Andrew W. Vorzimer heads the firm’s Third Party Reproductive Practice at Vorzimer/Masserman (VM). Mr. Vorzimer is a frequent author on subjects including third party reproduction, surrogacy and egg donation. Mr. Vorzimer was the recipient of the “Illumination Award” from the American Fertility Association (AFA) and the 2017 Whittier Law School Alumni Attorney of the Year Award. Mr. Vorzimer is recognized worldwide as the foremost expert in the field of Surrogacy, Egg Donation and Reproductive Law. Mr. Vorzimer has also handled numerous high profile litigation cases including: David Copperfield vs. Butterfield & Butterfield; Elizabeth Taylor vs. The National Enquirer; Estate of Howard Hughes vs. Summa Corporation; the professional liability portion of the Twilight Zone case; and has represented the State of California in the People vs. Coastal Insurance lawsuit. Reported Case of note: North River Insurance Company vs. American Home Assurance Company, 210 Cal. App. 3d 108 (1989).
Mr. Vorzimer has been quoted as an expert or appeared in numerous magazines and news shows including 60 Minutes, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, Medical News Today, USA Today and MSNBC . Mr. Vorzimer was a Contributing Author to: Consents and Contracts, “Principles of Oocyte and Embryo Donation”; Insurance Handbook for Business Litigators; and CEB Civil Procedure Before Trial,1990. Mr. Vorzimer has authored numerous articles including: What to Look for in an Egg Donation Program; Workplace Environment: Sexual Harassment; Business & Professions Code Section 17200: California’s Unfair Competition Law; Sexual Harassment: Increase in Claims Strikes Fear in Employers; and Hostile Work Environment Claims Have Employers on the Defensive. Mr. Vorzimer and Mr. Masserman were also part of a small group of attorneys who assisted Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes in drafting AB1217 which codified the current best legal practices regarding surrogacy agreements in California, and was added to the California Family Code as Section 7962.
Mr. Vorzimer graduated from Whittier College School of Law, Magna Cum Laude (J.D.) and did his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and University of Miami. Mr. Vorzimer is admitted to the State Bar of California; American Bar Association; Los Angeles County Bar Association; United States District Court, Central, Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of California; the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; and the Supreme Court of the State of California. Mr. Vorzimer is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM); Fellow of American Academy of Associated Reproductive Technologies Attorneys (AAARTA); International Federation Of Fertility Societies (IFFS); RESOLVE; World IVF; Board of Directors of Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED); Founding Fellow of the International Surrogacy Forum; National Association of Surrogate Mothers; OPTS; INCIID; and Academy of Associated Reproductive Technologies. Mr. Vorzimer is also a faculty member of IFFS/ASRM and the REI Nursing Congress.
Dean E. Masserman is a highly experienced and respected trial lawyer, who has handled in excess of 40 jury trials and 2800 court trials and substantive hearings in both federal and state court, and serves as chairperson of the firm’s Family Law Practice, Civil Defense Practice and Complex Litigation Practice. Mr. Masserman began his legal career as a Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender. Since founding VM in 1994, Mr. Masserman has expanded his practice to include all facets of Family Law litigation. Mr. Masserman’s, specialties include third party reproduction litigation, property disputes involving frozen embryos and genetic materials, marital and non-marital transactions, divorce, spousal and child support disputes, restraining orders, and complex criminal and family litigation. In addition, Mr. Masserman has successfully defended clients in matters pertaining to Employment Law, Criminal Defense, Immigration, Construction Defect Law, Unfair Competition, Products Liability Defense, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination Defense, and Entertainment Law. In the area of entertainment, Mr. Masserman has successfully negotiated labor disputes, employment related issues, collective bargaining agreements with IATSE, “pay or play” agreements and option agreements with actors screen writers and their representatives, and distribution agreements, both long and short form, with both mini and major movie studios. Mr. Masserman also frequently works with Mr. Vorzimer in the Third Party Reproduction practice. Mr. Masserman was instrumental in securing the first pre-birth judgment of maternity/paternity in the United States following the landmark decision in Buzzanca v. Buzzanca. He also authored an article regarding recent advances in Pre-implantation Genetic Determination (PGD), and the legal ramifications associated with this procedure, for the Journal of Assisted Reproductive Law. Mr. Masserman and Mr. Vorzimer were also part of a small group of attorneys who assisted Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes in drafting AB1217 which codified the current best legal practices regarding surrogacy agreements in California, and was added to the California Family Code as Section 7962.
