Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

  • Washoe County Judge Scott Freeman indicated he would be issuing a preliminary injunction preventing Uber from operating in Nevada because he's not willing to put the public safety at risk. [RJ; 8NewsNow]
  • Some smart turkeys have taken up residence in Nevada's Great Basin National Park keeping them safe from ending up on your table tomorrow. [8NewsNow]
We know some of the more fortunate among you have at least part of today off and we hope that all of you have the next two days off was well. Please remember to be smart and don't drink and drive. We'll see you back here next week. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Uber Analyzed

  • Congratulations to Michael Lowry, whose Compelling Discovery blog made the ABA's 8th Annual Blawg 100
  • A three justice panel of the Supreme Court of Nevada decided that Washoe County is the proper jurisdiction for the Uber dispute to be heard. The majority opinion, signed by Justices Hardesty and Douglas, concludes that the first-to-file rule triggering jurisdiction stems from the filing of the complaint, not from the filing of something like an application for TRO. Here, the application for TRO was filed first in Clark County and then in Washoe County, but an actual complaint was filed first in Washoe. The majority opinion also took umbrage at the suggestion that the Nevada Taxicab Authority was engaged in forum shopping, because despite the NTA's "inept effort to commence its case," the suggestion of forum shopping "impunes [sic] the neutrality of the three district court judges involved..." (Rare to see such an obvious spelling error and logical lacuna in the same sentence.) Justice Cherry dissented for two reasons:  first, he thought this should have been decided by the Court en banc; and second, he disagreed that the first-to-file rule is triggered only by the filing of the complaint. You can read the opinion here. What do you think? Did the court get it right?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Let That Be A Lesson

  • An ad run in the RJ for Judge Doug Smith just days before the election included supposed endorsements for five state agencies that don't even do endorsements. Of course, Judge Smith has never seen the ad and his campaign manager Tom Letizia couldn't remember all of Smith's endorsements off the top of his head. [RJ]
  • Has there been so much media coverage on the HOA scandal to warrant moving the trial out of Las Vegas? [RJ]
  • Will the Supreme Court of Nevada issue a ruling on jurisdiction in the Uber case today? (It is case number 66875 for those of you interested in seeing the briefing.) [8NewsNow]
  • Here's a reminder to be careful of what you write/post online, it could come back to haunt you later as it is for Ira Hansen, the Nevada Assembly speaker who just stepped down. [Las Vegas Sun]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Great Expectations 2014

It's the Friday before Thanksgiving and there are only 33 more days until Christmas which means it's time to start thinking about bonuses. Do you already know what (if anything) you'll be getting for a bonus this year? Is your firm more of the penny-pinching pre-Christmas Ebenezer Scrooge who won't even give you a day off or more of the generous Christmas Day Scrooge who offers to buy you the largest turkey in the window?

Let us know below what you're expecting this year and we'll check back later to see if you were right.

What are your expectations for a bonus this year?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

While You Were Sleeping

  • Surprise! An investigation into Metro's air unit by the District Attorney's office results in a finding the claims brought by "whistleblowers" were without merit. Link includes the report by District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson and Chief Deputy District Attorney Jessica A. Walsh. [RJ]
  • Attorney/notary Stephen "Bowtie" Stubbs is making headlines again--this time over allegations of a forged signature that he notarized. Assisting Metro with its investigation is Stubbs' client who was in trouble for driving while on hydrocodone. [RJ]
  • Here's an editorial on elected judges taking campaign contributions and then immediately applying for a new job. (And it has a picture that is NOT Susan Johnson.) [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • The Supreme Court of Nevada is fast-tracking the Uber jurisdiction dispute. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Although medical marijuana will soon be sold legally here, Veteran Affairs doctors will not be prescribing it since federal laws still classify it as an illegal substance. [8NewsNow]
  • Clark County Family Court is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week. [8thJDCourt blog]

