Attorney & Staff


Rafael Echemendia

Rafael was born and raised in Polk County, Florida, and graduated from Auburndale High School in 1984. Rafael received his B.A. degree from the University of Florida and his Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1997.

He was admitted to the Florida Bar in April of 1998, and initially served as an Assistant Public Defender, handling a variety of cases.

After just a few months as a misdemeanor attorney, Rafael was quickly promoted to Felony, where he was responsible for cases ranging from drug possession to murder. 

Rafael soon established himself as a confident and capable trial lawyer. In 1999 he entered private practice with a well known criminal defense law firm.  After deciding to start his own practice, he partnered with his former co-worker, William Allen, and The Law Offices of Allen and Echemendia were established in February of 2000.  After many successful years of representation, Rafael branched out on his own in January of 2009, and established the Echemendia Law Firm.

Rafael’s practice areas are criminal defense, family law and personal injury.  He presently focuses on defending individuals who have been charged with criminal matters ranging from traffic offenses, such as DUI and DWLSR, to drug trafficking and murder. His family law practice runs the gamut from divorce and alimony to child custody and child support matters. Rafael also specializes in personal injury representing clients in cases involving automobile, motorcycle and truck accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, premises liability and nursing home neglect. 

Rafael prides himself on aggressive representation. 

Rafael is currently a member of the Middle District of Florida Federal Bar, Lakeland Bar Association, Polk County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association and the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.  Rafael married his high school sweetheart in 1989 and spends most of his spare time actively involved with his wife and children.

Joyce Goheen - Personal Injury Case Manager

Joyce grew up in Texas, but has lived in Lakeland since 1992. She has a broad range of experience in a variety of industries and has worked in the legal field for over 18 years.

Joyce joined Echemendia Law Firm in 2013 and now heads up our Personal Injury Department. She is dedicated and tenacious and has a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas of personal injury.

She leads an active life away from the office and enjoys fishing, bicycling. traveling and spending time with her children and friends.

Yesi Lopez - Criminal Law Paralegal

Yesi has lived in Central Florida all of her life. She earned an Associate in Science Degree specializing in Legal Assistant studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice.

Yesi joined the Echemendia Law Firm in 2010 as a receptionist and was later promoted to Criminal Law Paralegal.

She recently married the love of her life and enjoys spending time with her new husband and family and friends in her free time.


Angie Fox - Family Law Paralegal

Angie was born and raised in Polk County.  She has a broad range of experience in various areas of law, but has spent the last 17 years working extensively in family law matters.  .

Angie joined the firm in 2016.  She is knowledgeable and experienced in all areas of family law and is a no-nonsense go-getter.

Away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Rob, her children and her four granddaughters.