Bay Area Vocational Experts' Members

Marlis Bruns

Marlis Bruns
Stevenson and Bruns
Vocational Consultants
10 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 110
San Ramon, CA 94552
Tel: (925) 820-5584

Marlis Bruns

Marlis Bruns is a fellow in the American Board of Vocational Experts and a member of the California Association of Career Development. She earned her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Golden Gate University in 2002 and participated in post-graduate course work in Career Development through John F. Kennedy University in 2004.

Marlis has been a partner in the vocational consulting firm, Stevenson and Bruns, since October 2001. She specializes in family law and has qualified as an expert in Contra Costa, Solano, San Mateo and Alameda counties. In 2005, she co-authored the Standards of Practice for Vocational Evaluations in California Family Law. She has presented on topics related to vocational evaluations in family law cases to the Contra Costa County Bar Association/ Family Law Section, American Board of Vocational Experts, Collaborative Law Association of Contra Costa County, Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, Alameda County Family Lawyers Association and the State Bar of California.

Robert B. Cottle, Ed. D, ABVE

Robert B. Cottle, Ed. D, ABVE
2950 Buskirk Avenue, Suite 300
Walnut Creek, California 94597
Tel: (925) 933-1800
Fax: (925) 933-2181

Robert Cottle

Robert B. Cottle, Ed. D is a Diplomate in the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE) and a Certified Disability Management Specialist (CDMS). Dr. Cottle received his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco and his Masters Degree in Organizational Behavior/Communications from Brigham Young University.

Dr. Cottle has worked as a forensic vocational expert in personal injury, employment law, family law and workers’ compensation cases since 1983. He has qualified as an expert in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, San Jose, San Joaquin, Los Angeles, and Orange counties.

Additionally, Dr. Cottle has worked as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in workers’ compensation cases and with veterans’ through the Veterans Administration. He has conducted vocational feasibility studies, earning capacity evaluations, administered aptitude, achievement and interest inventories, written individualize vocational retraining plans and returned individuals’ with physical and psychiatric injuries back into the labor market in over 2500 cases. Dr. Cottle has testified more than 300 times in federal, superior, spousal support and workers’ compensation cases.

Robin Wortley Hammond, MS

Robin Wortley Hammond, M.S.
Career Empowerment
Sacramento, California
(916) 457-5657

Robin Wortley Hammond, M.S.

Robin Wortley Hammond is a vocational expert with more than 15 years experience interviewing, evaluating and counseling clients to assess marketable skills and develop viable vocational plans. She has solid experience with family law cases and assisting workers attempting job market reentry as well as those displaced by layoffs. Robin provides objective forensic analysis, reporting and testimony to clearly understand vocational options and earning capacity in litigation, mediation and collaborative cases. Robin’s practice covers Sacramento, Placer and Yolo Counties.

Robin’s background spans career counseling, outplacement, human resources and training/development for organizational effectiveness, and publishing with a focus on labor market research and reporting. Robin holds a Master’s in Career Counseling from CSU Sacramento, in addition to an MBA in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She is PHR certified with broad knowledge of human resources and hiring practices as well as local job market dynamics and employment conditions. Robin is a member of the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE), the Bay Area Vocational Experts (BAVE), and the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group (SCPG). She is Past-President and served 15 years on the Board of the California Career Development Association (CCDA). She is also a member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA), the Sacramento Area Human Resources Association (SAHRA), and the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Rachel Hawk, M.S., C.R.C., A.B.V.E.

Rachel Hawk, M.S., C.R.C., A.B.V.E.
P.O. Box 342 Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Tel: (707) 823-7889
Fax: (707)823-8861

Rachel Hawk

Ms. Hawk has worked in both the public and private sector as a vocational consultant and expert. Her forensic work involves analysis of family law, worker’s compensation and personal injury cases. Ms. Hawk practices in: Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco and Napa Counties. She administers tests to assess aptitudes and work skills. Ms. Hawk conducts labor market research to assess job availability, wage analysis and training options for re-entry into the labor market.

As a member of Bay Area Vocational Experts (B.A.V.E.) Ms. Hawk helped establish standards used in family law cases. This set of standards was reviewed by peers, attorneys and judges to ensure they met the needs of all involved in family law cases. She is frequently asked to function as the Court’s 730 expert.

Ms. Hawk is a Diplomate with The American Board of Vocational Experts, a member of International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals and active in The Collaborative Council of Sonoma. Ms. Hawk is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor or C.R.C. Ms. Hawk graduated from San Francisco State University with an M.S. degree in Rehabilitation Counseling.

Betty Kohlenberg, M.S., CRC, ABVE

Betty Kohlenberg, M.S., CRC, ABVE
Kohlenberg & Associates Vocational Counseling Services
2309 Noriega Street Box 200 [mailing address only; please call for office address]
San Francisco CA 94122
Tel: (415) 665-6902

Betty Kohlenberg

Betty Kohlenberg has been a vocational counselor and vocational expert in private practice in San Francisco since 1981. Her current practice focuses on vocational evaluations in family law and non-forensic career counseling. She is the author of Work & Divorce: Vocational Evaluations in Family Law, the only guide to the vocational evaluation process in divorce cases. She is the invited author of the textbook chapter Consultation in Marital Dissolution and Family Law, Chapter 16 in Foundations of Forensic Vocational Rehabilitation.