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Miss Congeniality

  • Who wants to be a justice of the peace in Las Vegas Justice Court Department 6? (Open because Judge Kephart is moving to district court.) It is a two year appointment and being such, you don't even have to live in Las Vegas to get the job. The only caveat is that they're not revealing who applies until after the deadline closes. Apply within.
  • President Obama is coming to town on Friday. The internet is abuzz with speculation that Del Sol High School will be the site of the signing of an executive order for immigration amnesty. [RJ; Washington PostCNBC]
  • Construction defect "Sweeps" hearings are underway. A tipster informs us that there are two new dirt court judges:  Judge Jerry Wiese and Judge Joanna Kishner. One to replace Judge Earl and one to replace....Judge Johnson???
  • University of Arizona dean Len Jessup has been announced as the new president of UNLV. Does this mean changes for Boyd? [Fox5Vegas]

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Net

  • Thanks to inartful lawyering, as admitted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Kimberly Arguello, the Uber case is a mess. The State says it withdrew its motion in Clark County after Judge Freeman in Washoe County said he had jurisdiction. Judge Herndon disagrees and suggested the AG's office is forum shopping. Now things are on hold while they wait for the Supreme Court to weigh in. [RJ; Fox5Vegas]
  • More cops is back. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • With just under two months left before his position disappears into oblivion, Las Vegas Township Constable John Bonaventura is facing another federal lawsuit. [RJ]
  • As reported earlier this year, Nevada leads the nation in wire taps.  The I-Team takes a look at why and asks Dominic Gentile for his input. [8NewsNow I-Team]

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Blind Side

  • "Super-sealing" in federal court is now called "special processing," but otherwise has not changed. [RJ]
  • The Nevada Supreme Court will hold a public hearing on December 4 to discuss the rule that will decide what cases are automatically pushed down to the new Court of Appeals. [RJ]
  • The Uber battle is back in court this morning. [RGJ]
  • The Court of Appeals application packages are up and ready for your prying eyes. Let us know if you find anything interesting. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Forces of Nature

  • Originally scheduled for today, it will now be Monday when Judge Herndon will hear argument to decide whether a preliminary injunction should be issued against Uber. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • The Clark County Detention Center currently houses about 300 more individuals than it was built to hold. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Tomorrow open enrollment begins for this year on the Nevada health insurance exchange. [8NewsNow]
  • Props to the people who put together this month's Nevada Lawyer which actually has relevant articles. Among the interesting things in this issue, beyond the hot topics articles, the civility survey revealed that more than half of the respondents think civility has stayed about the same in the past five years and we see a few familiar names in the bar counsel report, including one former news-maker who was transferred to disability inactive status as a result of major depressive order. We wish him the best and hope he gets the help he needs. This is as good of time as any to remind you about one of our favorite programs offered by the state bar:  Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.
Confidential help from a fellow lawyer is a phone call away
Toll Free: 866-828-0022
Mitch Cobeaga, 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.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hope Floats

  • A total of 36 applications for the 3 positions on the Court of Appeals were received by the deadline yesterday. Applicants include attorneys from all over the state, as well as judges both currently on the bench and retired. As some of you already noted in the comments, superficially, it's pretty easy to narrow the list down to the real contenders for each slot. What do you think about the number of applications for these three slots and the quality of applicants? Is this a good sign that if we could get the voters to accept an appointment/retention system for judges, we'd get better people on the bench? [RJ]
  • NBA star Blake Griffin is facing a misdemeanor battery charge in Las Vegas and has a hearing set for December 8. [Fox5Vegas]
  • In what is sure to be an exciting development for attorneys practicing in the criminal courts, Metro has begun using body cams. [Fox5Vegas]
  • Petitions were turned in to require the 2015 legislature to consider recreational marijuana. [8NewsNow]
  • Also turned in, were signatures for a gun background check. [KNPR News]

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Job Tips: Changing Practice Areas

We recently got an email from a reader asking for your advice on switching practice areas. This reader not only wants to change practice areas, but wants to make the jump from civil to criminal to broaden her experience before running for judge at some point in the future.

