Who's Who of Professional Women


Carla Hartley

With a longstanding passion for helping others, Carla L. Hartley, Esq. embarked on her professional journey by earning a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a minor in theology, from the University of New Mexico in 1992. She went on to spend the early years of her career with the United States Marines in signal intelligence, and she credits this time with instilling in her good values and a strong work ethic. Following her military service, Ms. Hartley entered law school with the encouragement of her mentor, Patricia Lamas, and achieved her Doctor of Jurisprudence, with high honors, from The Colleges of Law in Ventura, California, in 2006.

Passing the bar exam in 2007, Ms. Hartley spent a year working as an associate attorney before deciding to open her own firm and establishing the Law Offices of Carla L. Hartley in 2009. She excelled in solo practice until 2014, when she joined forces with Patricia Lamas and opened Hartley Lamas Et. Al., where she remains to this day. 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. She is particularly notable for her work with military clients and jurisdictional custody disputes that arise under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and the Hague Convention. 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 executive board of the Ventura County Family Law Bar Association as treasurer and vice president and 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, and a continually 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 provides religious and spiritual support for people in the court system. As she looks toward the future, she hopes to bring Pray for the Courts to even more courthouses and to inspire the people around her through sharing the reality of those experiences. Another important aspect of Ms. Hartley’s 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 with the United States 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, AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and to 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 isn’t working, Ms. Hartley enjoys reading, hot yoga, and spending time with her family, which includes her husband, Mike Hartley; two children, Ben and Victoria; and two grandchildren.

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