Ms. Kohlenberg’s forensic expertise includes vocational evaluations in litigation for family law, employment law, disability discrimination including ADA and FEHA, personal injury, and ERISA cases. She has been acknowledged as an expert in the nine Bay area counties and in Federal court and is frequently asked to function as the Court’s expert. She has provided vocational advice in collaborative family law cases and her articles have been published in the Collaborative Review.

In addition to her forensic vocational evaluations, Betty Kohlenberg’s career counseling concentrates on assisting midlife and post-college career choices, and on helping people with disabilities negotiate their paths in the world of work. For twelve years, she was the vocational consultant for Positive Resource Center, creating new programs and counseling more than 5000 people living with HIV/AIDS who were considering their work options. 

Ms. Kohlenberg is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and has been awarded the Diplomate status by the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE). Her M.S. from St. Cloud State University is in vocational rehabilitation counseling; she earned her B.A. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ms. Kohlenberg has conducted research and has written for rehabilitation journals as well as writing advice articles for the use of job seekers. She is a co-founder and Board member of the National Working Positive Coalition and a co-founder of the Bay Area Vocational Experts (BAVE). She is the editor and co-author of BAVE’s Vocational Evaluation: Standards of Practice in California Family Law.

Soma McCandless, M.A.

Soma McCandless, M.A.
Soma McCandless Vocational Consulting
1030 El Camino Real #405
Sunnyvale, CA  94087
Tel: (408) 412-1307

Soma McCandless, M.A.

Soma Bhattacharyya McCandless earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her Master’s Degree in Education/Multicultural Counseling from San Diego State University.

She is an experienced vocational counselor specializing in matters related to family law. She has qualified and testified as a vocational expert in Santa Clara, San Mateo and Contra Costa counties.  As an expert, Soma draws from her experience of over fourteen years in the fields of technology, consulting, education and nonprofit.  She is also a skilled career counselor adept at helping clients of diverse backgrounds identify career goals and generate effective job search plans.

Soma is a member of the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE) and a member of the National Career Development Association (NCDA). She is a Certified Practitioner of the Strong Interest Inventory Assessment.

Susan Wise Miller, M.A.

Susan Wise Miller, M.A.

Susan Wise Miller, M.A.

Susan W. Miller, M.A. is a National Certified Career Counselor (NCCC), a Master Career Counselor, (NCDA) and a Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist (CVE).  In addition, she holds Diplomate status in the American Board of Vocational Experts (ABVE).  Ms. Miller received her Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from University of California, Berkeley.

She works as a forensic vocational expert in family law and wrongful termination cases and has qualified as an expert in Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and Santa Clara counties. Ms. Miller has prepared Vocational Examination reports in over 2,800 cases and has testified in over 280 cases.

Susan's company, California Career Services has been the Los Angeles area career counseling service provider for the State Bar of California’s Lawyer Assistance Program and Susan served as the career counselor for for many years, where she wrote columns on job and career issues in response to reader questions.

Ms. Miller was awarded the Career Development Practitioner of the Year Award for 2002-03 by The California Career Development Association. Her company, California Career Services, has a website at

Sandra Schuster, M.P.A.

Sandra Schuster, M.P.A.
Quality Rehabilitation Services, Inc.
Certified Rehabilitation Counselor
Certified Case Manager
Diplomate, American Board of Vocational Experts

161 W. 25th Avenue, Ste. 102D
San Mateo, CA 94403
Tel: (650) 704-2402
Fax: (650) 729-0636

Sandra Schuster

For more than 25 years, Sandra Schuster has worked in the San Francisco Bay Area in the private sector as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor.  In addition to managing her own full caseload, Ms. Schuster has directed and supervised a staff of Vocational Counselors and Job Developers providing vocational rehabilitation services including vocational analyses, testing, research, counseling, plan development, and placement.  Since 1981, Ms. Schuster has been a consultant and vocational expert in family law, workers' compensation and personal injury matters.

In addition, Ms. Schuster maintains a vocational rehabilitation practice serving injured federal employees, disabled teachers, and railroad employees. Ms. Schuster is a member of Bay Area Vocational Experts (BAVE) and, as such, adheres to the standards established in family law cases.  Ms. Schuster, M.P.A., is a Diplomate with the American Board of Vocational Experts, a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Case Manager, and Certified by the U. S. Department of Labor as a Rehabilitation Counselor.  Ms. Schuster is a member of the Collaborative Practice San Mateo County, a multi-disciplinary association of professionals dedicated to resolving disputes without litigation.

Lisa Trustin, M.A.

Lisa Trustin, M.A.
Trustin Vocational Consulting
P.O. Box 1332
Mill Valley, CA 94942
(415) 250-5781

Lisa Trustin, M.A.

Lisa Trustin, M.A., provides expert vocational evaluations and testimony about wage earning capacity and employability issues in litigation cases including marital dissolution, personal injury and employment discrimination, as well as in non-litigated collaborative family law matters. She administers assessment tests to help clarify work skills, interests and aptitudes, and conducts extensive labor market research about job availability, earnings, and training programs for re-entry into the workplace. Lisa also provides vocational planning and coaching to clarify career goals, research training programs, create job search strategies and identify potential barriers. With ten years of additional experience in business development, marketing, journalism, and community outreach, she brings a wide range of experience to her vocational counseling practice.