Thursday, March 28, 2013

Here's What's Happening In Your Neck Of The Woods...

Some of you have been clamoring for a return to less weightier topics than the gay marriage debate...I'm getting all verklempt....why don't you talk amongst yourselves...I'll give you some topics:

  • According to the RJ, mountains of evidence are responsible for the trial on the HOA scheme being pushed into the spring of 2014.
  • Another day, another scandal in family court. This article in the RJ reports that the marshal, Lt. Steve Rushfield, who was in a supervisory position over the groping marshal (who was fired), has been "transferred" to the service of Family Court Judge Frank Sullivan. The RJ deftly points out that Rushfield's "transfer" takes him out of the purview of the court administration because courtroom marshals serve at the pleasure of the individual judge. The article does not say who initiated the transfer, but someone is looking out for Rushfield, whose alleged trouble past in his supervisory role will have a hard time catching up with him.
  • Someone asked what is going on in the HPN case...well, according to 8NewsNow, the jury is hearing closing arguments and could get the case sometime today. Also, if you are not following the coverage, then you have missed out on a lesson in Litigation 101 from Robert Eglet. To quote the linked article, "After five weeks of technical testimony, Eglet summed up his case against the HMO using visuals of three monkeys." Well played, sir. Well played.  
  • Commenters have mentioned wanting to discuss who is jumping ship. Here are some completely unsubstantiated rumors we have heard. It's up to you to confirm their veracity. In the last month, Marquis & Aurbach has had at least 5 attorneys jump ship, while Gordon & Rees has had at least 3 walk the plank, and Greenberg Traurig is rumored to be taking on water, affecting an as of yet unknown quantity of attorneys. We've also heard that the Vegas office of Glaser Weil is closing, displacing a whopping total of 1 attorneys.
  • Finally, one of our commenters who is super awesome, at least that is what s/he promises, is jumping ship. Any recommendations on where s/he should land?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

US Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument On Prop 8 And DOMA

In the unlikely event you have not heard, today the US Supreme Court begins hearing oral argument on two gay marriage related cases--one with regard to California's Proposition 8 and the other with regard to the federal Defense of Marriage Act. While either one of these cases alone would be a big deal, the fact that the Court is hearing both has some speculating that these oral arguments will be historic hallmarks in the battle for equal rights for gays. There are any number of possible outcomes which have been over-analyzed by the media in the last few weeks, but we want to know what you think.

Although you can find coverage on it just about anywhere, here is CNN's live blog which is updating throughout the two hearings. Also, the Supreme Court has indicated it will have audio recordings of the oral argument up on its website within two hours after the hearings if you want to hear it yourself.

What are your predictions and thoughts?

ed.  The audio and written transcripts for Hollingsworth v. Perry (Prop 8) from today are already available here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dammit Jim! I'm a Doctor, Not a Dean.

Yesterday, UNLV's Boyd School of law announced the selection of its new dean, Daniel W. Hamilton. Dr. Hamilton (Dr. because he has a Ph.D in American legal history from Harvard) is joining us from his current position at the University of Illinois College of Law and expected to start on July 1, 2013.  Congratulations to him and good luck!

Does anyone have any insight on this selection? Good idea or bad idea? Was it really necessary to outsource this position to Illinois? Isn't the dean just a ceremonial figurehead who makes excuses for why the school is charging so much to students who can't find jobs? Couldn't we have just offered them Judge Miley?

Also, on an unrelated note--how about them Rebels? Maybe they should change their nickname from the Runnin' Rebels to the One 'n' Done Rebels. Did that completely bust your bracket? I didn't think so.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Legislative Update: The Phantom Menace

Much like the Galactic Senate in Episode I, there is intrigue afoot in the Nevada legislature and one of our own is the midst of it. That person has the lobbyists and liberal media confounded by his actions, but it is not year clear whether he is more of a Jar Jar or a Palpatine--though recent developments lend credence to the latter.

Yesterday, the Las Vegas Sun ran a column that asked, "What's Michael Roberson's game?" We won't rehash that article here, but it questions Roberson's aggressive actions that appear to have some ulterior motive other than the best interest of constituents.

Then, last night, Roberson was responsible for slipping a duplicate construction defects reform bill past the snoozing sentries of the Democrats. According to another article from the Sun, late last night (on the last day to submit new bills), SB 411 was introduced and the Senate voted to send it to the Commerce and Labor committee. The subterfuge was that the construction defect portion of the bill is duplicative of another bill, SB 161, which is before the Senate Judiciary committee headed by Tick Segerblom.  Go back and look again at SB 411--you'll notice that it does not identify itself as a construction defect reform bill, but rather summarizes it as a bill making various changes related to real property and leading off with something about mortgage lending. Apparently no one read past the first page and voted to send the bill to committee, thereby accomplishing Roberson's (nefarious?) purpose of making sure the construction defect bill is heard. Very clever.

Who knows Roberson? Does he have greater political aspirations? Is he just up to no good in furtherance of the conservative principles of the Evil Empire? Do any of you care? Are you tracking the legislature? What other bills should we be watching?

Ed.- The Sun has another article called "Why the Construction Defect Fight Is Likely to Get Nasty this Session."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Firm Spotlight: McDonald Carano Wilson

In light of Andrew Gordon's recent confirmation to the federal bench, we thought we would throw the firm spotlight on the firm that launched him into that position:  McDonald Carano Wilson LLP.

According to the firm website, MCW was started in 1949 and now employs over 50 attorneys between its Reno and Las Vegas offices. Apparently, Andy Gordon is not the only judge to come from the ranks of MCW, others include US District Judge Larry Hicks, US District Judge Miranda Du, US Magistrate Judge Valerie Cooke, and State District Court Judge Deborah Schumacher.

