Alternative Spring Break Program

The Career Development Office organizes the Alternative Spring Break program to occur during a portion of the Boyd School of Law’s spring break.  The goal of the Alternative Spring Break program is to expose Boyd students of all class years to access to justice needs throughout Nevada.  We hope that after participating in the Alternative Spring Break program, students will be interested in returning to the rural counties to serve those who are in need of better access to legal services and information. 


During the 2017 Alternative Spring Break program, 6 Boyd students visited northern Nevada.  During the trip, taught a free course on Family Law, traveled to Reno, Carson City, and Winnemucca, met with judges and public interest attorneys, observed court proceedings, and participated in Ask-a-Lawyer events.

View the 2017 Alternative Spring Break photos here.


Testimonials from the the 2017 Alternative Spring Break participants

"Alternative Spring Break was the ultimate law school vacation. Traveling from rural areas to bigger cities gave us the opportunity to see how the law is molded to fit an individual community’s legal needs. Without question, the biggest highlight was touring the Supreme Court, talking with justices, and visiting their chambers. Seeing Boyd students clerk for justices and testify at the state legislature was also inspiring because it shows the many paths law school can take us. Learning about the veteran’s program at the AG’s office in Carson City sparked an interest in public interest law that was not there before. And each day we gave a family law presentation, after which we had the chance to work one-on-one with people in the community. This helped me realize how many people are truly in need of legal services. Having dinner with judges, attending mixers with established Boyd alum, and driving by OJ Simpson’s prison was the perfect way to bond with fellow students."

- Natice Locke (Class of 2019)


"Honestly, there were two main takeaways from the program.  The first was the realization of how much harder the Northern Nevada NLS staff have to work because they have to travel to all the rurals.  It wasn’t until we drove from Reno to Winnemucca and back in the same day that I realized just how much distance they have to cover and the realization that they do it on a regular basis.

The second takeaway was how different rural courts were in that the judges were required to be jacks of all trades and how such a small community affects the judicial process.  It appeared that Judge Montero was a lot more influential in the town than if he was a judge in Las Vegas not only because he was deciding a variety of law and specialty courts, but because he was able to help form committees on suicide where I doubt that a district court judge would be able to form a similar committee here. 

I think the two experiences that were the most interesting were the Supreme Court Law Library and the final ask a lawyer presentation.  The rare book room was absolutely amazing to go into, and I still cannot believe I was able to hold and look through an almost 500 year old copy of the Magna Carta.  The final ask a lawyer presentation was interesting because of the fact patterns of one of the clients and the process of working with the attorney to decipher the client’s issues and separating fact from fiction.  

Finally, I did gain more knowledge regarding family law, as I did my community service with the Small Claims presentation.  For example, I previously had not known that there was a minimum amount of child support nor that there was a formula for generally computing child support."  

- Jordan Doctors (Class of 2018)


"Having the opportunity to teach legal education classes in northern Nevada, especially in the rural areas, is something truly special because community members show up to these classes because they need help. Not only that but this is a population of Nevada that I would never have had the chance to assist or offer educational support to were it not for this trip. The chance to help others, the chance to educate people on matters where the information would be invaluable is something every law student should strive to do at some point during their education. Although providing these legal education classes were the central tenets of the purpose for our trip, what I found most profound was getting to learn what others are doing to help their communities. Learning about judges who are passionate about addressing issues such as suicide awareness, learning about the attorney general's office commitment to helping veterans, and learning about the mission of the Nevada Judicial college for educational enrichment is what truly made this trip worthwhile. Coming back to southern Nevada from this trip, I am grateful to have gone through this unique experience and I come back with new inspiration to identify needs that I see in my community and learn what I can do to address them."

- Paloma Guerrero (Class of 2018)


"Taking the Alternative Spring Break trip was just what the doctor ordered!  This trip afforded me the great opportunity to learn about the various branches of our State’s Government.  Of all the activities I was involved in, I cherish three highlights the most.  First, I was fortunate enough to give back to the community by conducting two Family Law overview classes, sponsored by Nevada Legal Services.  During the second and third days, I also got to participate in the Ask-a-Lawyer program where I was able to answer general questions about divorce and custody.  Working with community members in need is always a satisfying experience.  The second experience was the tour of the Supreme Court of Nevada in Carson City.  During this trip, I got a glimpse into the “Rare Book Room” at the Supreme Court of Nevada Library.  These hands touched one out of five books written in 1587 containing a copy of the Magna Carta!  The third highlight was attending the Nevada Legislature and deciding last minute, along with one of my colleagues, to testify before the Nevada Senate Committee on Education in favor of a bill designed to implement Financial Literacy Classes in Public Schools.

