Friday, May 30, 2014

Work-Life Balance

With Memorial Day behind us, school about to get out, and summer unofficially underway, it's time to revisit the topic of work-life balance. A recent article from Agence France-Presse talks about Sweden's economic prosperity and an approach to life that involves more productivity and less work hours.

Obviously, American lawyers are never going to have the luxurious lifestyle of Swedish skilled laborers, but is it even within our grasp? A number of you manage to have that desirable thing called work-life balance where you are able to prioritize work and lifestyle regardless of whether you work in a lifestyle firm. How do you do it? What tips do you have for finding balance? Is it leaving work at a certain time each day? Turning off the phone when you get home? In-office happy hours? Extended lunch hours? Hobbies? Exercise (lol)? What are you doing to stay sane in this mad, mad profession?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The More Things Change

  • "In the best interest of justice," the federal trial of suspended Judge Steven Jones was continued from June 3 to September 30, 2014. [RJ]
  • The estate of Lisa Willardson is dropping a federal lawsuit against the District Attorney's office that Willardson initiated before her death to clear her name. [RJ]
  • The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will consider Nevada's gay marriage ban in September. [Fox5Vegas]
  • In the hotly contested Republican lieutenant governor primary race, Sue Lowden is calling out her opponent (attorney) Mark Hutchison for wearing a Boy Scout uniform in a campaign flyer contrary to Boy Scout policy. The winner will move on to take on (attorney) Lucy Flores. [RJ]
  • The Clark County Bar Annual Meet Your Judges Mixer is set for June 13, 2014, but tomorrow is your last day to order tickets. Don't miss out on this exclusive opportunity to see your judges up close and personal at the Four Seasons Las Vegas. [Clark County Bar Association]
  • Pursuant to an administrative order issued by Judge Togliatti, effective June 1, 2014, electronic service will be mandatory for all documents listed in NEFCR Rule 9. Additionally, the $2.00 fee is being eliminated. [Eighth Judicial District Court blog]

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

  • As was mentioned in the comments yesterday, Judge Susan Johnson filed a complaint against Jacob Hafter in regard to an excessive campaign contribution from his law firm. [RJ]
  • Want to know some of the candidates working with political consultant (and husband of Judge Nancy Allf), Dave Thomas? [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • Bar exam results came out recently adding 130 to our ranks, 51 of which are from out of state. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Remember, taking a CLE on alcohol abuse and/or mental health is required now. To help you fulfill that requirement, the Bar is offering a CLE this afternoon called The Impact of Depression and Addiction on Professional Competence.
  • Although it often seems like Boyd Law School and its professors aren't really involved much in our legal community, thanks to a tip, we know they are standing up to be counted among those displeased with the Nevada Lawyer editorial by Bar President Alan Lefebvre as set forth in this letter. Dean Dan Hamilton is also taking a stand with this letter.
  • Although it has nothing to do with Las Vegas law, Maya Angelou passed away today and it's worth taking a minute to honor her contributions to the world. [NPR]
The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 
-Maya Angelou 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Fourth Estate

Welcome back from the long weekend! Over the weekend, early voting commenced in Clark County and the RJ published its Voter Guide. More interesting is the RJ's editorial board's decision to publish its recommendations for who voters should choose in each judicial race. Sometimes they opted to provide some reasoning for their decision, while other times they just tell you something like Judge Pollock "needs to be replaced. Voters should support either of his Department J challengers." While this may not necessarily be the wrong conclusion, it isn't exactly helpful. Other controversial insight from the editorial is that if you can't research the race, skip voting for it because your uninformed vote risks canceling an informed vote. As is evident from the RJ's suggestions however, even supposedly "informed" voters can get it wrong. 

What do you think? Is the RJ doing a favor or a disservice to the voting public by publishing their choices for judge? Should they be disclosing who specifically on the editorial board is making these recommendations and what their political alignment is so that the public can confirm or deny media bias? Is there a better way for the RJ to handle the judicial election?

Friday, May 23, 2014

Retractory Period

  • The jury in the Robert Eglet/David Wall Actos trial decided in favor of the defendant drug company, handing Eglet what he says is his first loss since 2003 and depriving us of the chance to hear him ask the jury for $2 billion in punitive damages. [RJ; 8NewsNow]
  • Early voting for the primary starts tomorrow. You can find a list of polling places here. If you are asking yourself, "Who should I vote for in Clark County judicial races?" or just need help figuring out which candidate is prettier, type "primary primer" in the search box to the right.
  • Finally for this Friday before Memorial Day Weekend, our esteemed State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors, ever quick to action, issued a statement about Bar President Alan Lefebvre's recent column (only the one about marriage, not the one on marijuana). The statement, which was sent out in an email to bar members (where's the press release?) states:
To all members of the State Bar of Nevada:
The views expressed in the President's Column in the May 2014 issue of the Nevada Lawyer do not represent those of the Board of Governors, its individual members, or the State Bar of Nevada as a whole.

