About Our Legal Team
Maria Ximena Sussman
-Attorney at Law and Owner
Maria Ximena received her B.S. in Political Science and Criminal Justice in 2004 from East Carolina University. In 2007, she pursued an MBA with emphasis in Accounting at Winthrop University. After working as a litigation certified paralegal for two prominent law firms in Charlotte, she decided to fulfill one of her childhood dreams and joined the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department as a police officer. After spending some years on patrol, she decided to fulfill another childhood dream, which was to one day become a lawyer.
Maria began her studies at Charlotte School of Law and after graduating law school in 2014, she was admitted to the North Carolina Bar and the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. Given her entrepreneurial spirit, she founded Sussman Law Firm, PLLC in 2015. Her affiliations include the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina State Bar Association, American Bar Association, Mecklenburg County Bar, and Hispanic National Bar Association. She is a mentor as part of Mecklenburg County Bar’s Linking Lawyers Program. In addition, she is a North Carolina Notary Public.
A native of Guatemala, Maria is fluent in English and Spanish. She came to the United States as a child and she has called the Queen City her home ever since. Maria’s love for helping people is evident in her background in public service and is also felt by every client in need. Maria is married, has three children, and attends Carmel Baptist Church. She enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends.
David Benjamin “Ben” Hefferon was born in Durham, North Carolina and has lived most of his life in the Charlotte area. He graduated from UNCC in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and graduated from NC Central School of Law in 2015. Ben is a current member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina State Bar Association, and the Mecklenburg County Bar.
Ben is a general practitioner, who enjoys the challenges of handling multiple parts of the legal field. His unforgettable voice commands the courtroom and is reassuring to those needing our help.
Ben is married and has two small boys. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling.
Lauren E. R. Watkins was born and raised in West Columbia, SC. She received her B.A. in Business Administration from Columbia College. She moved to Charlotte in August of 2012 to attend law school. Lauren graduated from Charlotte School of Law in 2015 and was admitted to the North Carolina Bar that same year. Lauren is a current member of the North Carolina State Bar and the Mecklenburg County Bar Association.
Lauren has always had a passion for serving the underserved and hopes to bring that passion to Sussman Law Firm. She brings enthusiasm to the courtroom and fights vigorously for her clients.
Lauren is married, has a small boy, and attends Mosaic Church. She enjoys spending time with her family and indulging in her husband’s comic book interests.
-Paralegal and Internship Program Coordinator
Jessica Valenzuela was born in Mexico and came to the United States as a child. She was raised in Charlotte, North Carolina and loves the Queen City! Jessica attended Central Piedmont Community College, where she pursued an Associate degree in the Arts, as well as Certifications in QuickBooks. She has years of experience working in the legal field and is a North Carolina Notary Public. Jessica makes every client her top priority and her smile makes everyone feel welcomed and comfortable.
Jessica is married and is a Jehovah’s Witness. In her free time, Jessica loves photography, teaching others about the Bible, and traveling with her beloved husband.
-Client Services and Marketing Assistant
Jemmy Carmona was born in Venezuela and came to Miami, Florida as a child. In 2016, she moved to Waxhaw, North Carolina. Jemmy has more than twenty years of Executive Administration experience. Some of her passions are helping people and giving outstanding customer service to everyone she encounters. Jemmy’s friendly and outgoing personality lets clients know that they have come to the right place.
Jemmy is married to a pastor and has three children. In her free time, Jemmy enjoys spending quality time with her family, the outdoors, driving to the mountains and visiting historic small towns. She also enjoys going on dates with her husband, singing, public speaking and teaching others about The Bible.
Jasmin was raised in Tampa, Florida by her Puerto Rican parents. Jasmin attended Gulf Coast College, where she received an Associates of Science in Medical Assisting. She worked as a medical assistant in the Tampa area for eight years. She moved to the Charlotte in 2015 to help her former youth pastors open a bilingual church. Jasmin is excited to begin her career in the legal field, where she can continue to reach and help people in a different way. Her easy going spirit and passion for people are evident day after day.
Jasmin is married to a firefighter and has three small children. She is active in her church and in community outreach. In her free time she loves spending time with her family, hiking and sight seeing the beautiful views of North Carolina.
-Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Eduardo Suarez was born and raised in Arequipa, Peru. In 2011, he moved from Peru to Spain to study and work in the area of business communications. Eduardo moved to Charlotte in 2014, and in 2017 earned his master’s degree at NC State University. Eduardo has a total of 7 years’ experience in the marketing field. He is a global professional with experience in Europe and South America. One of his passions is writing poems and he is also planning to start his own non-profit organization to help children in poor conditions in Peru.
Eduardo is the youngest of three brothers. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling to Peru and visiting his family. He believes that you must dream big in order to achieve your goals and if you think this way, you can never lose!
Ava Almaraz has lived in the Charlotte area for her whole life. She graduated from Charlotte Catholic High School in 2014 and is a current senior at Queens University of Charlotte. She is majoring in Journalism and Digital Media Studies and double minoring in Spanish and Pre-Law studies. Upon her graduation this coming May, she hopes to attend law school. Ava is very involved on campus as she is a member of Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honor society and Sigma Tau Delta English honor society as well as a senior class representative for her university’s honor council.
Ava is very excited to be a part of the Sussman Law Firm team this fall and looks forward to getting a hands-on experience in the legal field. She looks forward to assisting her co-workers as well as clients in any way she can. In her free time, Ava enjoys spending time with friends and family, shopping and reading.