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Michael Ruvinsky graduated from San Francisco University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. He received his Juris Doctor from Golden Gate School of Law in San Francisco, California and was admitted to the California State Bar shortly after.


Michael Ruvinsky started his career in business transactional law drafting contracts, business formation and legal research.  Realizing that his passion was in defense litigation, he transitioned his focus to personal injury defense litigation. He aggressively represented the carriers in various forms of litigation resulting in various success.  Mr. Ruvinsky joined the San Francisco Office of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown in June 2022.



ALYSSA A. ALCARAZ obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Paralegal Studies in 2014. She received her Juris Doctor from Trinity Law School in Santa Ana, California.


Ms. Alcaraz has worked in the workers’ compensation industry for over 10 years. Ms. Alcaraz began her career working as a hearing representative making appearances on behalf of defendants at multiple workers’ compensation appeals boards across Southern California. Ms. Alcaraz completed her legal studies and became a member of the California State Bar in January of 2021. Ms. Alcaraz enjoys adventuring with her two young children and husband as well as attending concerts. Ms. Alcaraz joined the Newport Beach office of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown in 2022.


Edgar J. Reynoso is an Associate in our Newport Beach office.  He joined the firm in 2023. Mr. Reynoso has 16 years’ experience dealing with all aspects of workers’ compensation claims.

After graduating from law school in 1998, Mr. Reynoso represented workers’ compensation applicants.  He represented both personal injury plaintiffs as well as workers compensation applicants for six years.  During his tenure at this firm, Mr. Reynoso obtained a $41,900,000 judgement on a personal injury case.  While Mr. Reynoso was vigorously representing a workers’ compensation applicant in a deposition, the defense attorney liked his style and offered him a job, which he accepted.

For the next 10 years, Mr. Reynoso defended workers’ compensation claims. He regularly attended seminars hosted by insurance companies, which trained him on how to find, among other things, workers’ compensation fraud.  

Mr. Reynoso worked directly with representatives from many insurance companies, such as Royal & Sun Alliance, Zenith Insurance, ACE/USA, RSKCo, Specialty Risk Services, Crum & Forster, and One Beacon Insurance Group.  I also worked directly with self-insured companies such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc, Sam’s Club, National Sports Grill, Cheesecake Factory, and YMCA defending their WC claims.  Thus, he is very confident in dealing all aspects of workers’ compensation claims.

In addition to all California state courts, Mr. Reynoso is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California; and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Mr. Reynoso earned his law degree from Western State University, College of Law in 1998.



Abby Gager graduated Magna Cum Laude from St. John’s University in Queens, NY, majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in International Studies. She received her Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco, CA with Honors where she was awarded with a Cali Excellence Award in Legal Writing and Research II and the Witkin Award in Constitutional Law and Evidence. She was admitted to the California State Bar in 2022. 


While in law school, Abby expanded upon her legal writing and research skills as an associate editor for her school’s Environmental Law Journal. Further, she interned with a San Francisco firm where she developed both transactional and litigation skills to provide desired results to clients. Through drafting a variety of different contracts, she was able to hone her writing, analytical, and organizational skills. Additionally, Abby gained Labor and Employment experience as a legal assistant, where she drafted Federal reports and researched workplace investigations.

Abby joined the Sacramento office of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown in December 2022. 



Ms. Fritzel graduated magna cum laude from Arizona State University and was a William H. Pedrick Scholar in law school. She was admitted to the State Bar in December 2012.


Ms. Fritzel began at SGVB in law school and through her expertise and dedication now returns to the firm as a partner.  She has spent her legal career in the defense of insurance companies, employers, and self-insureds in workers compensation claims.

Over the years she has cultivated her skills defending claims with an emphasis on early case resolution. It is her mission to make communication with her clients a top priority. She manages our San Diego office but continues to also practice in the LA and OC areas due to her loyal following among her clients.



GEORGE JONES received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Hawaii in 1980 and his Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco in 1992, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the USF Maritime Law Journal.  George was admitted to the California Bar in 1992.  


George Jones has been practicing maritime law for over 25 years in the Long Beach/Los Angeles area and has significant experience litigating a wide variety of maritime claims including Jones Act, USL&H/DBA, cargo, vessel liability and general insurance claims. 

