Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Post-Bar/Summer Vacation

While taking the bar can be a rewarding experience, it is most rewarding if it is followed by a nice post-bar exam vacation. In fact, any life can be better with a little vacation. Since today is the last day of July and we've only got a month before school starts, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about vacation ideas. What are the best spots for a post-bar/end of summer getaway? Let's put your budget at $2,000 and no longer than a week. Where do you like to go? Where do you recommend? Do you go camping or do staycations? Do you drive or fly? Do you take the kids or leave them with grandma?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Stupid Motorists


  • Judge Villani granted a request to stay the hearing on Judge Steven Jones that was to take place before the Commission on Judicial Discipline this week. It is now continued at least 45 days. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Sheldon Adelson and the Las Vegas Sands Corp. are trying to get Richard Suen's $70 million judgment thrown out. [ABCNews]
  • The driver of a tour bus in Arizona that was flipped over in flood waters may face charges under Arizona's "stupid motorist law" or, as it is know around these parts, the "Arizona motorist law." [Las Vegas Sun]
  • A political science teacher seeking to challenge issuance of a liquor permit to Walmart is claiming the $750 fee he would have to pay is a poll tax. What do you think? [RJ]
  • The bar exam starts today. Good luck! Hope you remembered to study the commercial paper section! Speaking of--what was the most obscure topic that came up when you took the bar?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Firm Spotlight: Half Price Lawyers

Today, VegasInc. is running a story called "The rise of retail law" focusing primarily on a popular topic of conversation around here:  Glenn Truitt and Half Price Lawyers.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pleading Friday


  • Currently suspended from the bench, and with a hearing scheduled before the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline next week, family court judge Steven Jones and his attorney, Jim Jimmerson, are trying to avoid next week's spectacle by seeking a last minute TRO. Special Counsel Kathleen Paustian claims that blocking the hearing would usurp the role of the Commission and violate public policy. Judge Michael Villani will hearing the request for TRO today at 11:00 a.m. [RJ]  
  • OJ Simpson is trying to get parole, but if granted, he will only start his next consecutive sentence instead of being set free. [RJ]
  • A visiting senior judge from Washoe County laid down the law in Clark County by finding a local developer in contempt when he pleaded the Fifth during a judgment debtor examination. FYI, pleading the Fifth does not usually work when they are simply asking your name. [RJ]
  • The Metro Use of Force Review Board was unhappy with Sheriff Doug Gillespie's decision to ignore their recommendation. [8NewsNow]
  • Congrats to the expanding Lewis & Roca, who announced a merger with a Denver firm called Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons. The new firm will be called Lewis Roca Rothgerber. [VegasInc.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 2013 Bar Exam

Well folks, it's that time of year again. Starting next Tuesday, hundreds of law grads will endure three grueling days of examination. Since we know that more than a few of those taking the exam are looking for last minute tips or advice, here's your chance. If you need advice ask, if you have some give it. Also, if you have a great bar horror story, please feel free to share.

To start us off, we recently received an inquiry from someone asking if the February bar in Nevada is less competitive than the July bar? What do you think?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Let's Go To Lake Tahoe!


  • According to court minutes, Constable John Bonaventura and his attorney Robert Pool left a settlement conference without permission at the federal courthouse yesterday. Bonaventura and Pool dispute that is what happened and intend to file a motion to correct the minutes. [RJ]
  • A decision will be handed down on OJ Simpson's request for a new trial within the next few weeks. MyNews3 has an interview with Judge Linda Bell to accompany this story in which she said she still has some writing to do. (It looks like she is getting a positive, early start on her retention campaign.) [MyNews3]
  • Tomorrow kicks off the annual state bar convention at Lake Tahoe. Is anyone going? Is it  worthwhile to attend? Is there a reason they don't hold them in Vegas? Do you have a better idea?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just Another Day In Paradise, Nevada

  • LV Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie opted to, contrary to the recommendation of the Use of Force Board, not fire an officer who shot someone after mistaking the shiny sticker on a hat for a gun. Glad to know that the bureaucracy is working like it is supposed to. [RJ]
  • Las Vegas homebuilder Paul Wagner, who was found guilty of charges related to over $18 million in mortgage fraud last fall was sentenced to 14 years in prison. The AUSAs wanted 17 and 1/2 years, but Wagner's defense attorney Mitchell Posin put on Wagner's wife and other witnesses to secure a lower sentence. [RJ]
  • The I-Team took a look at publicly available county and city salaries. Nice work if you can get it. [8NewsNow, Salary Tracker]
  • For all the ambulance chasers out there, this probably isn't anything new, but the Las Vegas Sun has a list of the 10 most accident-prone intersections in the valley. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Here's another heart-warming tale about an HOA seeking to fine someone...for not planting enough trees...and only recognizing the fact after he lived there for 11 years. [KTNV]

