tunnel!” Mayra is married to a wonderful husband and mother to a daughter, Jennifer, and another daughter, Stephany, who is expected to be here by the end of the summer, 2017.
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.
Immigration & Legal Professionals
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.