Monday, April 29, 2013

How Much Is That Judgeship In The Window?

Buried late in the Friday night news cycle, the Las Vegas Review Journal published a startling revelation regarding Senator Harry Reid and President Obama's nomination of Jennie Dorsey for the federal bench.

Rick Harris Is Throwing An "I Survived The End Of The World Party" And You're Invited!

Rick Harris, of the Richard Harris Law Firm, is throwing his annual party this Friday and you're invited! Generally regarded as one of the two annual law firm parties to which everyone is invited, it always makes for a great time. They've got good food, good music (featuring Rick), and lots of people. You never know who you will see there. (FYI- this is also the same night as First Friday--a great time to make the trip downtown, just make sure you watch where you park.)

Friday, April 26, 2013

What To Do When You Can't Find A Job

As we near the end of the school year, there are a lot of nervous 3Ls out there wondering what will become of them. Above the Law reported today that recent NALP job numbers are not looking good for entry level associates. This should not be too surprising to this class of 3Ls who knew it was bad going in, but are probably still caught off guard by the slow recovery and the realization that things are still bleak three years later.

With that in mind, what would you tell a soon to be new graduate who doesn't have a job yet? First and foremost, we would recommend studying hard for the bar so that you make sure you pass the first time. Nothing hampers the job search like having to tell them you've got to retake the bar in February. Next, check out the sources listed here. After that, it's kind of a crap shoot. Does anyone recommend hanging a shingle or is it better to just take anything that comes your way (including sandwich artist at Subway)? Are there internships or volunteer opportunities that are more likely to get you to hire an entry level associate?

So, what should you do when you can't find a job?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Job Tips: When Should You Ask For A Raise?

In our last Job Tips about accepting counteroffers, some of you questioned why Wilma had not asked for a raise. With that in mind, we present a new hypothetical for your consideration.

Wilma is now a fourth year associate working for Flintstone and Associates. She is happy with her job, but feels she is underpaid. Her starting salary as a new associate was $85,000. At the end of her first year, Mr. Flintstone told her that she was doing a good job and gave her a $5,000 raise. At the end of the second year, Mr. Flintstone gave her a $10,000 raise, bringing her gross income to $100,000 per year. Along with the raise he, told her that her hours were good, but he expected more from her in the coming year. At the end of the third year, Wilma did not get a raise. During her year end review, Mr. Flintstone acknowledged that she had met the hourly requirement he set for her, but did not mention a raise nor any reason for not giving her one.

It is now four months after the review where she did not get a raise and Wilma is thinking about asking for one, so she wrote us asking for advice. Assuming that Wilma's work product continues to be satisfactory, when should she ask for a raise? Should she do it now? Should she wait for the next year end review? Is she entitled to a yearly raise? What is the best way for her to address this issue with Mr. Flintstone?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Administrative Professionals' Day

Tomorrow, April 24, is Secretaries Administrative Professionals' day. My secretary insisted that a post be dedicated to this topic before the actual day so that it could serve as a reminder. So, here it is. Do any of you do anything special for your administrative professionals? Do our readers who are administrative professionals have any comments or requests? Where's the best place to take an administrative professional to lunch?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Las Vegas Lawyers In The News

Several of you have been making the news lately. After the jump, we have a list of links to some of your mentions (including video of the Judge Smith "Thank You" incident we covered here).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nevada's Legal Elite

As a public service (and to give our readers a chance to skew the results in favor of the real legal elite), we wish to inform you that tomorrow is the last day to participate in Nevada Business Magazine's annual survey to find Nevada's Legal Elite. This is the crème de la crème of Nevada's attorneys and has nothing to do with how much advertising you buy...or does it? You can view the 2012 elite here

If you are a licensed Nevada attorney, click here to take the survey.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Viva Boston!

First, and foremost, we offer our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to those affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. The tragedy is heartbreaking, but the heroism of the first responders and those who ran toward the blast to help others is heartwarming and a cause for hope.