Monday, July 22, 2013

Conviction

Over the weekend, the RJ ran a follow up piece on the death of David Schubert--detailing how alcohol abuse and hatred towards the judge that convicted him kept his life in a downward spiral. One of the details was that his ex-girlfriend sought a protective order in which she mentioned that he was obsessed with getting back at Judge Carolyn Ellsworth. That leads to our topic for today.

How do judges handle the burden of convicting people, sentencing them to prison, and completely altering their lives? Surely, every criminal judge, and prosecutor for that matter, must be acutely aware of the impact of what they do and the fact that there will be people who are mad at them and seeking revenge. So, how do they handle life with that hanging over their heads? Are those judges and prosecutors always watching their back? Is it the conviction of their beliefs that allows them to do it or is it the motivation of their next paycheck?

Now to be clear, we're not commenting on whether what Judge Ellsworth did was right or wrong. There will be differing opinions on that. What we want to know is how do judges/attorneys handle that specific pressure? We know some turn to alcohol and drugs, but is there something they do so they don't end up living a life of paranoia?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Debate Rages On

Was law school a worthwhile investment? You probably only need to ask a few attorneys before you find out there is no overwhelming agreement about the answer to that question. However, a recent study tries to help by monetizing the value of a law degree.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

David Schubert Found Dead

As reported by the RJ and the Las Vegas Sun, former district attorney David Schubert was found dead in his home this morning. 8NewsNow's I-Team is reporting that his death was possibly due to a drug overdose. He is survived by two children.

We know David was a friend and colleague to many of you. Regardless of what you might think about his actions, it is unfortunate that his life ended this way.

We hope that any of you who are struggling, with drugs, alcohol, depression or for any other reason, will reach out for help. Here's the contact information for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers:

Confidential help from a fellow lawyer is a phone call away
Toll Free: 866-828-0022
or
775-322-2154
Coe Swobe, LCL Coordinator
If you, or any lawyer in Nevada, are in need of confidential assistance with an alcohol, drug, depression, stress or gambling problem, help is readily available through the LCL Hotline.When calling, leave your first name and telephone number. A fellow lawyer, who has also had problems, will call you back. You'll be listened to with an understanding heart rather than scorn, judgment and condemnation. You can talk frankly. The person returning your call is solving problems just like yours, and is living happily and usefully doing so.

On The Record

Court reporters are (at least for the moment) still an integral part of most of our legal practices. They are, perhaps, some of the most professional individuals involved in our profession. Most of the time they sit quietly at the end of the table tapping away as they listen, silently judging you and yet rarely commenting or laughing at your mistakes.

Most of you probably have your go-to reporting service that you call whenever you have the option. We want to know who you use and why? Do they always goes the extra mile? Maybe the turnaround time is what they promise or they're just pleasant to deal with. Or, for the construction defect gang, is it because they have better cookies? Anyone have any funny court reporter stories?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

At The Sound Of The Chime, The Time Will Be 4:20

The I-Team at 8NewsNow has a piece up about the coming legal marijuana dispensaries in Nevada. The legislature cleared the way earlier this year to make possible what voters okayed nearly a decade ago and the first dispensary is expected to open next April.

We want to know what you think about medical marijuana and not-so-medical marijuana in Nevada. How will this affect business for criminal defense attorneys? How will this affect their character and fitness reviews? Will medical marijuana lead to full on legalization? Will this lower my taxes? What does this do for "enthusiasts" who like to grow their own?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Unredacted

Thanks to the crack document review team at the RJ, we now know have an idea of who started the HOA scandal investigation into Nancy Quon and Leon Benzer....

Friday, July 12, 2013

Trespass To Chattels

This has already been an interesting year with regard to animal law. Last month, we finally saw some justice for Turk, the unfortunately-deceased, helmeted guinea fowl. Just two weeks ago, police officers in Hawthorne, California, drew national attention to the issue when they shot the Rottweiler of a guy they arrested for videoing them while they were on another call. (Warning: if you seek out the video, be careful--it can be very disturbing.) In Florida, a man was arrested for posting pictures on Facebook of him and his family riding a manatee. In Canada, Walmart fired an employee who asked a customer not to leave his Newfoundland dog in the car on a hot day.