The State Bar of Nevada and the Board of Governors embrace and welcome viewpoints of every kind and the Board assures all of our members that diversity and tolerance are valued and respected by the State Bar.

The Board of Governors assures all members of the Bar and the public that the State Bar of Nevada does not support any use of the President's Column for political statements.  The Board has a policy that requires the State Bar President to refrain from using the Nevada Lawyer to advance personal political viewpoints.

The Board of Governors assures all members that we will be diligent in representing you in an unbiased manner.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Legal Apps

There is a good chance that at least one of you is reading this on your phone from a bathroom stall. Ah, technology. Isn't it a wonderful thing? With all the advances in technology, the legal profession has often struggled to stay on the cutting edge side of things (fax machines, anyone?). However, nowadays, most firms either have a standard issue smartphone, tablet, laptop, or stipend to keep you connected to your practice 24/7.

While you're free to lament this virtual ball and chain, today we want to know what life changing apps are you using. Is there a research program you use on your phone for last minute arguments? Do you have an app that records all of your phone calls and automatically enters your billing? Do you use Citrix to have access to your desktop from anywhere? Or do you just your smart phone to read the news, this blog, and play online poker?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Back To Reality

Welcome back, folks. We're done with the Judicial Primary Primer for now. Feel free to keep making comments in those threads if you have more to add to those conversations. Otherwise, here are some current iterations of seemingly old news items in Las Vegas: a bad judge, Eglet asking a jury for big money, and the Constable's office having done something to irk somebody.
  • Uh-oh. North Las Vegas Municipal Court Judge Catherine Ramsey unilaterally put some $12,000 in attorney's fees on a city credit card. [RJ]
  • The Robert Eglet/David Wall Actos diabetes drug trial wen to the jury yesterday afternoon, potentially setting up a scenario where Eglet asks for $2 Billion in punitive damages. [RJ]
  • The Las Vegas Township Constable's office is getting negative press again after a woman sued them saying they tried to shake her down for $100 over not having registered her car in Nevada after being here 30 days. [RJ]

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Family Court Dept. T - Judicial Primary Primer

And last, but not least, in our Judicial Primary Primer, we have Family Court Department T. In one corner, we have Judge Gayle Nathan. In the other corners, we have our contenders Lisa M. Brown and Maria Maskall.

Let us have it? Which one of these three ladies should be the Judge in Department T next year?

Who should the people vote for in Family Court Department T?

Family Court Dept. P - Judicial Primary Primer

The contest for Family Court Department P features Judge Sandra L. Pomrenze, David R. Ford, and Nathan Gibbs.

Please enlighten us on not only who looks the part, but will best serve our community on the bench for the next six years.

Who should the people vote for in Family Court Department P?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Family Court Dept. L - Judicial Primary Primer

Family Court Department L also features a current judge versus two contenders. Judge Jennifer L. Elliott hopes to be retained, while Paul "Mitch" Gaudet and Mary Perry hope to unseat her.

Fill us in on the details of why Judge Jennifer Elliott, the occupier of the bench in the department that the late Lisa Willardson intended to run for, does or doesn't deserve to be retained? Does she really miss that many days of court? If so, is Mitch or Mary the better choice?

Who should the people vote for in Family Court Department L?

District Court Dept. 28 - Judicial Primary Primer

District Court Department 28 features sitting Judge Ron Israel fighting for his judicial life against contenders Susan Bush and Robert Pool (part of a group that the RJ calls "The Revengers."

What do you think? Is Judge Israel deserving of another term or is it time for a change?

Who should the people vote for in District Court Department 28?

Friday, May 16, 2014

District Court Dept. 24 - Judicial Primary Primer

There are four candidates vying for the seat being vacated by Judges James Bixler (who apparently has higher aspirations). The candidates are:  Anthony Ashby; Jim Crockett; Joe Hardy, Jr.; and Tony Liker.

Give us your thoughts on why you think one of these guys will make a better judge than the others.