Prior to joining Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, George served as Vice-President of one of the nation’s premier maritime adjusting firms. Prior to that, George managed his own law firm, Jones Maritime Law, APC, which specialized in maritime personal injury litigation, including Jones Act, USL&H and DBA matters. George is licensed to practice law in all state and federal courts in California. He is a Proctor of Admiralty Member of the Maritime Law Association of the US. George is also A/V Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest independent, peer review rating awarded for excellence in both competency and ethics. 



Francis Fernandez obtained his Juris Doctor from Pacific Coast University, School of Law in Long Beach, CA. He was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2021.


Mr. Fernandez started working as a File Clerk in our Newport Beach office over a decade ago. He then served as the Firm’s Calendar Clerk and the Supervisor for the Newport Beach front office. Mr. Fernandez was eager to further his legal career and he began attending law school at night while working full time.

While attending law school, he transitioned from the Firm’s Calendar Clerk to a Hearing Representative. Over the last few years, Mr. Fernandez has been training attending/observing deposition/court appearances and analyzing legal cases under Attorney supervision. During this time, he gained extensive knowledge in defending cases aggressively, and bringing cases to a cost effective and expeditious resolution.

Mr. Fernandez is an Associate in our Newport Beach office.



Maria Ximena Zimeri Fernandez went to Law School in Guatemala. She completed her undergraduate education in one of the best universities in Central America (“Universidad Francisco Marroquin”) she received her Juris Doctor Degree and graduated Cum Laude. She passed the bar in Guatemala and was admitted to practice law in 2018 as an Attorney and Notary Public.

After completing her undergraduate education, she completed her master’s degree and obtained an LLM in Pepperdine University in Commercial Law and International Arbitration. She passed the California Bar Examination in July 2019 and was admitted to the California Bar immediately following.


When Maria Ximena was in Law School, she worked as a paralegal for three years in a prominent law firm in Guatemala, and developed great organization, communication, research, and analytical skills. She worked in the area of civil litigation but participated in various cases involving arbitration, employment law, constitutional law, and commercial law.

Maria Ximena joined the Newport beach office of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela and Brown in 2020.


  • Cum Laude, Universidad Francisco Marroquin
  • Half Straus Merit Scholarship for the LL.M Program in Pepperdine University
  • CALI Excellence Award For the Future Award in the study of Legal Research and Writing
  • Admitted to practice law in Guatemala and California


Maria Ximena is fluent in Spanish and in English.



SARAH CHANNELS obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She obtained her Juris Doctor from Pacific Coast University, School of Law in Long Beach and was the valedictorian of her class. Sarah was admitted to the State Bar of California the same year she graduated.


Sarah began her career in the workers’ compensation defense field in 1996. She comes from a workers’ compensation defense family. Her father was a workers’ compensation defense attorney for over 35 years and her mother is a nurse case manager. Sarah started as a file clerk in her father’s law firm and eventually worked her way up to paralegal. Once her father became a sole practitioner, Sarah continued in her paralegal duties, which included extensive legal research, and also maintained client relationships.

After her father’s passing, Sarah continued her career as a workers’ compensation defense paralegal. She began working at Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP with 16 years of experience. Her extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation, with an emphasis on the defense side, made Sarah an asset to our firm. She was eager to further her career and began attending law school at night while working full time.

While attending law school, Sarah transitioned from paralegal to hearing representative. She specialized in pro per settlements and focused on obtaining settlement approvals on an expedited basis. During this time, she gained further knowledge of the workers’ compensation laws of California.

Sarah’s vast experience in the workers’ compensation defense industry allows her to provide an aggressive defense of claims. She strives for early resolution of claims to avoid further litigation costs, yet carefully analyzes each claim to obtain the most favorable outcome for the client.

Sarah is an associate in our Newport Beach office.



KEVIN J. KOTTKE obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 2012. He received his Juris Doctorate from Pacific Coast University School of Law and was admitted to the California State Bar that same year.


Kevin Kottke started his legal career as a part-time file clerk with the law offices of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, in 2009, while attending the University of Colorado, Boulder. He later transitioned to the lien department negotiating complex liens while resolving them in an expeditious and cost-efficient manner. After graduation from the University of Colorado, Boulder, he became a hearing representative with the firm, specializing in the area of in pro per settlements. Mr. Kottke continued to work full-time at the law offices of Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, while attending Pacific Coast University School of Law part-time. After graduating from law school, he was admitted to the California Bar that same year.

Kevin Kottke’s extensive experience from being with Samuelsen, Gonzalez, Valenzuela & Brown, LLP, has enabled him to be successful in the outcome of intricate cases while addressing the needs of clients.