Friday, August 30, 2013

Labor Day 2013

  • Yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a decision in Bradford v. Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct. reiterating the longstanding principle that you can only be successful on appeal if you do it in a timely manner. The opinion can be found here. What makes this interesting is that it deals with the efficacy of a marriage performed by Judge Bryce Duckworth after he was sworn in as a judge, but days before he officially took the bench. In a subsequent divorce case, Judge Sandra Pomerenze held that the marriage was not valid. A year after that ruling, the wife decided to appeal.  The Supreme Court concluded that while Pomerenze may have been in error, the appeal was not timely. As is mentioned in an article in the RJ, both Duckworth and Pomerenze (along with all the rest of our judges) are up for election next year. Will this have any impact on their retention campaigns?
  • Speaking of next year's election--fundraising for next year really starts to kick in to a higher gear after Labor Day. Give us a heads up if you know who is planning on running for the bench next year.
  • Now Henderson corrections officers are getting in on the overtime racket with one officer collecting over $84,000 in overtime last year. Here's a solution, put them all on salaryApparently police/fire are always nonexempt under the FLSA. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Robert Langford says the sidewalk chalk protesters who were arrested will likely sue--parties and venue to be determined. [Las Vegas Sun; MyNews3]
  • The Rebels extended their road game losing streak to 23 thanks to some lackluster performances from the offense and special teams. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Have a good three-day weekend and remember not to drink and drive!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It Makes The World Go Round

  • Sheriff Gillespie says the reason he is not running for reelection is because he wasn't willing to commit to another four years. Really? Is that the only reason? [RJ]
  • Chalk up a win for Robert Langford as Steve Wolfson announced that charges against the sidewalk chalk protesters would be dropped since courthouse marshals had directed them to a certain area with their chalk--giving implied permission (not that any permission was needed). [RJ]
  • Nearly a month after the Supreme Court issued an order, the RJ is reporting that Marina Kolias is suspended from practicing law during formal disciplinary hearings against her for an as of yet undetermined amount of misappropriated funds. [RJ]
  • Las Vegas Sands Corp. is paying $47.4 million after gaining money from a gambler connected to drug trafficking. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • CD attorneys get ready for more cookies--new homes sales in Las Vegas are up nearly 70% over last year. [Vegas Inc.]
  • Las Vegas will be joining Miami, Boston, and NYC next year as one of the first cities to get its own top level domain. The new domain will be .vegas.  Now it will be a race to grab! [MyNews3]
  • Heads up. Employees at some of your favorite fast food joints will be going on strike today in an effort to get their wages up to $15/hour or just barely below what most first year associates make. [Fox5Vegas]
  • The UNLV football teams puts its 22 road-game losing streak on the line tonight against Minnesota as college football officially gets under way. Go Rebs!?! [Las Vegas Sun]

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Job Tips: Proper Use Of Firm Facilities

It's a shame that this topic even needs to be brought up, but it seems that the majority of law schools are neglecting a major area of instruction these days that has a dramatic impact on all of us:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Do You Think About Disqus?

What do you think about using Disqus for comments?

To Serve And Protect

  • Sheriff Doug Gillespie announced that he will not be running for reelection in 2014. Let the conspiracy theories begin. [RJ]
  • Constable John Bonaventura and his attorney Robert Pool are in the news again, this time with Pool being chastised by US Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach. [RJ]
  • The RJ's John L. Smith shares his opinion on the sidewalk chalk protesters. [RJ]
  • The Sovereign Citizens woman who was part of a plot to abduct and kill a Metro officer had bail set at $200,000. [8NewsNow]
  • Meanwhile, some of Las Vegas' finest are out handling multiple stand-offs this morning. Thanks to those hard working individuals who put their lives at risk to protect our community.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Back To School

Today marks the first day of school for Clark County and everyone's favorite local law school, William S. Boyd School of Law. In honor of that fact, we want to know if any of you have any great stories from the first day of law school. Any memorable introductions to the Socratic method? Anyone have any advice for the 1Ls who are starting their short and relatively painless journey to unemployed JD today?