Who should the people vote for in District Court Department 24?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Shots Across The Bow

For those of you who want to chat about something else besides who is running for judge, consider these gems that are currently in the news.

  • Attorney Jay Brown has a hefty fee and an interesting arrangement for his medical marijuana business clients. [RalstonReports]
  • Attorney Jeffery A. Garofalo publicly takes issue with the recent article by Alan Lefebvre in the Nevada Lawyer. [RalstonReports]
  • The HOA Scandal trial includes some top secret documents which are so sensitive that they are being sealed and heavily restricted. Supposedly defense counsel can look and take notes, but cannot have copies. What could it be? [RJ]

District Court Dept. 22 - Judicial Primary Primer

District Court Department 22 also features a sitting judge and two challengers.  The candidates are:  Bruce L. Gale; Jacob Hafter; and, Judge Susan Johnson.

Will the construction defect practitioners be dealing with two new construction defect judges next year or will Judge Johnson be able to keep her place on the bench. Who is more likely to give her a run for her money in the fall election? Did you consider contributing to Hafter for a chance to win tickets to the Book of Mormon? (See his website by clicking his name above.) Is repeatedly running for judge until you get elected going to pay off for Bruce Gale? (Does he have a website?) Any reason people should not be considering one of these candidates?

Who should the people vote for in District Court Department 22?

Family Court Dept. J - Judicial Primary Primer

Family Court Department J features a race involving a sitting judge and two challengers. The candidates are:  Rena G. Hughes; Romeo R. Perez; and, Judge Kenneth E. Pollock.

Is it time to say out with the old and in with the new? Will Judge Pollock even make it past the primary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Remember, the poll feature isn't scientific and insightful comments about the merits of one judge over another will help others decide who to vote for in the primary.

Who should the people vote for in Family Court Department J?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Judicial Primary Primer: Family Court Department C

Left open by the decision of suspended Judge Steven Jones, there are five candidates seeking the bench in Family Court Department C. They are:   Rebecca Burton; John Hall "Jack" Howard, Jr.; Lynn Hughes; Marsha Kimble-Simms; and, Michele "Shell" Mercer.

Yes, we know there is a chance people will game the voting system, but thankfully we have a commenting system where readers like you can give us your input on the candidates. If you know that so and so is only getting a lot of votes because they shared a link to the site on Facebook, then counteract it in the comments by letting us know why someone else is a better candidate. These posts are meant to facilitate debate about the candidates and their merits and what should shape our decision in the upcoming primary.

Who should the people vote for in Family Court Department C?

Judicial Primary Primer: District Court Department 2

We now take a look at the four candidates in consideration for the seat on the bench in Department 2 being vacated by Valorie Vega. The candidates are:  Phung Jefferson; Richard Scotti; William S. "Bill" Skupa; and, John G. Watkins.

Yes, we know there is a chance people will game the voting system, but thankfully we have a commenting system where readers like you can give us your input on the candidates. If you know that so and so is only getting a lot of votes because they shared a link to the site on Facebook, then counteract it in the comments by letting us know why someone else is a better candidate. These posts are meant to facilitate debate about the candidates and their merits and what should shape our decision in the upcoming primary.

Who should the people vote for in District Court Department 2?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Judicial Primary Primer: Family Court Department B

The following eight candidates are vying for the spot on the bench being vacated by Judge Gloria O'Malley in Family Court Department B. This is your chance to give us the low down on these candidates before the primary and to let the rest of us know why you think one candidate is better than the others. The candidates are:  Ellen J. Bezian; Kristine Brewer; Jane D. Femiano; Thomas G. "Tom" Kurtz; Linda Marquis; Joseph A. Scalia, II; Shann D. Winesett; and Heather Bailey Zana.

Who should the people vote for in Family Court Department B?

The PD On The Grand Jury

  • The Public Defender's office just can't stay out of the news lately. Deputy public defender Laura Diefenbach was selected to serve on a grand jury and her selection was not random. She was selected by Judge Jessie Walsh, who gets another six years on the bench because no one signed up to challenger her. This raises a whole host of questions about the grand jury process. [RJ]
  • After serving 180 days at prison camp, Justin Teixeira, the Berkeley law grad and murderer of Turk the bird, was sentenced to 4 years probation and 16 hours a month of animal related community service. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Here's a link to Alan Lefebvre's column in the May issue of Nevada Lawyer.
  • With voting for the primary election coming up soon, over the next week, we're going to be having posts dedicated to each contested race with a chance to give your input on who should be elected. The first one should be up shortly.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blowin' In the Wind

