Carla L. Hartley, an attorney licensed to practice law in California and Texas, embarked on her professional journey by joining the U.S. Marine Corps, working in Signals Intelligence. She credits this time with instilling in her good values and a strong work ethic. Following her military service, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in theology, she then entered law school with the encouragement of her mentor, Patricia Lamas, and achieved a Doctor of Jurisprudence, with high honors, in 2006.
Passing the bar exam in 2006, Ms. Hartley spent a brief period working as an associate attorney before deciding to open her own firm and establishing the Law Offices of Carla L. Hartley, APLC in 2009, incorporating in 2010. She excelled in solo practice until 2018, managing a firm with three to five associates, before joining forces with her former mentor, Patricia Lamas, and doing business as Hartley Lamas Et. Al. In her role as managing partner, Ms. Hartley brings 16 years of expertise in family law, including domestic violence, custody, grandparents’ rights, divorce, and adoption.
Ms. Hartley is particularly notable for her work with sophisticated financials in divorce, and disputes that arise under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and the Hague Convention. She keeps a special place in her heart for her military clients and is pleased and privileged to represent them. After finding great success in her California office, Ms. Hartley opened a second location in Arlington, Texas.
In addition to her primary responsibilities, Ms. Hartley spent 2014 to 2019 as an adjunct professor of law at her alma mater, The Colleges of Law, teaching Advanced Legal Writing, an intensive summer course, and Federal Civil Procedure, part of the core curriculum. She serves on the board of the Ventura County Family Law Bar Association, having recently stepped down from her positions as treasurer and vice president. She also served on the board of the Ventura County Bar Association, where she chaired a committee. Other memberships include the California State Bar Association and the Alumni Council of The Colleges of Law. Ms. Hartley has proffered her expertise through a number of articles as well, including the 2010 article “The Unintended Consequences of Law,” which was published in Citations magazine; a 2023 continuing legal education presentation entitled “A Basic Guide to Digital Assets: How to Define, Find, Value & Distribute Select Digital Assets”; and a regularly updated blog on her firm’s website.
Throughout her career, Ms. Hartley has been guided by her Christian faith and is an active member of both the Christian Legal Association and the Christian Legal Society. In 2010, she became a founding board member of Pray for the Courts, which prayerfully provides confidential emotional support for the people who work in courthouses day in and day out. She hopes to bring Pray for the Courts to more courthouses to minister further to the public servants working in the trenches of the judicial system. Ms. Hartley’s firm has contributed more than $1 million to support Pray for the Courts in California and Texas, and she hopes it’s just beginning.
Another important aspect of her career is providing support to those pursuing legal education, and she is proud to pay the education costs for her paralegals and attorneys at Hartley Lamas Et. Al. One of her recent mentees was a military veteran who now has a job working as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ms. Hartley has been recognized for her excellence from an early age, being featured in both Who’s Who Among American High School Students and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. She has since been featured in The Wall Street Journal and named a Marquis Who’s Who Top Lawyer and to Marquis Who’s Who of Professional Women. Furthermore, she has been thrice honored as a California Top Lawyer by The Legal Network in 2013, 2014 and 2016, and was named a Lawyers of Distinction Power Lawyer by The New York Times from 2018 to 2021 and in 2023.
Appearing in The National Advocate’s Top 100 Lawyers in 2015, Ms. Hartley received several distinctions in 2017, including being named a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star, receiving an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell and being listed in Trademark Women of Distinction. In 2018, the American Institute of Legal Advocates featured her among their Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in California. That same year also saw her honored among the 10 Best Attorneys for exceptional and outstanding client service by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. When she is not working, Ms. Hartley enjoys reading, walking, spending time with her four giant Airedale terriers, and living life with her husband, Mike Hartley, and her family.