Friday, August 23, 2013

See 50 Cent

  • Attorney Paul Wommer, convicted earlier this year for unlawfully structured financial transactions, tax evasion, and filing a false tax return, was sentenced yesterday to 41 months in prison, fined $7,500, and ordered to forfeit $76,000. Next up, potentially losing Nevada bar number #15. [RJ]
  • The Nevada Supreme Court issued a decision about the admissibility of "gangsta rap" lyrics in Homes v. State (spoiler alert: they are). The opinion was authored by Justice Kris Pickering and a dissent was authored by Justice Nancy Saitta--both of which are worth reading for this in depth look at gangsta rap and Justice Saitta's citation to 50 Cent. [129 Nev. Adv. Op. 59]
  • Clark County is hoping to sell the old courthouse for at least $10 million in October. Who wants to speculate on who/what is going to end up at that location? [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Any chances that it will be a law firm name in front of the new High Roller observation wheel? [RJ]

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wow, Clearly A Knockoff

  • Here's a fun piece about Kolesar & Leatham's F. Christopher Austin and the exciting, high-stakes world of trademark enforcement at Las Vegas trade shows. Seriously though, you'd rather do that than sit around all day eating deposition cookies? [VegasInc]
  • The RJ had to go to the University of Houston Law Center to find a professor who "specializes in antitrust issues" to say that Brian Greenspun's suit to stop the RJ from eating the Sun has little chance of succeeding. [RJ
  • In an effort to be the real life Parks and Rec, the Las Vegas City Council gave the okay for Discovery Networks to film a pilot at City Hall called "Vegas 24-7." [MyNews3; RJ]
  • Judge Foley is calling for volunteers to serve with the US District Court of Nevada's Early Mediation Program for Section 1983 Inmates. Anyone ever done this? Sounds like a great opportunity. [Nevada Bar]

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Everyone's Entitled To An Opinion

  • Judge Steven Jones lost another attempt to prevent the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline hearing from going forward. You can read about the details in the link. The more interesting part of this one is that Lisa Willardson (whom the RJ article mentions as having accompanied Jones' counsel, Jim Jimmerson, to the hearing before Judge Kathleen Delaney) decided to post a comment on the article calling out RJ writer Jeff German for inaccurate reporting. Not only that, she also decided to publicly critique Judge Delaney's decision. [RJ; 8NewsNow
  • Judge Doug Smith ruled that the email addresses of Clark County School District teachers are not public record. Anyone want to take a stab at the odds of that decision getting reversed on the inevitable appeal? [RJ]
  • State bar president Alan Lefebvre is making the creation of an intermediate appellate court one of his priorities. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Brian Greenspun, editor of the Las Vegas Sun, sued RJ owner Stephens Media in federal court Tuesday in an attempt to stop the termination of a joint operating agreement between the Sun and the RJ. Greenspun did not name his siblings in the suit, although they were voted to approve the termination. Greenspun's attorney, Leif Reid, suggests the sue is to stop the RJ's monopolistic attempt at "eliminat[ing] the Las Vegas Sun's alternative editorial voice--not just in print, but also on the internet." [Las Vegas Sun; RJ]
  • We're all for keeping the Sun around, especially when it runs such compelling pieces as it did yesterday on appropriate court attire. Make sure to check out the photo gallery! Anyone recognize their clients or colleagues? [Las Vegas Sun]

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Most Prestigious Firm In Town

Today's topic is simple. Which is the most prestigious firm in town and why? Is it just your opinion or do you think it is a widely held opinion? Is it a Nevada firm or a national firm with a presence in Nevada? Do they pay well? Do you wish you worked there? Do they hire Boyd grads? Does the prestige of a firm make any difference in the grand scheme of things?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Dog Days of Summer

