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Sylvia R. Vela

Sylvia joined the Kaplan Law Firm in early 2023 as the Firm’s first Director of Client Services.  As the Firm’s Director, Sylvia works closely with clients and staff to oversee the Firm’s processes, manage relationships with clients, and develop long term relationships with its clients and staff.  Sylvia brings over 20-years of office administration experience with a focus on developing and improving processes for the Firm to efficiently and effectively serve its clients and staff.

In addition to her support of the Firm, Sylvia has 40-years of experience in a support role in the public and private sector  with a specialty certification in civil litigation and appellate work. Sylvia also brings twenty years of senior paralegal experience working on whistleblower and fraud cases, suing on behalf of the government and taxpayers to recoup money defrauded from the federal government. Because of Sylvia’s experience with whistleblower cases, she was invited to serve as one of the founding members of the Taxpayers Against Fraud’s (TAF) newly established Paralegal Division. Sylvia is excited for the opportunity to share her experience with her peers and mentor those pursuing a strong legal support role.

Sylvia is a native Austinite who loves her community and believes in paying it forward.  Sylvia supports several local non-profits and community projects by volunteering on committees and fundraising.  Some of her favorite organizations are HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians), Family Eldercare, where she helps collect fans for the elderly, and Interfaith Action of Austin to support diversity, inclusiveness, and fairness in the community.

Sylvia has a strong heritage of Tejano music and comes from a family of musicians, including a grandfather who was a mariachi, her father the leader of a “Tejano” orchestra band, her husband a touring trumpet player in a Tejano band, and her son a touring professional rock drummer.  Sylvia even did a little performing herself.

Sylvia is married to husband, Santiago “Jimmy” Vela, Jr.  Together, they enjoy all things outdoors—travelling, fishing, music, and gardening.  They have two grown children, Santiago III and Sonia Rita, and the family dog, Millie.