Mr. Masserman has made regular media appearances including: The Today Show; CBS Morning News; Good Morning America; CNN with Connie Chung; CNN Tonight; KFI-640am Radio: Regular guest legal analyst; CNBC’s “Rivera Live; CNBC’s “The O.J. Simpson Trial”; and “LA Extra” with Gene Gleeson. He has also appeared as a guest lecturer on Criminal Procedure for the Legal Education Conference Center (LECC), done pro bono work as an attorney volunteer with the Los Angeles Superior Court Domestic Violence Program, and previously served as a Judge Pro Tem for the County of Los Angeles and the City of Culver City.
Mr. Masserman graduated from Southwestern University School of Law (J.D.) and did his undergraduate studies at University of Colorado at Boulder and University of California at San Diego (B.A.). Mr. Masserman is admitted to the State Bar of California; United States District Court, Central, Eastern, Southern and Northern Districts of California; the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; and the Supreme Court of the State of California. Mr. Masserman has previously represented the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department handling Civil Rights litigation, the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office assisting indigent clients, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office – Narcotics Unit as a state certified clerk. In addition to being a licensed attorney, Mr. Masserman is also licensed as a Real Estate Broker by the California Department of Real Estate.
Amani T. Hanson graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry. As an undergraduate, she performed research at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in the department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience. After college, she was awarded with a Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award from the National Institutes of Health. Such award consisted of a 2-year NIH grant to perform research full time at the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Lab of Integrative Neuroscience. During this time, Mrs. Hanson studied fetal alcohol syndrome, particularly the effects of alcohol on neuronal migration within the cerebellum. She has first authored a publication in the Journal of Neuroscience and presented her research as several scientific meetings.
Mrs. Hanson then attended the Rutgers School of Law – Camden and the School of Business – Camden, where she completed a J.D./M.B.A. dual degree program. Mrs. Hanson joined Vorzimer/Masserman as an associate attorney in 2014 and currently, she is a member of the litigation department, as well as the firm’s Assisted Reproduction practice. Mrs. Hanson handles various aspects of family law cases, including divorce, child custody, spousal and child support disputes, and restraining orders. Mrs. Hanson is fluent in Arabic and enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and exercising.
Lila M. Seif is an attorney licensed to practice law in California. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School (Southwestern).
Lila’s drive to help and understand others inspired her pursuit of a psychology degree. While studying at UCLA, Lila enrolled in courses related to the law and began working in a law office where she was first introduced to assisted reproductive technologies and the ways the law can be used for good. This inspired Lila to obtain her law degree.
While attending Southwestern, Lila was elected Secretary of the Student Bar Association and was recognized for her legal writing and oral advocacy skills upon being awarded the Finalist Writer Award and Alternate Oralist Award in the Intramural Moot Court competition and upon receiving the CALI Award for achieving the highest grade (A+) in her legal research and writing course. Also while at Southwestern, Lila supplemented her coursework with curriculum on Reproductive Technologies and the Law and with a course taught by the Honorable Amy M. Pellman entitled Children and the Law. Lila also secured a judicial externship with Los Angeles Superior Court family law judge, the Honorable Mark Juhas, and with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Family Violence Division. Lila’s experiences showed her the entire spectrum of family law matters and she knew that she was meant for family building.
Before joining VM, Lila worked in the fields of adoption and fertility law. Prior to that, she worked for the State Bar of California where she was a significant part of the important task of regulating attorney licenses. She gained utmost respect for the trust clients place upon their attorneys and the issues clients face in relying upon counsel to protect their interests. Her experience has made Lila an approachable and likeable attorney who maintains the highest ethical standards.
Lila is a compassionate and caring person and sees it as her responsibility and honor to help couples and individuals complete their families. Lila grew up in Orange County, lives in Woodland Hills, and enjoys advanced open water SCUBA diving, mountain biking, traveling, volunteer work, and spending time with her friends and family.
Michelle Leverton is an attorney, licensed to practice law in the State of California. She graduated with a B.A. degree in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University, and obtained the degree of Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from Whittier Law School in 2016. While attending law school, Michelle traveled to China to study international adoption law, and to learn more about the rights of children and families throughout the country. She also participated in an internship with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C., where she advocated for children in the foster care system before members of the U. S. Congress.
Michelle was introduced to fertility law by Andrew Vorzimer, who spoke at an Assisted Reproductive Technology symposium held by the Center for Children and Families at Whittier Law School. She was immediately interested in the field, and soon after became an intern at VM. After Michelle obtained her law degree, and passed the California Bar Exam, she was hired as a full-time attorney. Michelle’s vision is a world where all children have loving homes, and where all people who dream of creating a family have the opportunity to do so, regardless of their biological circumstances.