  • Sentencing for Gerry Zobrist is scheduled for this morning. For those of you who don't recall, Zobrist pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and fraud charges and is facing up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The mortgage scheme is alleged to have cost financial institutions over $30 million in losses. ed. The sentencing hearing was continued.
  • By a 2-1 vote (Justices Hardesty and Parraguirre as the majority with Cherry dissenting), the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the disciplinary hearing for Judge Steven Jones can go forward. [8NewNow; Las Vegas Sun]
  • 40 out of 52 Clark County Judges showed up at a meet-and-greet at Canyon Springs High School on Saturday.  The event was moderated by Steve Wolfson and a whopping 75 people showed up at the event which was to be an early voter education session for the 2014 election. Good to know they're at least making an effort to get out there--maybe voters will realize what they're doing next time they retain a judge. [KTNV]
  • The Nevada Transportation Board approved a $1.1 million contract for attorney Laura Fitzsimmons to help the Nevada Attorney General's office handle condemnation cases related to the Boulder City bypass through July 2015. The article discusses that the "reason" the AG's office needs her help is because they don't have enough staff. Really? How much staff would $1.1 million have paid for? [Las Vegas Inc.]

Friday, August 16, 2013

Area 51 Finally Confirmed!

  • Terrance Marren, one of Clark County's first family court judges when it was created in 1993, has died at age 64. [RJ]
  • The government has released documents which actually mention Area 51! [RJ]
  • The I-Team has exclusive video from the famous underground house on Spencer St. [8NewsNow]
  • Above the Law has a piece up on US Supreme Court Clerks getting $300,000 "signing bonuses" when they start at firms. Did any of you clerk and get a signing bonus for having done so?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Great Sidewalk Chalk Conspiracy

  • There is news of a potential job opening in North Las Vegas after the announcement that the City Attorney, Jeffrey Barr, is stepping down. (His announcement came shortly after news that the City Manager was also resigning.) Mayor John Lee suggested that Barr may already have something else lined up. In the interim, Sandra Douglass Morgan, will be his replacement. [RJ]
  • District Attorney Steve Wolfson, never afraid to show he's tough on crime, is taking a tough stance on 4 individuals who were cited by Metro for sidewalk-chalk graffiti violations. Allegedly, some of the chalk graffiti contained obscenities and others were critical of Metro officers not being charged after shootings--never mind that thing called the First Amendment. Do-gooder and erstwhile Wolfson opponent, Robert Langford, is representing the individuals pro bono and may even file a federal civil rights suit on their behalf. As obvious at it may seem that the First Amendment would protect the right to express yourself with sidewalk chalk, some courts have struggled with it. Is prosecuting these alleged "criminals" (and sending city workers with power washers to clean up the chalky "crime scenes") really the best use of our time and resources? Does anyone know if Metro uses chalk for outlines at crime scenes? This whole thing could quickly spiral out of control. [RJ]

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Legal Research

Lexis. Westlaw. FastCase. Google Scholar. Books. There are lots of options when it comes to doing legal research, but where do you turn first? Why? Do you only have access to one of the pay services? Have you ever used FastCase, the service provided by the State Bar? Do you even do legal research?

Monday, August 12, 2013

HOA Scandal Just Keeps On Giving

The HOA scandal simply refuses to stay out of the news. This week, it features two stories on giving back. First, according to the RJ, Victoria Villegas, a prosecutor who was fired by current DA Steve Wolfson for some allegations related to the scandal, will be getting her job back after a favorable arbitration ruling. Second, the Vistana HOA, one of the HOAs affected by the scandal, will be getting back $356,000 recovered by the FBI.