Yesterday, the RJ published a story about a protest at the RJC as a result of a Metro officer allegedly deliberately running over a woman's 45-pound Australian shepherd mix. According to the article, in May of this year, the dog got out and was running toward some children, when the officer, deciding to serve and protect, opted to run over the dog with his cruiser. The dog lived long enough to be taken to the vet where the owner had it euthanized.

If you are, or ever have been a pet owner, it's sometimes difficult to accept that your favorite furry family member is simply chattel. For those of you who are not too keen on animals, it can be hard to sympathize with people who seen animal death as more akin to murder than trespass to chattels. District Attorney Steve Wolfson recently indicated his office will be tough on animal crime and cruelty.

What do you think about animals and the law? Is the law fine as it is? Was this officer over the line in running down the dog? Should an officer be able to break your window if you leave a dog in a hot car? Or are your pets simply chattel for which money damages easily remedies any trespass?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'm On The Internets

We live in a digital age. Email addresses are practically required (EDCR 7.20 says that the first page of every pleading shall have the attorney's email address or state "no email address"). Many of you have Twitter.  And pretty much every firm and/or solo practitioner has a web page.

What we want to know today is, how important is your webpage? Is it simply today's equivalent of a yellow pages listing so that people know you're out there or does it need to offer updated valuable content as well? Is it okay to be using the same page you used five years ago or does it need to be dynamic? As far as websites go, is there a difference between what a solo practioner needs versus what a firm needs? Finally, who do you think has the best law firm/solo practioner web page?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Untouchables


  • Three marshals testified before a federal grand jury yesterday regarding allegations against Steve Rushfield and his actions at the family court. One of the marshals said they didn't report anything because they were scared for their jobs and Rushfield, who they believed had the ear of the judges, "walks around like he's untouchable." You may recall, Rushfield left his supervisory role and is now a regular marshal for one of the family court judges. [RJ]
  • Congratulations to Judge Jennifer Dorsey who was confirmed by the Senate yesterday as Nevada's newest federal court judge. That leaves just one vacancy on Nevada's federal bench (not counting the pending bankruptcy retirements/resignations). [KTNV]
  • Henderson police released police reports about Anthony Mitchell that indicate Mitchell and/or his father may have been relaying the position of police units to the subject of the domestic violence investigation. Maybe that Third Amendment issue will not be ripe for other reasons. [RJ, Fox5Vegas]
  • Federal magistrates will be having hearings today on 3.1 million pages of documents related to the HOA scandal. [RJ]
  • As the fire on Mt. Charleston begins to make its way into Kyle Canyon, one resident has refused to evacuate and is staying to protect his home. What do you think about this? Does he have a right to stay and try to protect his home or does his right end when the government orders evacuation and his decision to stay could potentially put the lives of others at risk? [Las Vegas Sun]

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

LVRJ 2013 Judicial Performance Evaluation

As we mentioned in the prior post, the Las Vegas Review Journal is currently working with Downey Research on gathering data for its 2013 Judicial Performance Evaluation. For those of you that may be unaware, this information is usually published in the RJ as a series called "Judging the Judges" that lets voters in our community know what lawyers think about our elected judges. In other words, its our best chance to inform the electorate who should stay and who should go.

We strongly encourage your participation in the survey, as the more lawyers that participate, the more accurate the data. Sorry, paralegals and secretaries, you have to be a lawyer to participate, but please encourage your attorneys to take the online survey. If you have not yet received your invitation to participate in the survey, but would like one, please contact Nancy Downey at (702) 461-9571 or nancy@downeyresearch.com.