Melissa McNeillie is originally from Charleston, South Carolina. She was awarded the Life Scholarship upon entry into the College of Charleston, and ultimately graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communications. Upon graduation, she moved to Southern California to pursue a career in Business Administration. She was hired by VM in 2012 as the office administrator. Since then Ms. McNeillie has been promoted to head the accounting department. Ms. McNeillie oversees the administration of the firm’s general business account as well as the Intended Parent’s Trust Account, established to safeguard and protect our client’s fiduciary interests. Outside of the office, Ms. McNeillie enjoys baking, camping, finding the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants in town, and taking her dog on hikes.
W. Kwamina Ngissah (Kwam) graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1988, and then attended Loyola Law School. Kwam first worked for VM from 1997 to 2004. In 2004, Kwam left VM and volunteered to travel to sub-Sahara Africa to build water wells in rural communities and poor urban centers that lacked access to clean, safe water. Upon his return, Kwam took a position as a paralegal at a large downtown law firm to learn other areas of law and broaden his knowledge base. Kwam is well versed in worker’s compensation, construction defect litigation, malpractice, criminal law, family law litigation, surrogacy and egg donation.
Kwam rejoined VM in 2015 as a senior paralegal, and oversees both the third party reproduction and litigation paralegal teams. In addition to English, Kwam is also fluent in Akan and Kwa. In his free time Kwam manages his real estate portfolio, plays competitive basketball and racquetball, cooks in his home built chef kitchen, and enjoys Cumbia and Casino Rueda style salsa dancing.
Helaena Eichberg joined VM as a Senior Paralegal in 2015. Ms. Eichberg earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from UC Riverside in 2004 and went on to earn her paralegal certification from UCLA in 2008. Prior to joining the VM team, Ms. Eichberg worked in collections law and criminal defense. Ms. Eichberg’s primary responsibility is to prepare and file court pleadings in the 58 California counties in order to establish parental rights for our clients. In her free time, Ms. Eichberg enjoys playing poker, cooking, crossfit, yoga, and going to concerts. Ms. Eichberg also runs in the Spartan Race several times a year.
Lidia Meza joined VM as a Surrogacy Case Paralegal in June of 2016. Prior, she worked as a paralegal for three years handling a variety of legal matters, including family-based and investment-based immigration, business entity formation, and personal injury. In 2016, Lidia completed her coursework for her Associate’s Degree in Paralegal Studies from Los Angeles City College, where she made the President’s Honor List and was elected President of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Law Society. In 2017, Lidia received her Paralegal Certificate from the American Bar Association. In addition to her paralegal studies, Lidia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish Language and Culture from California State University – Northridge (2012) and has completed the Court Interpreting Program from the Southern California School of Interpretation (2010). Lidia is a former egg donor who is passionate about helping people build their family. She is fluent in Spanish, and conversational in Portuguese. In her free time, Lidia collects vinyl records, enjoys trying new sushi restaurants and taco trucks, and attends concerts of all types.
Weiwei Zhao joined VM as a legal assistant in 2016. Ms. Zhao earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English of International Business with a double degree in finance from Tianjin Foreign Studies University in 2011. Ms. Zhao worked as a volunteer for Summer Davos Forum—Annual Meeting of the New Champions in 2010, and offered translation service for committee members. Ms. Zhao studied in the MBA program in University of New Haven from 2011 to 2013. After graduation, Ms. Zhao worked as an immigration legal assistant in Yerman & Associates, LLC in New York City, assisting with drafting legal papers, performing legal research, and translation for Chinese clients. Ms. Zhao is fluent in both Mandarin Chinese and English. Ms. Zhao’s responsibilities are working directly with VM’s Chinese clients in both IVF and egg donation matters, as well as translation services. Ms. Zhao also accompanies Chinese clients to obtain birth certificates and passports upon request. Ms. Zhao enjoys traveling, swimming, hiking, skiing and reading books in her free time.
