About Our Legal Team
Maria Ximena Sussman
-Attorney at Law and Owner
Maria 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.
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 Coordinator
Lyan Galarreta was born in Florida and moved to Puerto Rico when she was five years old. In 2010, she moved to North Carolina with her family and enrolled in a home school program in order to have more time for community service. In 2015, Lyan fulfilled a life long goal and along with her family, moved to Peru to do missionary work for about 15 months.
Lyan enjoys helping people and her outgoing personality puts clients at ease. In her free time, Lyan enjoys spending quality time with her family, teaching others about The Bible, exercising, cooking and painting.
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.
Lucy Thames spent most of her childhood in Charlotte and graduated from South Mecklenburg High School in 2015. She is now a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she studies Health Policy and Management and Spanish. While in college, her main interests have centered around healthcare reform and immigration policy.
Lucy is excited to be a part of the Sussman Law Firm team this summer and to provide its clients with the best possible service throughout their experience. Her flawless Spanish, combined with her attention to detail, never ceases to amaze everyone around her. In her free time, Lucy enjoys spending time with her family, playing the piano, and traveling.