Pipas Law Staff

We’d be lying if we said we could do it all without our amazing team. To put a face to a name that you may speak to, learn more about our all-star Pipas Law team below.

Lauren Zahorniak


Lauren Zahorniak attended Florida Gulf Coast University and received her degree in Paralegal Studies in 2010. In 2009 she began work in a family law firm before transiting to personal injury in 2011 in the Tampa Bay area. Outside of work Lauren enjoys traveling and spending time with her dogs.

Ernie Zimmerman


Ernie Zimmerman began his journey at Pipas Law as a rising star intern and extern while completing his AS degree in Paralegal Studies from Saint Petersburg College and simultaneously working for the Dept. of Homeland Security – Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Before completing his Paralegal Studies degree, Ernie earned a B.A.S in Public Safety Administration. 

Ernie loves spending time with his wife, two children, and newest adopted addition (puppy) Milo!

Christina Johnson - Headshot

Christina Johnson


Christina Johnson is a Florida Native, born and raised in Pinellas County. She has several years of experience as a legal assistant in personal injury, as well as experience as a Chiropractic Assistant with an emphasis in personal injury.

Christina is a Florida native, and oldest of 6 siblings on her mother’s side and recently connected with her half sister on her father’s side. (Talk about #LifeTimeMovie) Christina’s sister Leesa works with her here at Pipas Law as well. The sisters are Irish Twins and are both classically trained to sing Opera. Christina is a mom of an awesome and smart little boy. She is also a Plus Size Model for Curv Exchange who has a love for sunsets and anything Disney.

Elyse Thomas


Elyse Thomas was born and raised in London, England until her family moved to St. Petersburg, FL in 2008. She attended the University of Tampa and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Outside of work, Elyse enjoys spending time with family and friends, attending concerts and music events, and traveling.

Katiria Martinez


Katiria Martinez was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Florida, making her fully bilingual. In 2010, she completed a Medical Biller and Coder Certification, which has aided her knowledge and experience in the medical field. Katiria has valuable experience in customer service as well as the medical and legal fields. In her spare time she enjoys cooking and spending time with family.

Headshot of Leyla

Leyshla Ruiz


Leyshla Ruiz was born and raised in Florida, she owns a mechanic business and is a certified notary. She also has extensive experience in customer service, medical and accounts receivable. Leyshla’s previous work experience combined with her passion for helping others is why she chose a career path in the personal injury field.  Leyshla is fully bilingual, a mother of 3 and happily married.

Headshot of Zackary Jara

Zackary Jara

Law Clerk

Zackary Jara is from San Diego, California.  He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, San Diego where he played on both the chess team and the football team. Zackary recently graduated from Law School at Western Michigan Cooley Law, where he was a Class Senator.

Nikki Wallen


Nikki Wallen was born and raised in Florida. She attended St. Petersburg College and graduated with her Degree in Paralegal Studies in 2017. She has experience working with children and families after working in childcare for 10 years and was previously employed with the Child Welfare System for 5 years on the Adoption team. Nikki has experience in Criminal and Family law and enjoys Personal Injury. She is also a Public Notary. Nikki ha two children, ages 11 and 12, and enjoys spending all of her free time with them outdoors at the beach or pool, or her son’s sports events. . Her mom, dad, and sisters, and some family also live in Florida .She enjoys cooking, traveling,  and being around friends and family.

Shawn Griffin


Shawn Griffin was born in Jacksonville, Florida and went to high school down in South Florida. He graduated from “The” University of Tennessee and was drafted in the 20th round by the Kansas City Royals after bouncing around for a few years in the minor leagues before enlisting in the military. After his service in the military, he continued serving the community by working as a Law Enforcement Officer and a Special Agent within the Department of Justice.

Sherry Galvin


Sherry Galvin attended Umass Boston as a political science major and began her career in insurance in Boston. She worked as a BI adjuster for AIG for 10 years until she had a mediation with a PI Attorney who offered her a job, and she began working on the plaintiff side. Sherry has been helping people fight insurance companies for 18 years and still enjoys it.

In her personal life, Sherry is a mother of two boys. One is in grad school at UCAL and the other is a freshman at UF. They all enjoy travelling together to Celtics games as they are huge Boston fans. Sherry is an avid skier and has earned her black belt in American kickboxing as well as her advanced scuba license. Additionally, she holds an aesthetician license and enjoys helping her friends with their skincare needs. In her free time, Sherry is usually planning some sort of adventure with her boys.

Jerry Hobson


Jerry Hobson moved from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina over 8 years ago. To open a home decor retail and Interior Design store.  His past work has been in management with several large retailers.
Graduate from Christian life school of Theology and seminar. Over 24 years he has been devoted to children’s organizations in United States, Russia Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Egypt, and Jamaica.

Jerry is happily partnered to a wonderful man. They both love to travel and spend time with friends.

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