Election 2014 Campaign Kickoff


  • Today the full Senate votes on whether to confirm the appointment of Jennie Dorsey as a federal judge. Senator Dean Heller has already said he won't confirm her as a result of the issues surrounding campaign contributions from Dorsey's firm at the time of her appointment. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Yesterday, local attorney/State Senator Mark Hutchison announced on Twitter (@HutchforNevada) that he will be running for Lieutenant Governor in 2014. He was quickly endorsed by attorney/former federal judge/Governor Brian Sandoval (@BrianSandoval)--which pundit Jon Ralston interprets as a coordinated effort by Sandoval to handpick a potential successor if Sandoval runs for the Senate in 2016. [Ralston Reports]
  • An update on the criminal case against attorney Brian Bloomfield, with the trial getting back on track. [RJ]
  • The Supreme Court made two rulings about venue last week: Howard Hughes Company's complaint against the Clark County Assessor could properly be brought in the First District Court and the Mountain View fire case, which was transferred from Pahrump to Clark County, was deemed to have been transferred improperly and the Nye County judge has to look at having the trial in Tonopah if Pahrump is not a viable option. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • A couple of weeks ago, the RJ and Downey Research sent out letters for the 2013 Judging the Judges survey. If you got it, make sure you fill it out so that your opinion on the judges can be counted and can help voters in their decisions next year. Yes, it is that time again. With Hutchison announcing he is running for Lt. Governor, we can confirm that midterm election 2014 is already under way. We'll definitely have more posts on this in the future, but what are you hearing about will be running for the judgeships in Clark County? Those people who are running have less than 6 months to make up their mind. Rumors have been going around that among those not seeking to be retained will be: Judges James Bixler, Allan Earl, Ken Cory, Valorie Vega, and Doug Smith. It has also been mentioned that Abbi Silver may run for the Supreme Court. Anyone want to speculate who else will be making moves?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Let The Right Ones In

Quick quiz: What rights are you afforded by virtue of the Third Amendment?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Baby, You're A Firework.


  • Judge Adair will sentence Dr. Desai and Ronald Lakeman on September 5, 2013. The jury foreman is quoted as saying about the verdict that he hopes "it sends a strong message that this sort of behavior won't be tolerated." Good to know someone is looking out for the best interests of the community. [RJ]
  • The RJ's John L. Smith made a lame joke at our expense--saying that the devil and Desai were standing in the courthouse and while it was easy to spot Desai, it was difficult to spot the devil with so many attorneys milling around. If you want to thank Mr. Smith for his lame joke or give him feedback, his email address is jsmith@reviewjournal.com. [RJ]
  • Speaking of email addresses, Judge Doug Smith will soon be deciding whether a conservative group has a right to teachers' email addresses. Complicating the matter is the fact that the group is trying to encourage teachers to drop the union. The school district's counsel, Dan Polsenberg, says that making the addresses available will lead to spam and will hamper teachers' ability to communicate effectively with parents. [Las Vegas Sun, RJ]
  • Judge Kathleen Delaney granted defense counsel's request for a delay in the trial of Ammar Harris for kidnapping and sexual assault, which in turn will affect his death penalty trial relating to the Maserati/exploding taxi incident that took place earlier this year. [RJ]
  • We hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July. Please don't drink and drive. Also, try not to start fires, it's hot enough as it is. A list of festivities is available here. [8NewsNow]
  • Speaking of the Fourth, isn't it great when holidays fall on a Thursday, enhancing that natural tendency for secretaries everywhere to "call in sick" on Friday?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Out Of The Frying Pan, Into the Fire


  • First, the big news. The Desai/Lakeman jury returned its verdict last night bringing us closer to resolution on this long, painful process resulting from Hepatitis C infections that started in 2008. The jury found Dr. Dipak Desai guilty of second degree murder and 26 other counts. It found Ronald Lakeman, Desai's nurse anesthetist guilty of 16 counts, and not guilt on 11 others including the murder charge. Congrats to the prosecutors, Michael Staudher and Pamela Weckerly. Desai's attorney Richard Wright, and Lakeman's attorney, Rick Santacroce, both indicated they would appealing the verdict, natch. [RJ, Las Vegas Sun]
  • One of the nation's busiest appellate courts (our esteemed Supreme Court) will hear oral argument tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. (you can watch the live webstream here) about the fate of Onion, the accidental, 120 pound, toddler-killing Mastiff. Great example of why an intermediate appellate court would be worthwhile. [RJ]
  • The Flamingo DMV was closed due to air conditioning problems yesterday. How are your offices holding up in the heat? Any of you working in actual sweat shops this week? [Fox5Vegas]

Monday, July 1, 2013

Like Moths To The Flame


  • This piece on people flocking to Death Valley when it is approaching record-setting temperatures, naturally includes, but who else, an attorney. At least he's from California. [RJ]
  • Here's a profile on a trial tech from Lawyer Solutions Group who ignores the directions of Sheldon Adelson to deliver what the trial attorney expected. [RJ]
  • And then here's a profile on two general coun$el for gaming companies: Timothy Donovan at Ceasars Entertainment, and Brian Larson at Boyd Gaming. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Federal student loan interest rates have doubled, but don't panic, a fix is likely to happen in the next few week. [Las Vegas Sun]