Here are a few things going on in the news:

  • As reported in the RJ, local attorney Marcus Smith of Jackson Lewis LLP was at the marathon cheering on his wife. Luckily, she finished some 20 minutes before the bombing and both were out of harm's way at the time the explosions occurred.
  • As reported in the RJ, Judge Adair ruled that despite recent strokes, Dr. Desai's trial is going forward next Monday.
  • KTVN reports that Metro says there was no crime committed at the home of retired Judge Donald Mosley last weekend when a 19 year old man was shot in the face. I'm no criminal law expert, but how is there no crime when a firearm goes off in city limits and hits someone in the face? Consent?
  • The I-Team over at 8NewsNow has been reporting on the (now former) Boulder City Police Chief and the Mormon Mafia. The ex-chief Tom Finn, who was fired on Monday, alleges that the city government is controlled by Mormons who are out to get him. The article quotes noted Mongols' attorney, Stephen Stubbs, who had a run in with Finn last summer.
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada has revised its website slightly and now includes a link for "forthcoming opinions." The plan is to have it updated every Wednesday so that the appellate lawyers among us can get a sleepless night knowing that an opinion may be issued in their case the following day. 
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada also released an iOS app mirroring much of the content on its website.  
What else is going on out there?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Nevermind Your Manners! or A Manifest Abuse of Discretion By Judge Doug Smith

On Friday evening, the RJ published an article about District Court Judge Doug Smith getting benchslapped by the Nevada Supreme Court. (For those of you who want to see the actual order, you can download it here.) Basically, a criminal defendant (arrested for possession of narcotics with intent to sell two and half years earlier) got all snippy and said "Thank You" after Judge Smith appointed new counsel for him. Apparently not being one to put up with basic manners, Judge Smith told the Defendant that with an attitude like that, he could sit in jail...for 15 days...WITHOUT BAIL! When the Defendant asked for bail after those 15 days, Judge Smith graciously set bail at $1,000,000.00. (The bond that was originally set back in 2010 was a measly $3,000.00.)

When this issue came before the Nevada Supreme Court, they found that Judge Smith had violated the Nevada Constitution in two ways by denying the Defendant bail for 15 days on a non-capital offense and then setting the bail at an amount which greatly exceeded what he could be expected to pay. The Supreme Court issued a writ of mandamus finding that Judge Smith manifestly abused his discretion and ordering him to: vacate the order setting bail at $1 million; set the bail at the original amount set by justice court ($3,000.00); and recuse himself from presiding over the matter.

Frankly, and unfortunately, these type of stories are not too shocking lately. As the RJ pointed out, Judge Smith has so far refused to release video of the offensive "thank you," but they have a request for its release pending. For now, we don't know how terrible the Defendant's attitude really was, but it seems unlikely there is any set of circumstances that could justify Judge Smith's actions. Accordingly, it is nice to see the Supreme Court of Nevada step up and put a district court judge back in line. For that, Justices Hardesty, Parraguirre, and Cherry--we salute you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Job Tips: Should You Ever Accept A Counteroffer?

Wilma is a third year associate working for Flintstone and Associates. She is not necessarily unhappy with her job, but feels she is underpaid. Accordingly, she starts applying for other jobs and gets an offer from Rubble & Slate LLP. The new job has the raise she wanted and has all the same benefits and job requirements. When she gives Mr. Flintstone her notice, he offers to match the offer from Rubble & Slate, but needs her decision by the end of the day. What do you think she should do? Is it ever a smart idea to accept a counteroffer?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

$500 Million In Punitive Damages!!!


According to 8NewsNow, the jury has reached a verdict in the punitive damages phase of the Health Plan of Nevada hepatitis C trial. Unfortunately for Robert Eglet, he only managed to get 1/5 of the punitive damages he sought. The very kind and generous jury awarded the 3 plaintiffs $270 million in punitive damages from HPN and $230 million from Sierra Health Care for a grand total of $500 MILLION DOLLARS.

