Attorney Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz
Cheryl Deptowicz-Diaz is the daughter of Filipino immigrants, married to a Mexican immigrant, mother to a Mexican Filipino son, and an immigrant herself, having arrived to Southern California, United States at the age of 8 in 1982.
Cheryl is proud to connect her Filipino roots to those roots established in Los Angeles, California. She attended Virgil Junior High and graduated from Belmont High School in 1991. With school records filled with academic honors, leadership positions in student council and school clubs, and positions of captain for both the varsity volleyball and varsity swim team, Cheryl was accepted to and attended University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). She worked full time during college, participated in a study abroad program in Argentina and Chile, and was active in campus organizing.
In 1996, she graduated from UCSB with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian American Studies. That same year, Cheryl received the NAACP Excellence Award, Distinguished Service Award, and the Asian American Studies Highest GPA Award. After college, Cheryl worked as a secretary until multiple and simultaneous personal hardships pushed her to apply to law school.
Cheryl attended the evening program at Southwestern University School of Law while continuing to work during the day as a secretary, accounting clerk, law clerk, and an elementary school teacher’s aide. Her law school highlights include receiving the Writing Achievement Award for the Moot Court Honors Program, and serving as an extern clerk for both the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office and for the Alliance for Children’s Rights. She earned her Juris Doctor from Southwestern in 2006.
She was admitted to the State Bar of California in 2007 after passing the State Bar Examination on her first attempt. She is admitted in all California state courts as well as the Central District and Southern California District of the U.S. District Courts.
She recharges her energy supply by spending time with her husband Jorge, son Diego, and furpup Maxim. They love to read and write together, mimic mindless vegetables in front of the TV, and create memories through play, travel, and adventure. She clears her mind and works out Life’s stresses by doing yoga, journaling, meditation, dancing, and boxing. She connects with her community by writing, performing poetry, and attending community events on various topics aimed at bridging systemic divisions of race, sex, gender, and class.
- 2003 Southwestern University School of Law, Moot Court Honors Program, for outstanding achievement in writing
- 2009 Special Jury Verdict Award of $74M in defamation case
- 2009 First Tri-Media Award in Field of Law, outstanding accomplishments and invaluable contributions to the Filipino-American community
- 2014 Recognition by City of Cerritos, for dedicated efforts in partnership with the City of Cerritos to empower communities through entrepreneurship
- 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars, selected by peer recognition and professional achievement
- 2016 Top Women Lawyers of Southern California, for excellence and achievements by the legal community
- 2017 Top Women Lawyers of Southern California, for excellence and achievements by the legal community
- 2020 Top Women Lawyers of Southern California, for excellent customer service and overall satisfaction
Interview by Lyka Gozon of Lyks! Creatives
Three words that describe you and your business:
Tenacious, Tempered, Troubleshooter
Why do you do this work?
As an immigrant, woman of color, and someone from humble beginnings, I know what it’s like to be on the daunting side of the legal system. I know the fears and trauma people are experiencing. Through my profession, I am able to help families. I fight tooth and nail to help others tear down barriers and fears.
Three to five values you believe in:
I believe there is beauty in every person.
I believe that people have the fundamental right to be happy, to have peace, to be free of violence.
I believe in open communication, no matter the ugliness of the discussion.
I believe that no one should have to fear the court system.
I believe that our system of justice must evolve and improve to better serve the people.
Who is you ideal client?
My ideal client is one who, despite the turmoil and turbulence, still knows what they want, haven’t lost their sense of goodness, fairness, ultimate dream and hope for the future. While they are upset, spiraling, and maybe even raging, they can still listen and hear me. They are not so angry that they is spitting out fire against everybody.
My ideal client will allow me to fight fairly and will let me help them. They will take my counsel to get us across the muddy waters.
My ideal client is not looking to scorch the earth, not looking to throw innocent people under the bus just for vain glory and hollow victories.
Instead, my ideal client doesn’t dawdle on the ledge of lovelessness, but instead aims to build dreams, goals, and solutions by closing the chapter on bitterness and anger.
What is your mission statement/story?
My mission in life is to use my knowledge, skill, and energy to serve families by helping them end legal fights and move on to building dreams and better tomorrows.
What is your one key story that you want your client to know/learn?
I come from poverty and pollution, Manila slum and inner-city Los Angeles, and yet, I never for one moment believed that was supposed to be the be-all/end-all of my life. I fought hard to find beauty in everything, see and hear the humanity in every person, and dug deep inside me to fight for my future so I can help others also fight for theirs.
When I first came to Cheryl, I was terrified to go through the judicial process. She took the time to explain the process each step of the way. She was sensitive to my emotional needs, yet professional and efficient. Her strength and intelligence allowed me to trust her implicitly. Like having a great doctor, I now have a great attorney.