What can you tell this reader about changing practice areas? Can it be done successfully? What pitfalls are to be avoided? Have you made the change and lived to tell about it? And on a related note, do judges need wider experience among several practice areas before being elected?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day 2014

  • Happy Veterans Day and a special thank you to all those who have served for our country.
  • Unsuccessful candidate for district attorney, Raymond James "Jim" Duensing was convicted of three felony charges in his trial that overlapped the election. He will be sentenced in January and faces up to 12 years in jail for an incident relating to a traffic stop. [RJ]
  • As one of our commenters pointed out yesterday, you can go here to see who has applied for the three positions on the Court of Appeals. So far, candidates include Judge Susan Johnson, Judge Jerome Tao, Judge Abbi Silver (who each filed for one of the three departments) and Thomas D. Beatty, III and Aurora Maria Maskall. If you want to join this list, time is running short as applications are due by 5pm tomorrow.
  • Club Paradise, a Vegas strip club, sued three former managers and dancers alleging that they inflated customers' credit card charges by false pretenses and/or forgeries. [8NewsNow]
  • Local attorney Jay Young is leading a double-life as a singer on Gladys Knight's latest album, which makes you wonder who else among us is hiding their talents. [KNPR

Monday, November 10, 2014

Look Both Ways

  • The latest pedestrian in Vegas to get hit by a car was Judge Linda Bell who encountered a vehicle driving the wrong way Friday morning. She went to the hospital and okay, but it's a good reminder to look both ways and be careful crossing the road outside the RJC. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Here's a look at the impact of two recent Nevada Supreme Court rulings on the local strip club industry. [RJ]
  • Several lawyers were out of a job after last Tuesday's election. Don't worry, they'll bounce back. [RJ]
  • Judge Susan Johnson beat her opponent in the election by the largest margin of any judicial race on the ballot in Clark County. [RJ]
  • Tomorrow is Veteran's Day, complete with court closures and parades. Plan accordingly. [RJ]

Friday, November 7, 2014

Repo By Remote

  • Our new appeals court judges, who have less than a week to apply, are slated to make $165,000 a year. [RJ]
  • Political consultant David Thomas had 11 wins and 4 losses in this year's judicial elections. [RJ]
  • Although there have been a tide of recent rulings allowing gay marriage, a new set of rulings in the 6th Circuit upholding gay marriage bans will send the issue back up to the Supreme Court. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Legal aid lawyers are seeing cases of repossession by remote, where lenders use shut-off devices to "repossess" cars--sometimes while they're driving down the freeway. [8NewsNow]
  • Here's a reaction to the election results. [Las Vegas Tribune]
  • Is golf a dying sport? (Only if the associates don't start playing...) [Fox5Vegas]

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Magic Numbers 2014

Here are the results for the 2014 Magic Number survey. These numbers are based on what first year associates are making and what the billable requirement is at a firm. These two pieces of information combined give us the salary per billable hour or Magic Number. These numbers come from your survey responses and we make no guarantees regarding their accuracy. If we received more than one response for a firm and the numbers differed, we put the average. (That means if you submitted a response for your first year salary and the number below is higher--that is probably a good sign someone else is making more than you at your same firm.) You also have to remember that this does not take into account benefits or intangibles (like a private chef), so your mileage may vary. If you are an experienced attorney and get sick at the thought of how underpaid you are, enter at your own risk. The results are after the jump.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Red Wave

Finally, campaign sign season is over. Republicans won big last night. Not only do Republicans now control the Senate and House in Washington, but they won all six constitutional offices in Nevada, as well as control of the State Senate and Assembly.

At the state level, congratulations are in order to our new lieutenant governor Mark Hutchison (what does this mean for the firm?). Congratulations also go to the surprise winner of the attorney general race, Adam Laxalt, who managed to overcome the release of less than flattering Lewis & Roca performance reviews. 

The voters finally gave the Supreme Court its wish--Ballot Question 1 narrowly passed and we'll be getting a Court of Appeals. That means two months to figure out who will be the three lucky individuals taking the seat on that bench in January. Feel free to begin speculating below. The application is available here and must be submitted by 5 pm on November 12.