Comments, criticisms, and advice on how we can manage our finances to covered increased health insurance premiums are welcome below.

Dressing For Success

To best serve all elements of our readership, today's post is dedicated to clothing. Here's your chance to discuss your opinions on what does and does not qualifying as "dressing for success." Specifically, we want to know your thoughts on appropriate office attire versus appropriate courtroom attire. Are they the same? Are they different--if so, how? Does your office have a dress code? Is it enforced? Do you wear jeans to work on Casual Monday through Thursday as well as Friday? Should judges wear black robes, blue robes, or green robes? Is it appropriate for them to wear sneakers with their robes? Any tips on where to shop?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Big Bucks, No Whammies, Big Bucks, No Whammies....Stop!

Well folks, Robert Eglet, Will Kemp, and our famed Clark County jury pool have done it again! After a harrowing six-week trial, the jury awarded three plaintiffs a total of $24 million against Nevada's largest insurer, the Health Plan of Nevada, finding HPN negligent in its oversight of Dr. Desai. (For full stories, check out Bloomberg, the RJ, or the Sun.) The jury awarded one plaintiff $9 million, while another was awarded $12 million (and not only was she awarded $12 million, but her septuagenarian husband was awarded $3 million for loss of consortium). Next up, Eglet has said that he will press his luck and ask the jury for the largest verdict ever in southern Nevada--punitive damages in the amount of ONE BILLION DOLLARS.  

You have to hand to it Eglet for getting big results, but really, can you get much luckier as a plaintiff's lawyer? First, Judge Walsh and then Judge Williams? Really? And as for the jury, you have to give them credit for not awarding the full amount Eglet was seeking for his married clients ($20 million for her and $5 million for him, but really, how can you award a 71 year old man $3 million for loss of consortium? Isn't there some cap on non-economic damages or does that not apply? We are expecting all of you smart readers to enlighten us on whether we're missing something here and/or why this award is right.

Also, lest he be forgotten, HPN's counsel, D. Lee Roberts, Jr. of Weinberg Wheeler had no comment after the hearing, but we're sure an appeal is in the works.

Finally, the number two headline on the local news last night was that Sheldon Adelson almost caused a mistrial after less than an hour on the stand in the Sands trial. The RJ reports that Mr. Adelson reached down and pulled out some previously undisclosed pamphlets. Apparently, from the time Adelson pulled out the books until the time attorney John O'Malley objected was approximately 80 seconds.  O'Malley asked for a mistrial. For Judge Bare, that 80 seconds, plus the fact that O'Malley appeared to help stack the books, meant he acquiesced for at least a short period of time, so he refused to seat a new jury, but did instruct them to disregard what they saw. (Go ahead and try and unring that bell!)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Best Place To Take Associates/Clerks To Lunch

At the suggestion of one of our commenters (who is obviously a partner looking for advice), here is an opportunity for you to discuss the best places to take associates/clerks to lunch. Obviously, answers are going to vary based on location, but don't let that hold you back (unless your answer is the MAC kitchen--places not accessible to the general public and not subject to health inspector inspections are not eligible).

Also, thanks for reading the blog. According to our calculations, we'll have our 3,000th comment sometime today. We couldn't do it without you!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Do The Crime; Do The Time. But Should You Be Disbarred?

The RJ reported on Friday that local bankruptcy attorney Randolph Goldberg (as seen on tv) has reached a deal with federal prosecutors relating to four counts of tax evasion. His deal, which is subject to approval by Judge Navarro at the May 23 sentencing hearing, involves pleading guilty to one count, serving 18 months in prison, giving up his law license for 2 years, and paying up to $400,000 in restitution.

Understandably, the comments on the article are typical, classic digs at the legal community and raise some valid points. One of the more prominent issues that arise from a situation like this is whether an attorney that commits a crime and serves time should be disbarred. This will obviously be an issue for the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board to address in the coming months, but what do you think should happen? Does it make any difference that this is rather high profile because of his prolific tv commercials?