After my trip, I sent nine handwritten letters to some of the people I met during this awesome trip.  A bonus highlight I will share was a “Thank You” e-mail I received from Ms. Merilee Mott, who gave our group the tour of the Supreme Court of Nevada Library.  In the e-mail, Ms. Mott thanked me for the “kindest letter [she has] ever gotten in [her] life.”  She also promised to frame and display the group picture we took with her, which I enclosed.  Tip:  Sending a handwritten letter thanking those who give their time to show you around is always a good idea and pays dividends in terms of networking and satisfaction.  I recommend everybody apply for Alternative Spring Break or otherwise go on these tours and meet the fantastic people who work very hard throughout the Silver State!"

- Homero Gonzalez (Class of 2019)



"I want to say thank you for supporting the Alternative Spring Break program. I was able to attend this past spring break and was amazed by the whole experience. Being from Las Vegas, it is rare that I go up to North for much of anything. So, when I learned about Alternative Spring Break from another student, I went right to Nikki’s office four months too early to sign up.

To say I enjoyed myself is an understatement. We were fortunate to meet so many people in the legal community who were open and excited to see and hear from us. They allowed us to ask many questions about working in the Reno area, career path, and advice to work/life balance to name a few. They helped us work with members of their community to give guidance during a troubled time in those member’s life. Personally, that was the first time I worked directly with the public in any sense of a legal setting. I walked away from the experience confident that my choice to go back to school was the right decision for my family and me.

Though we spent time helping the community the part of enjoyed the most was testifying in front of the Senate and meeting many of our elected officials in a legislative environment. I had never seen the legislative process up close, so I was surprised by the quick pace of everything around. A fellow student and I got a chance to sit in a couple of sessions. One, in particular, moved us both to the point we felt we had to share our stories. Speaking was a thrilling experience for me, to later be equaled by meeting and talking with some of the same Senators we had just seen and or spoke in front.

Having a chance to meet and talk with so many wonderful and dedicated people was made possible only because of the Alternative Spring Break program. I can not adequately express my appreciation to the those that supported this program. I have been telling everyone about my experience since we got back. I hope that this program continues for many years to come."

- Christopher Guy (Class of 2019)




During the 2016 Alternative Spring Break program, 6 Boyd students visited southern Nevada.  During the trip, they volunteered at Catholic Charities and Three Square Food Bank, traveled to Pahrump and Amargosa, met with judges and public interest attorneys, observed court proceedings, and participated in Ask-a-Lawyer events.

View the 2016 Alternative Spring Break photos here.

Listen to students interviewed on Nevada Public Radio here.

Read the Pahrump Valley Times article about Alternative Spring Break here.


Testimonials from the the 2016 Alternative Spring Break participants

"This program was an amazing opportunity to be active and productive during Spring Break.  One of my favorite moments was volunteering at Catholic Charities and Three Square.  As a 1L it is hard finding time to volunteer for community service.  During this program, I was able to help our community, bond with those who were also in the program, and learn about additional opportunities to stay involved.  From learning more about our Legal Aid services here in Southern Nevada to networking with attorneys and judges, this was the best way to spend Spring Break."

           -Seleste Wyse (Class of 2018)


"I participated in alternative spring break not only to get involved in my community and meet the wonderful and gracious people behind Southern Nevada's food banks and charity kitchens, but to simultaneously become close to my classmates as we further our journey at Boyd School of Law.  Seeing just how much food insecurity Southern Nevada has greatly affirmed my perspective and humility that I am extremely lucky to have a roof over my head and food on my table, let alone the chance to be in law school.  Furthermore, the connections I made with judges, Legal Aid Center staff, and other courtroom officials has been invaluable in assessing my future career goals of becoming a judge.  Even though it took time away from relaxing during the break, the sense of accomplishment and self worth I felt after completing the program made me wish I could do it all over again, and the little time I lost relaxing was more than worth it for the experiences, insight, advice, and connections I made."