Weiwei Zhao 于2016年作为一名律师助理加入VM. 她于2011年毕业于天津外国语大学，拥有英语国际商务和金融双学位。她是2010年夏季达沃斯论坛中的一名志愿者，为组委会的成员们翻译相关内容。2011年至2013年，她在美国康涅狄格州的纽海文大学攻读MBA硕士学位。2013年毕业后，她作为一名移民律师助理开始在纽约曼哈顿的耶曼律师楼工作，工作内容包括协助律师起草法律文书，搜索移民相关的信息，帮助中国的客户和美国律师之间进行翻译。赵女士能流利的说中文和英文，她在VM的工作职责是直接与中国客户联系处理代孕与捐卵事宜并协助翻译，同时她还协助中国客户获得出生证与护照。在业余时间，她喜欢旅行，游泳，徒步旅行，滑雪，和阅读。
Jing Yang was a Chinese transaction lawyer in Shanghai before joining VM. Ms. Yang graduated from the Wuhan University School of Law with a double degree in Law and Economics. From 2008 to 2010, Ms. Yang gained great experience with corporate, foreign direct investment, and contract law while working in renowned law firms in Shanghai. From 2010 to 2014, she managed the legal department of Shanda Group, a leading Company in the Internet & Entertainment Industry, based in Shanghai. In 2014 Ms. Yang attended UCLA Law for her master degree in Law (LL.M.). After graduation she was hired to serve VM’s Chinese clientele to further her passion for family law and related cutting edge issues. Ms. Yang is fluent in both Mandarin and English. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, singing Karaoke and watching movies with friends.
杨晶女士在加入VM 之前是一名中国非诉律师。她毕业于中国武汉大学法学院，拥有法学及经济学双学位。2008年至2010年，她在中伦上海分所等知名律师事务所从事公司法，外商直接投资以及合同法律实务；2010年至2014年，她在中国互联网及娱乐产业的领头羊盛大集团担任法务经理一职。2014年，她前往美国加州大学洛杉矶分校法学院攻读法学硕士。2015年夏天硕士毕业后，她出于对美国家庭法，娱乐法及相关前沿问题的热爱，加入VM 团队以服务我们的中国客户。杨律师能说流利的中文及英文。在业余时间，她喜欢旅行，烹饪，同朋友一起唱卡拉OK及看电影。
Anthony De Santiago, originally from Los Angeles, joined VM as an office assistant and front desk receptionist in in May 2015. Mr. De Santiago is working on earning his Confirmation of Completion from the Professional Paralegal Academy at Los Angeles Valley College and graduates in late 2016. Mr. De Santiago’s responsibilities include overseeing logistics, correspondence, digital file management and assisting with day to day operation of the firm. Mr. De Santiago enjoys traveling, watching movies, being at the beach and spending time with family and friends.
Silvia Masserman graduated from the Universidad Catolica de Santiago de Guayaquil with a Bachelors degree in Economics. Mrs. Masserman ran an international import/export company in the United States from 1997 until 2003. In 2005 Mrs. Masserman joined VM providing services in International Marketing, Branding and Client Development. Mrs. Masserman is well versed in the field of Surrogacy and Egg Donation, and travels abroad on behalf of VM to speak and meet with potential and existing clients. Mrs. Masserman also currently serves as the business operations manager for VM.
Samantha Espinoza, originally from Los Angeles, joined VM as an Office Assistant and front desk receptionist in July 2016. Ms. Espinoza graduated from Charter College in 2013 as a Certified Legal Assistant/Paralegal. She graduated with high honors and was listed on the Deans List for high achievements. Ms. Espinoza’s responsibilities include overseeing logistics, correspondence, digital file management and assisting with day to day operation of the firm. Ms. Espinoza is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with her son, family and friends.
Alvaro Zambrano was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and emigrated to the United States in 2006. From 2015 to 2017 Alvaro attended Moorpark College and played on their varsity soccer team. Simultaneously, Alvaro coached the girl’s soccer team at Calabasas High School. At present, Alvaro is attending California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and is expected to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in financial planning in 2018. Thereafter, Alvaro will test to become a certified public accountant (CPA). Alvaro joined VM in 2016 as an assistant in the accounting department. His responsibilities include handling day-to-day banking transactions, and performing internal audits to assure accounting integrity. Alvaro is focused on his career and building a future, but does find time to hike, attend music festivals and spend time with family.
Drew Byrd-Smith joined VM as a legal assistant in 2017. Mr. Byrd-Smith worked in special education for 4 years before earning a B.A. in Film and Media Studies from UC Berkeley in 2012. He went on graduate from USC’s Cinema and Media Studies M.A. program in 2016, during which time he earned a fellowship from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism for his research. Mr. Byrd-Smith’s responsibilities include administrating the contract negotiation process for the surrogacy clientele, liaising with the agency overseeing the surrogacy, and scheduling meetings/consultations. Mr. Byrd-Smith enjoys watching movies, reading, writing, playing video games, learning languages, and spending time with animals.