  • Judge Abbi Silver overturned a first-degree murder conviction on the basis that the defendant received ineffective assistance of counsel from public defenders Christy Craig and Scott Coffee. [RJ]
  • For those of you confused about who to vote for this fall, Eva Longoria has endorsed Lucy Flores and Dick Cheney has endorsed Adam Laxalt. [RJ]
  • Judicial Candidate Randy Tindall turned down some help getting elected from the Las Vegas Tribune. [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • Although it's not posted online yet, you should check out the editorial from State Bar President Alan Lefebvre in the May issue of Nevada Lawyer suggesting that certain individuals may have abdicated their duty to uphold the constitution. If only he were in a position to do something about it...

Friday, May 9, 2014

Board Of Governors Election 2014

Assuming you a licensed member of the Nevada bar in District 1 (Clark County), you should have gotten an email this morning with a link to vote for four seats on the Board of Governors. The seven candidates vying for the four seats are:

  • Paola Armeni
  • Tamer Botros
  • Mark Connot
  • Shirley Foster
  • Troy Isaacson
  • Kari Stephens
  • Ryan Works

You can see short bios on them here. If you didn't get a ballot, contact Gale Skala at

In other news:

  • Family Court Judge Matthew Harter (who is running for reelection in Department N against Monti Jordana Levy) lost his endorsement from the Las Vegas Police Protective Association due to a burglary involving his son, stolen guns, a Metro officer, and no arrest of his son. [RJ; Veterans in Politics, International Inc. has more details than the RJ story from a March press release.]
  • A suit was filed against Nevada yesterday alleging that employers and the labor commissioner have evaded a requirement of a 2006 Nevada constitutional amendment requiring that health care be provided for low income workers. Plaintiffs are represented by Bradley Schrager (@NVElectionLaw). [RalstonReports]
  • Although you might be able to get a medical marijuana card, you probably can't use it at the same time as your driver's license without risking a DUI. [8NewsNow]

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dazed And Confused

  • Good news for those of you looking to focus your practice on medical marijuana law. The Supreme Court of Nevada issued ADKT 0495 yesterday adding a supplemental comment to Nevada Rules of Professional Conduct 1.2 allowing you to counsel clients on medical marijuana law (just make sure you include the federal law in your advice). 
  • The I-Team has an interesting piece on whether law enforcement seek out warrant friendly judges and focuses on the fact that Judge Melanie Andress-Tobiason, who is married to a retired Metro officer, signs warrants at a 2-1 ratio over judges with next highest numbers. [8NewsNow]
  • A commenter mentioned multiple (staff?) layoffs at a large regional firm...anyone have the details?
  • Anyone have details on the Dipak Desai mugshot in Reno?
  • A new (possible) scam involves people showing up at car accidents to "help" by taking down your information. NHP Troopers discovered this when they showed up to an accident and found two official looking people filling out reports. It is unlikely these people are insurance adjusters. It is possible they are from law firms, but according to assistant bar counsel Phil Pattee, some law firms will send someone to non-injury crashes to help motorists, but they have to be called and don't just go out on their own. Sure, Phil, keep telling yourself that. [RJ]
  • A tip came in about Rill Arab Money LLC. What's that you ask? Good question. For some of you, they may be the competition. Take a look at the page and let us know your thoughts. There does not appear to be any lawyer directly involved with it, but it looks like they may be in the accident referral business and if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck....?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

High And Mighty

  • County Commissioners revised the distribution of medical marijuana dispensaries so that there are more in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County. [RJ]
  • The Gaming Control Board told its licensees they cannot participate in the medical marijuana business...yet. [RJ]
  • Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Nevada heard discussion on lawyers advising on medical marijuana businesses and took it under submission. [RGJ]
  • Not Las Vegas related, but maybe an idea for paying off all those student loan debts you incurred in law school...[Fox5Vegas]
  • Here's a new resource for the upcoming election. Alexander Falconi was a computer science and engineering major at UNR when a nasty custody dispute led him to drop out of school and fight the good fight. He managed to win custody of his son and accomplished something many of us will never do, he got a published opinion from the Supreme Court of Nevada on a pro per writ of mandamus. Since then, he decided to create a website to help inform the public about the judges up for election called Our Nevada Judges. The website evaluates sitting judges based on their record on appeal. It also includes articles about the judges. What do you think? 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Job Tips: Giving Notice

This question comes from one of our readers:

How much notice does an attorney need to give before leaving a firm? Is the standard two weeks enough? What factors change this answer--length of employment, case load, lateral transfer vs. going solo, bad work environment, etc?

