Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Buckle Up

  • Lower enrollment at Boyd School of Law (110 students instead of 150) means a $3 million budget shortfall. That means the school was counting on $75,000 per student. It also means they're asking the state for more money and looking to create an LLM in gaming law and regulation to compensate for that shortfall. [RJ
  • Curious about the status of the proposed Federal Justice Tower? Here's an article explaining what's going on and what's taking so long. [RJ]
  • The Clark County Commissioners are looking into banning glass bottles on the Strip. [Fox5Vegas]
  • With Labor Day behind us and summer unofficially over, you can officially brace yourself for the campaign ads. The fall general election is 9 weeks from today.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Here Comes Labor Day!

  • Former US Attorney for Nevada Lawrence Semenza II pleaded guilty to failing to file federal individual and corporate tax returns. [RJ]
  • The Clark County Public Defender's office has asked a judge to overturn a 2012 murder conviction because prosecutors didn't reveal they paid rent for witnesses. Witnesses, who allegedly, changed their testimony unexpectedly... [RJ]
  • The City of Reno reluctantly decided to pay its bill to the Las Vegas office of Fisher & Phillips. [RGJ]
  • Although the NHL denied that a team in Vegas is a done deal, it has been revealed that the frontrunner for buying a team here would be producer Jerry Bruckheimer and it would likely be based at the new MGM/AEG arena-the only proposed arena that is definitely being built. [NYRangersBlog]

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Down The Road

As we get ready to head into Labor Day weekend, we are quickly approaching the fall general election and you know what that means! Election time! Judicial campaigns are gearing up again for that final push--which means they're also making a final fundraising push so they can afford to put a sign on every corner in town. We want to know what you're hearing about the election! Are any of the sitting judges making a desperate push for fundraising? Are there going to be any big bombshells dropped in the judicial elections--any October surprises? Has something you've heard convinced you to change your mind about who you'll be voting for this fall? Are you campaigning for any judges? Do you have their signs in your yard? In the coming weeks we'll be looking at all the contests and giving you another chance to weigh in on who should be elected.

Also, for those of you who want something else to talk about:

  • the proposed soccer stadium deal is all about tricking the public into thinking we're not paying for it when we really are. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Medical marijuana shops on Las Vegas Blvd. will be getting a waiver from the neon sign requirement. [RJ]
  • Matt Callister is representing insurance brokers suing the Silver State Insurance Exchange for insurance commissions they didn't get. Wait, isn't Callister also representing people who couldn't get insurance? [RJ]
  •  The headline says it all. "Women stole Rolexes from tourists, hid them in their bodies." [Las Vegas Sun]

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


  • Stephen "Bowtie" Stubbs just got benchslapped by a federal judge in Arizona. In the August 25, 2014, order issued by Judge Paul B. Rosenblatt in case No. CV-13-08192-PCT-PGR, the senior status judge deftly denied Stubb's Motion for Rule 60(b) relief on behalf of Plaintiff Sons of Hell Motorcycle Club. He wrote:
Not only is Mr. Stubbs’ failure to understand and abide by applicable procedural rules
“one of the least compelling excuses that can be offered” to support a Rule 60(b)
motion, Pincay, 389 F.3d at 859; see also, Dela Rosa v. Scottsdale Memorial Health
Systems, Inc
., 136 F.3d 1241, 1244 (9th Cir.1998) (“The fact that an attorney’s
federal practice is rare or infrequent, however, is no excuse for ignoring the rules of
[the] court.”), the plaintiffs’ underlying contention that Mr. Stubbs “is new to Federal
procedures and duties of civil procedure when a motion is filed by another party” is
at the very least a prevarication that represents an unacceptable lack of candor.
  • Judicial candidate Jacob Hafter is keeping himself in the news by asking federal prosecutors in Nevada to take over an investigation into the shooting of a man by BLM officials at Red Rock earlier this year. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The ACLU of Nevada wants the Attorney General to issue an opinion on the Clark County DA's practice of paying rent for witnesses. [RJ]
  • It looks like the strongest contenders to be Las Vegas' first major league team will be either from the NHL or MLS. Yesterday, it was announced that the City has reached a deal with a private partnership to build a downtown soccer stadium provided that the MLS award a team to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated is reporting that NHL expansion to Las Vegas is a 'done deal.' 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Restaurant Week

  • Attorney David Phillips is facing investigation from the State Bar on seven grievances, including one from Judge Elissa Cadish. Phillips is also facing a federal civil lawsuit seeking $10 million in damages stemming from allegations of rape at a legal conference. [RJ]
  • The City of Reno owes the Las Vegas office of Fisher & Phillips over $172,000 in fees, but the City Council voted not to pay it. [RGJ]
  • North Las Vegas begins bulldozing blighted homes. What could possibly go wrong? [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Anyone taking advantage of the great Las Vegas Restaurant Week deals? Not only do you get good food, but it benefits a good cause. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • In case you didn't notice, school is back in session. Please remember to slow down in school zones and anywhere there are lots of pedestrians. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

On Being Of Counsel

The public is not generally aware of the internal structure of law firms. In fact, most lawyers probably aren't aware of that internal structure. Naturally, it depends on the firm, but you will have a hierarchy of attorneys that ranges from pre-bar exam associates to resident gray-haired partner. Somewhere in between those two titles are a variety of different positions. Sometimes firms actually have different levels of associates, where eventually you earn the coveted title of "Senior Associate." Some firms have multiple levels of partnership that the public is never aware about--including office partners and equity partners. Once in a while, you even get the odd firm that refers to its attorneys as "Directors."