At the county level, it is no surprise that Steve Wolfson will continue as Clark County District Attorney.  Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo will be dropping the "assistant" from his title.

Congratulations to the following candidates who won in the Eighth Judicial District Court:

Dept. 2- Richard Scotti
Dept. 3- Doug Herndon
Dept. 4- Kerry Earley
Dept. 5- Carolyn Ellsworth
Dept. 8- Doug Smith
Dept. 14- Adriana Escobar
Dept. 19- Bill Kephart
Dept. 20- Jerry Tao
Dept. 22- Susan Johnson
Dept. 23- Stefany Miley
Dept. 24- Jim Crockett
Dept. 25- Kathleen Delaney
Dept. 28- Ron Israel
Dept. 30- Jerry Wiese
Dept. 32- Rob Bare
Dept. B- Linda Marquis
Dept. C- Rebecca Burton
Dept. D- Bob Teuton
Dept. F- Denise Gentile
Dept. H- Art Ritchie
Dept. I- Cheryl Moss
Dept. J- Rena Hughes
Dept. L- Jennifer Elliott
Dept. M- William Potter
Dept. N- Mathew Harter
Dept. P- Sandra Pomerenze
Dept. S- Vincent Ochoa
Dept. T- Lisa Brown
Justice Court Dept. 12- Diana Sullivan

There was not much in the way of surprises and the incumbents did a pretty good job of holding their seats (for the most part, ahem, Judges Bill Gonzalez/Ken Pollock). So, what can we learn from this election (John Glen Watkins and Joe Hardy)? In the next election, put a lot of thought into who you run against. There are very few people who could look at the roster of judges for the next six years and not find someone who shouldn't be there. If certain candidates had filed into other departments, we could have seen some very different results for incumbents. Then again, maybe the outcome would be the same. Based on the performance of the incumbents, we can also surmise that the low voter turnout means more educated voters. At least educated in the sense that they appeared to know who the incumbents were. There is also a good chance they were aware of the Judging the Judges survey as one of the lowest performers in that survey was not reelected. What other lessons can we learn?

That said, to all of the candidates who ran, thank you for doing so. Although you may not have won this time, you gave us a chance to make a choice. And as long as we're doing elected judges, having a choice is a big part of the equation. 

You can see full results for Clark County here and the State of Nevada here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day 2014

  • The polls are open and will be until 7 pm tonight. Make sure you vote! Vote Yes on #1 and vote for good judges! Good luck to all the candidates!
  • Attorneys for Leon Benzer in the HOA scandal are alleging prosecutorial misconduct after reports about negotiations with Benzer were unsealed and published in the RJ last week. [RJ]
  • As is bound to happen when a criminal defendant is running for District Attorney, one of the jurors in the trial of Raymond James "Jim" Duensing noticed his name in her sample ballot. [RJ]
  • Are "Classic Car" license plates a smog-check loophole being abused by people with late 80s Honda Accords? [8NewsNow]
  • The State of Nevada released its list of Green Rush winners--i.e. businesses approved for medical marijuana licenses. Shockingly, the identities of 37 of the 55 licenses issued are unknown thanks to state law. [Las Vegas Sun]
  • Last call for responses to our magic number survey.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sweet November

  • Tomorrow is Election Day! If you haven't already voted, please make time to do so. That said, anyone have any last minute information that could sway votes one way or another?
  • Local pundit Jon Ralston makes his predictions for the outcome of statewide races tomorrow. [Ralston Reports]
  • Family Court Judge Cynthia Giuliani continued her tradition of dressing up to grant adoptions at Halloween. [RJ]
  • Here's a nice Q&A with James Pisanelli of Pisanelli Bice. [Vegas Inc.]
  • A 29 year old woman with brain cancer, who moved to Oregon to take advantage of their physician-assisted suicide statute, ended her life on Saturday. She publicized her plight to advocate for death with dignity. Nevada is not one of the five states where people have that right. [People]