Monday, May 5, 2014

May Madness

  • A Turkish judicial contingent visiting Las Vegas was surprised by the fact that we elect judges. [RJ
  • The Clark County Juvenile Drug Court is losing funding from a federal source. [RJ]
  • Suspended Judge Steven Jones is back on the county payroll after his 3 months without pay ended. Jones remains suspended due to a federal case. Another interesting note from this article--Jones is no longer represented by Jim Jimmerson. His new counsel is Sigal Chattah. [RJ]
  • Potential potrepeneur and Judge James Bixler says he will recuse himself from one case involving marijuana and will donate some of his profits to drug education and treatment programs. [RJ]
  • The following comes to from a tip. Remember Stephen P. Stubbs or "Bowtie" as the motorcycle groups he represents call him? Apparently, he claims a client's estranged husband hit him with a vehicle and then physically assaulted him. In response/defense, Stubbs punched the estranged husband in the eye (details in this article from Boulder City Review). Stubbs got his day in court last Thursday and was convicted of battery and fined $500. He plans to appeal. (Some more info on this available at the Boulder City Political Forum.) 
  • It appears that Stubbs was prosecuted by Boulder City City Attorney, David R. Olsen. In addition to his work as City Attorney, Mr. Olsen has also served as an expert witness last year for his son Brian Olsen in a case where the younger Olsen (represented by Cal Potter, III) sued Boulder City and Henderson (and some officers) in federal court for an unlawful arrest in 2010. Mr. Olsen testified that his son's arrest was made without warrant and without probable cause. The case number is 2:12-cv-00543-JCM-PAL (Doc 38-2 is his affidavit). What do you think? We don't know if the City approved of him testifying against it, but this certainly has the potential for conflict of interest, n'est-ce pas?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Party At Rick's House

It's the first Friday in May and you know what that means....PARTY AT RICK'S HOUSE TONIGHT!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Every Little Bit Matters

We were forwarded the information below about two local attorneys who need your help:

Many of you know Timothy Geswein and Shemilly Briscoe, two Southern Nevada attorneys who
met in law school at Boyd.  Since graduation in 2006, they’ve married and had two wonderful children.  If you’ve so much as met Tim or Shem, then you know that they are two of the most genuine and caring folks around.  That’s why they have so many dear friends.

Unfortunately, around the turn of the new year, Tim became quite ill and acquired a pancreatic
infection that caused his body to become septic.  He’s been battling for months while Shem holds things
together with the boys and her legal practice.   What is now almost four months of intensive care in two
different hospitals has driven their medical and other expenses sky‐high.  Dire times like these call for
help from friends.  Every little bit matters, so, if you are willing to contribute financially, there are two
ways.  First, you can donate to a PayPal account set up to assist the family during this battle; just enter
this e‐mail address on the PayPal website: Second, you can send
checks directly to Shemilly at her office: The Briscoe Law Group, 1060 Wigwam Parkway, Henderson, NV 89074.

Thank you and please keep Tim, Shem, and the boys in your thoughts and prayers.  If you have
any questions, please contact Justin Carley at Snell & Wilmer, 3883 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 1100
Las Vegas, NV 89169, Tel. # (702) 784‐5250.

A More Perfect Union

  • Did you know that the Clark County Public Defenders decided to unionize? [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Speaking of unions, the taxi companies/drivers seem pretty nervous about Uber's ride-sharing service making its debut in Southern Nevada. [RJ]
  • A Metro officer seeking whistleblower status has asked DA Steve Wolfson to look into whether Metro violated any laws by burying his report on Metro's air unit problems. [RJ]
  • Judge Kerry Earley grants sanctions against defense attorneys in the Eglet/Actos trial by, wait for it, issuing a jury instruction not to look at Plaintiff's counsel in a negative light because of the objections. There were no monetary sanctions, only the threat of them in the future if attorneys continue to violate her orders. This is her reaction after repeated violations. Judge Earley is up for reelection this fall against Steve Smith. [RJ]
  • The Board of Governors recently sent out a "civility" survey. Any thoughts on that? One of the questions was how to correct incivility in our profession. Based on what you know, do you think Judge Earley's reaction was too little, too much, or not enough? Are our colleagues really that uncivil or is it just a factor of the fact that our judges are afraid to do their job?