Not to be lost among all these positions in a law firm is the mysterious title "Of Counsel." According to Wikipedia, the ABA has four different definitions for the position. What is not clear from those definitions is something some of you already began discussing in the comments last week. Is an associate who gets made "Of Counsel" to a firm getting a promotion?

After publishing Adam Laxalt's performance reviews from Lewis & Roca last week, Jon Ralston is continuing his attack on Laxalt. On his Ralston Reports blog yesterday, Ralston give his assessment of where Laxalt's campaign is headed. Among many other opinions, Ralston concludes that Laxalt is wrong to call the move from associate to "Of Counsel" as a promotion--citing the venerable online resource thefreedictionary.com. Specifically, Ralston says, "Many lawyers who understand what the term means realize it is not a "promotion" unless you consider being taken out of day-to-day legal affairs to be such."

Now the ball is in your court. We know "many lawyers" read this blog and probably understand what that term means better than your local political pundit. So, what do you think? To make it clear, the poll question below is about what you think of the move from associate to "Of Counsel" in general. This is not Laxalt, Lewis & Roca, or Ralston specific. When you hear that someone went from being an associate to "Of Counsel," what do you think? Feel free to give us further enlightenment in the comments.

Generally speaking, is it a promotion to go from the position of "Associate" to "Of Counsel?"

Friday, August 22, 2014

Painted Into A Corner

  • Lewis Roca Rothgerber issued a statement saying they are investigating the security breach that leaked Adam Laxalt's performance evaluations and that the leaked documents did not include other, more favorable evaluations--reiterating that Laxalt is welcome to return to the firm in the future. [RJ; Las Vegas Sun]
  • Here's a look at Nevada's death row through an interview with assistant federal public defender Michael Pescetta. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Whether you get busted for driving under the influence of marijuana might come down to how you perform with the drug in your system--not merely whether the drug is detected. [RJ]
  • A report suggests that Judge Vincent Ochoa lost the endorsement of the Clark County School District police officers after it came to light that he does not grant overnight visits to fathers for the first 6 months of a child's life. Any family court lawyers want to weigh in on this? [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • Thinking about performance evaluations and how horribly they can be misconstrued when summed up in a headline, how do you think your review would be summed up? Give us your best 8 word or less self-evaluations in the comments!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just Another Thursday In Vegas

  • Yesterday, Jon Ralston (@Ralstonreports) published an article on attorney general candidate Adam Laxalt that included a summary of notes from Lewis & Roca's 2012 performance evaluation of Laxalt.  A few hours later, Ralston followed up his initial article by posting Laxalt's own self-evaulation as well as the content of reviews of Laxalt's performance by several attorneys at Lewis & Roca. We'll let you read and judge for yourselves, but to say the least, the reviews are not very flattering. Laxalt's campaign said that the summary was an "improperly and perhaps illegally leaked document" that Laxalt had not previously seen and called the authenticity into question. It also indicated he was speaking with Lewis & Roca about the release of the document. The campaign also provided a letter from the firm earlier this year which indicated Laxalt was welcome to rejoin the firm after the election. Is this the end of Laxalt's chances at AG? Was his performance evaluation fair game? Who will get fired as a result of this? Stay tuned, from what we hear, this story is just getting started. [Las Vegas Sun; RJ; RGJ)
  • Looks like District Attorney Steve Wolfson (who is up for election this fall against someone his office is prosecuting) has another witness-paying situation on his hands. If you recall, after the DA's practice of paying witnesses was brought to light last fall, Wolfson called for an audit of witness payments. No word on how his audit went, but intrepid Las Vegas legal reporter Betsy Barnes (@Betsbarnes) followed up on her initial story and learned that the DA's office has been making rent payments for witnesses and that defense attorneys may not be aware of that fact. [RJ]
  • Congrats to the Mountain Ridge Little League team who are moving on to the Little League World Series Championship game! [RJ]

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Get Knocked Down

  • Say what you want about Stephen "Bowtie" Stubbs, but the guy continues to get clients and publicity. This time Stubbs is representing the man at the center of a video showing five Metro officers struggling to restrain him/beat him at the Vanguard Lounge in June. [Las Vegas Sun; Fox5Vegas]
  • Proving they don't understand a thing about their consumers, the Nevada Transportation Authority gave the ok to 9 taxi limo companies to charge customers additional fees when they use the new "Ride Genie" app. [RJ]
  • The District Attorney's office found a July 2013 shooting by Metro officers to be reasonable and justified. [8NewsNow]
  • Nevada Attorney General candidates Ross Miller and Adam Laxalt have agreed to have their first debate on September 20 in Las Vegas. [RJ]

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Yeah Boy!

  • State Senator/Attorney Justin Jones kicked off a campaign to get universal background checks on gun sales before the public in a 2016 ballot initiative. [RJ]
  • The Cordish Cos., the company hired by the City of Las Vegas to help get it a stadium, is the subject of racial discrimination lawsuits and complaints in three states. Of course, this news was a surprise to the Mayor and City Council. Since Cordish wants public funding, will this affect Las Vegas' chance at getting a Major League Soccer team and stadium? [RJ]
  • The State Transportation Board decided to go forward with the bond/design-build version of Project Neon to expand I15 between Sahara and the Spaghetti Bowl. [8NewsNow]
  • Judge Carolyn Ellsworth closed the battery case against Flavor Flav after he completed a required domestic violence counseling course. [Las Vegas Sun]