Phelan Petty’s Administrative Team
Mary Jean Colwell
Mary Jean has lived in Richmond since 1980 and worked as a public-school history teacher for 45 years. She began her career in education at Milford High School in Connecticut, where she taught for 20 years. One of her most troublesome students was her son and our law firm’s founding partner, Michael Phelan.
Later, Mary Jean moved to Virginia and continued her career by teaching social studies in Chesterfield County for 25 years, where she helped create the American studies curriculum and the humanities program at Monacan High School.
Mary Jean currently serves as a receptionist at Phelan Petty. Her hobbies include reading British mysteries, traveling with friends, and spending time at the beach. She also loves to travel and has walked across England in addition to taking trips to Italy and Greece.
- University of Richmond
- Albertus Magnus College
- University of Southern Connecticut
- Taft Institute
- Woodrow Wilson Program, Princeton University
Irina Winder was born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and later moved to Riga, Latvia to pursue a law degree. She is fluent in Russian and English.
Irina assists on medical malpractice and wrongful death lawsuits, many of which have resulted in multimillion-dollar verdicts. She assisted attorneys in preparation of cases to trial, attending more than 15 trials. Irina’s energy, work ethic, and positive attitude enrich the firm’s team through all aspects of a case.
Irina enjoys reading, biking, traveling, hitting the gym and partaking in the vibrant local community and nightlife in Richmond. Irina lives in the Richmond area with her husband, Casey, her son, Christian, and their precious dog, Landon.
- A.A.S., J. Sargeant Reynolds
- Baltic-Russian Institute (BRI)
- Moscow University of Statistics and Economics (Correspondence School)
Deborah Gardner was born and raised in Virginia and has called the Richmond area home since 1998.
Deborah has been a paralegal since 1994, working on both plaintiff’s and defendant’s cases. Her heart is in plaintiff’s personal injury and she has assisted in numerous complex litigation and mass torts cases including motor vehicle accident, products liability, premises liability, traumatic brain injury, childhood lead poisoning, and Baycol, Fen-Phen and Sulzer Hip Implant mass tort actions.
Deborah currently resides in New Kent County and enjoys traveling, reading, music and spending time with friends and family, especially her 6-year-old nephew, Brayden.
- AA, Germanna Community College
- BA, Mary Washington College
- ABA-Approved Certificate, National Center for Paralegal Training