MCW covers a variety of practice areas including: Commercial & Complex Litigation; Corporate Law & Business Transactions; Real Estate & Land Use Planning; Energy, Environment & Natural Resources; Gaming & Administrative Law; Tax Law; Trusts & Estates; Creditors' Rights & Bankruptcy; Construction Law; Employment & Labor Law; Appellate; Intellectual Property and Government Affairs & Advocacy.

So, what can you tell us about MCW. Any superstar associates that will be the next federal appointment? Would you want to work for them? Are they overrated?

Who is McDonald Carano Wilson and why should I care?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

UNLV Boyd School of Law Ranked #68

As a commenter already mentioned, the new US News & World Report Rankings were posted this week. According to the Sun, the UNLV Boyd School of Law achieved its highest ranking ever when it tied for #68 with 8 other schools. The best quote from the article comes from Interim Dean Nancy Rappaport, "The ranking is great for the school, but she urged prospective students to also note any school’s bar passage and job placement rates."  

Congratulations to Boyd's faculty, staff, students, and alumni on moving on up the rankings in the short time it has been in existence. As much fun as it is to mock, it's nice to have a local law school to churn out future members of the local bar and judiciary. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Your Suggestions For New Nominee

Now that Judge Cadish has withdrawn her nomination and Andy Gordon was confirmed without a single opposing vote, there are just two vacancies in the federal judiciary for Nevada. One seat is being held for Jennie Dorsey.  Senator Heller has announced that he is still vetting her, but won't block her nomination. Not sure how that works, but good for her.

In that same article from the Sun, Senator Heller indicated that he and Senator Reid are working together to come up with a suggestion for President Obama's next nominee. It sounds like they need our help. Assuming that both senators and/or their staffers religiously follow this blog, please put your suggestions for the next nominee in the comments below. According to USCourts.gov, the Constitution sets forth no specific requirements to be a federal judge, but Congress has developed their own informal criteria. Given that information, the only requirement we suggest you consider is that they be a licensed Nevada attorney.

The speaker yields the floor to the Senators from Las Vegas Law Blog...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cadish Withdraws Her Nomination To Federal Bench

As some of you have already observed and commented on other posts, it was widely reported Friday that Judge Elissa Cadish withdrew her nomination to the federal bench. According to an article from the AP, her reasoning was a hope that a speedy nomination for someone else would take place by withdrawing hers. She also mentioned the fact that she plans to run for re-election in Clark County in 2014 and the federal judicial nominee code of conduct (who knew) advises nominees to refrain from political activity.

In the comments to this opinion piece from Steve Sebelius of the RJ, some readers opined that the current system where a senator from the nominee's state (by refusing to sign the blue slip) can block the approval process is a good thing and served a vital role in this instance. However, Sebelius suggests that it is time to do away with this privilege that puts one person's opinion ahead of everyone else. Do you think it is a good thing or a bad thing? Does it give a senator too much power in the nomination process?

While we appreciate Judge Cadish (ostensibly) showing concern for the citizens of Nevada by withdrawing her nomination, it raises some other concerns. Was it a mistake for Cadish to answer that survey question like she did? Is there a better way to select judges (appointment, maybe)? What will happen to Jennie Dorsey's nomination (although Andrew Gordon is expected to be confirmed soon, Dorsey is still waiting for Senator Heller to sign the blue slip to start the process for her)? Has Dorsey done something like Cadish to cause Senator Heller to hold up the process or is Senator Heller simply a sexist?

Finally, if anyone has any insight in to how Judge Cadish decided it was time to withdraw her nomination (was it of her own accord or did Senator Reid tell her it's time), we would love to hear what you know.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Firm Spotlight: Lionel Sawyer & Collins

Vegas Inc. has an article up this morning about who stands to gain and lose from the newly announced Resorts World. The Asian themed resort will be going in where the skeleton of Echelon now stands just to the south of Circus Circus and promises to offer a replica of the great wall of China and pandas! More importantly, it offers a much needed boost to at least some parts of the local economy.

One part of the article mentions that the law firm that stands to gain the most will be Lionel Sawyer & Collins, who will be advising the Genting Group on regulatory matters. For the sake of the uninitiated, or for those who may be searching for information on Lionel Sawyer & Collins, let's shed some light on the topic. 

According to its website, LSC is "the largest private law firm in Nevada. We are a full service business and litigation law firm serving clients from our offices in Las Vegas, Reno, and Carson City, Nevada. Our practice includes real estate, employment and labor, health care, gaming, litigation, estate planning, intellectual property, regulatory, utilities, environmental, mining, government relations, lobbying, legislative, land use, tax, energy, telecommunications, water and business law. Our gaming practice is the largest gaming practice in the world."

So, enlightened readers, please fill us in on the veracity of that information. Is LSC the largest private firm in Nevada? Does it really have the largest gaming practice in the world? Is there anything LSC can't do? Are those the reasons it was selected by Genting Group? What's it like to work there? 

To paraphrase a recent comment on this blog, "Who is Lionel Sawyer & Collins and why should I care?"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

With Markell & Riegle Going, What Happens Next?

With word that Judge Markell is going to be stepping down in July, in addition to the rumors that Judge Riegle is also on her way out, let's take this opportunity to educate and speculate. According to 28 USC § 152, new judges will be appointed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and will serve a term of 14 years.  

Anyone know how they go about making their selection? Anyone have an idea of who the next BAM is going to be?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Judge Markell To Resign?

Word on the street is that the Honorable Bruce A. Markell from our Bankruptcy Court tendered his resignation today, effective July 10, so he can go teach at Florida State University College of Law.

Can anyone confirm or deny this rumor?