What else is going on out there?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lacking The Mental Capacity

  • The coroner ruled the death of former prosecutor David Schubert a suicide. [RJ]
  • The Commission on Judicial Discipline wants sanctions against Judge Steven Jones for causing delay by challenging the complaint against him. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Chief Justice Kris Pickering has ordered a statewide review to make sure that judges are reporting mentally ill to a gun ownership blacklist.  The people courts must report are those who "lack the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs." Great, that's half the bar. [RJ]
  • Another suit against Metro for civil rights violations. [Las Vegas Sun]

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Best Perks Of Practicing Law

While the law will always have its detractors, there are also a number of perks that come along with the job. Whether it be that your firm has an in-house chef, masseuse, and valet or just that you get to go into court through the special attorney line, we want to know what your favorite perks are that come from practicing law.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Slow News Week

  • The County Commissioners indefinitely delayed the vote on the sales tax increase for "More Cops." Sheriff Gillespie says he needs an answer within 60 days. [RJ]
  • Metro faces a lawsuit for police brutality on New Year's Eve. [MyNews3, Las Vegas Sun]
  • The criminal defense lawyers for Judge Steven Jones, Robert Draskovich and Gary Modafferi, are trying to get Jones' federal indictment dismissed because of statute of limitations violations. [RJ]
  • Because many of you are asking, according to PACER, sentencing for Gerry Zobrist is scheduled for August 19, 2013.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

More Taxes For More Cops

Today the Clark County Commissioners will vote on whether to approve a quarter cent sales tax aimed at paying for more cops. This is part of a long campaign by Sheriff Doug Gillespie to increase Metro funding and comes at an inopportune time for Gillespie since he recently stirred things up by opting to ignore the recommendation of the use of force board. That decision is getting him lots of publicity, but maybe not the kind he wants when asking for more money. The campaign to replace Gillespie has effectively started already.

While Metro doesn't impact all of us on a daily basis, they do play a major part of our lives in the valley whether you represent clients they arrest or just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you have an opinion on the tax, please feel free to share it below, but at a minimum, let your County Commissioners know what you think before the vote.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Job Tips: How To Schedule Vacation

Wilma has been an associate at Flintstone & Associates for over a year now, during which time she has not taken any significant vacation. Wilma's friend Betty has invited Wilma to join her for a week at her time share property in Maui a little over a month from now in mid-September.

What is the best way for Wilma to approach taking off for a week's vacation in September? She wants to go on vacation, but is worried about job security and the impact taking a vacation might have on a potential year-end bonus? Is it proper for an associate to take off an entire week? How much advance notice does she need to give? Does your advice change if the potential vacation is at a different time of year? Any other tips on vacation scheduling for the uninitiated?

Friday, August 2, 2013

Judge Laurel Davis

  • The HOA scandal had its beginnings in another smaller scheme that likely set off the investigation into the bigger one. Isn't it amazing how much work has been generated by this scandal? [RJ]
  • One of our commenters from yesterday can take heart--the RJ suggests that Sheriff Gillespie's decision to ignore the recommendation of the Use of Force Review Board opens the door to other candidates for sheriff next year. [RJ]
  • Although it seemed like a forgone conclusion, the District of Nevada Bankruptcy Court finally officially announced that Laurel Davis, formerly of Fennemore Craig is the new bankruptcy judge taking the place of Judge Bruce A. Markell. She was sworn in on July 12th and the press release announcing her appointment was issued "For Immediate Release" on July 25th. Good to see that despite BAM leaving, some things remain the same. Congratulations to Judge Davis on the appointment. [Press Release]

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Open-Handed Slap

  • As was discussed in the comments, on Tuesday morning, private investigator Richard Lawson hit Scott Holper of Vegas Ticket Masters, which resulted in Lawson being cited for misdemeanor battery. Holper was taken to the hospital. [RJ]
  • OJ Simpson won parole on some concurrent sentences, but will still be residing in Nevada prisons for at least another four years. [ABC News]
  • Neither Constable John Bonaventura, nor his attorney, Robert Pool, showed up at a hearing in federal court last week to argue why the minutes should be changed that state they left a settlement conference early. [RJ]
  • A total of six civilian members of the Use of Force Board have resigned after Sherrif Doug Gillespie failed to follow their recommendation that an officer be fired. [RJ]