Department Teams

Experience, commitment, and success go a long way in describing our litigation support staff. With a combined 80 years of providing outstanding client and attorney support, our litigation team understands the unique challenges facing each client; and the reality that no two cases are alike.


Kathy Dwyer has been with the firm for over 20 years and is Paralegal to Jim Simon, the firm’s managing shareholder and senior litigator, partner Ravn Whitington and David Wolfe in civil litigation, including real estate, construction, business, personal injury and wrongful death matters. Kathy received her early training in the Orange County Superior Court where she was a clerk.  Kathy prides herself on her depth of understanding of the superior court system in California and Nevada, and has exemplified the firm’s dedication to client service. She is always up to date on each active litigation matter and is a steady resource explaining the status of each case to our clients.

Michele Wittels began working with Lou Basile in 1989. She is a Certified Paralegal and works from our Tahoe City office. She received her Bachelors degree from the University of Vermont.

Personal Injury

Alyson Goates joined the team in 2018 and assists the entire litigation team as Personal Injury Case Manager. She has five years of experience in physical and exercise therapy in senior care and home health settings.  Alyson received her Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from Colorado State University in 2012, and is now in the process of earning her Master’s degree in Healthcare Administration with a concentration in Applied Business Management.  Throughout the course of medical treatment and legal representation, Alyson consistently orders, organizes, and maintains client medical records, bills, and lost wages. She assists the attorneys with research and strategy development, as well as drafting legal documents and demand packages.  Clients are encouraged to contact Alyson at any time throughout their recovery process to provide treatment updates or ask questions.

Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Administration (“PET”)

Understanding that different families have different needs, our “PET” group advises and assists our clients in creating the appropriate legal plans to implement their wishes regarding their financial affairs for both pre-death and post-death purposes. The PET department’s attorney, Kelley Carroll is supported by an experienced legal assistant, long-time local resident Melinda Smith, who joined Porter Simon in 2005.


Porter Simon’s transactional staff is dedicated to developing and maintaining long-term relationships with clients.  Rebecca Reich joined the firm in 2010 and has an AA degree in Legal Administration and over 25 years of legal experience as a paralegal/legal assistant. Rebecca Reich is Paralegal to Jim Porter, the firm’s senior partner in real estate, land use, and general business matters, Ethan Birnberg and Steve Gross in employment and public agency matters. Rebecca also assists Brian Hanley in all aspects of Brian’s business practice.

Accounting, Personnel and Support Staff

Crysta Dwyer came to Porter Simon over 10 years ago, after receiving her Associates of Arts with Business Emphasis degree from Truckee Meadows Community College. Crysta is the firm’s controller and financial manager. She prepares financial management reports for the shareholders and the firm’s annual budget. In addition, Crysta serves as human resource manager, accounts payable and accounts receivable. Claire Olson joined the team in 2018 after receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University. Claire is the firm’s Legal Administrative Assistant and her primary duties include new client intake, marketing and assisting Crysta Dwyer in numerous administrative tasks. Jordan Bennett joined Porter Simon in 2020 and fulfills the critical role of our Front Desk Administrator and is responsible for all aspects of our front desk reception. She is counted upon to welcome and greet clients and visitors to the firm.