          -Bryce Moir (Class of 2018)  


"I chose to participate in Alternative Spring Break because I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to our community. On our first day at Catholic Charities and Three Square, I was impressed to see members of our community coming together to support one another. I felt humbled as I saw the everyday struggles people are dealing with, and it encouraged me to spend more time in the future to help support these great programs.

Volunteering with Nevada Legal Services and the Legal Aid Center was also a great opportunity to see the public service options for those who are unable to afford an attorney. It really sheds a light on how many people within our community are left without options to obtain justice and just how much these services help them. This experience encouraged me to look for and participate in public service programs once I graduate from Boyd.

Additionally, Alternative Spring Break was a great opportunity to meet with Judges and Attorneys within our community. We met with many people working in public interest positions and were able to gain insight on the work that they do, helping us plan for our futures."

          -Lyssa Owens (Class of 2018)


"The most important thing that I took away from Alternative Spring Break was a sense of Southern Nevada as a community.  As a transplant to Las Vegas I tend to see very little besides the law school and my apartment.  It was very valuable to me to see the full life cycle of  Las Vegas potatoes, sorting and bagging them at Three Square and chopping them at Catholic Charities.  I was heartened to hear about all of the local businesses that donate to and support Three Square (like Sprinkles Cupcakes).  It is shocking that Three Square turns every dollar they receive into three meals distributed.  Similarly, both the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and Nevada Legal Services provide a breadth and quality of service that surpassed my expectations.  It was edifying to sit in on ask-a-lawyer sessions and learn how different the troubles people have with their neighbors in Pahrump are from their house rental troubles in Las Vegas.  I was impressed by the warmth and generosity of all of the judges who took us into their chambers, particularly Judges Wanker and Kishner.  During Alternative Spring Break I saw judges chambers in a courthouse with very tight security (the RJC) and a courthouse with no security at all. I was panhandled outside a Japanese steakhouse in a town that has a jet-pack  amusement park but no movie theater.  I saw parts of Southern Nevada I never expected to see.  Ultimately, I met a lot of people who work to make Southern Nevada a better place and saw how they work together in ways that even they may not be aware." 

          -Daniel Hansen (Class of 2017)



During the 2015 Alternative Spring Break program, 8 Boyd students visited Minden, Carson City, Reno, and McCarran, Nevada.  During the trip, they met with prosecutors, public defenders, lobbyists, judicial clerks, social justice attorneys, and judges; attended legislative sessions; observed court proceedings; and volunteered at the Food Bank of Northern Nevada.

View the 2015 Alternative Spring Break photos here.


Testimonials from the the 2015 Alternative Spring Break participants

“The experience was great because we got to see such a wide range of possibilities in terms of what lawyers do: from Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans to Deputy Attorney Generals, to the actual work of those who make the law, lobbyists, and of course a host of Boyd alumni.”

          -  Christopher Blandford (Class of 2017) 


“A highlight as well as learning experience involved meeting and listening to Jon Sasser speak.  He is a lobbyist for several public interest organizations across Nevada and he spoke with us about how legislative sessions worked, what he did during the year to prepare for bills and amendments that would be beneficial towards the interests of his clients, and how he strategized year after year to create legislation.  After listening to him, I’m considering perhaps doing a legislative externship in the future."

          -  Jonathan Chung (Class of 2017)


“The trip only made my future career path more murky, as now I find lobbying, legislating, and criminal defense fascinating!”

          -  Kory Koerperich (Class of 2017)


“I made many connections and learned a lot from everyone I met.  I have a greater appreciation for the work that attorneys do in rural parts of Nevada and after seeing all the great things Boyd alumni are doing, I feel confident that I picked the right line of work and the right law school to be a part of.”

          -  Haley Lewis (Class of 2016)


“The trip provided many opportunities to meet attorneys and create relationships.  It was my first exposure to the legislative process and I found it intriguing.”

          -  Ty Maynarich (Class of 2016)


“I also learned a lot about the inner workings of our State Senate and Assembly through witnessing a hearing on a bill regarding bullying in schools, and through talking to lobbyists for various entities, such as the Office of the Clark County Public Defender.”

          -  Seth Strickland (Class of 2017)


“This trip helped shape my future goals by helping me understand the Criminal Law field.  I have always been interested in Civil Law and I did not know much about Criminal Law.  After observing and talking with the Deputy Public Defenders in Reno, this experience sparked my interest in Criminal Law.”

          -  John "Tyler" Mowbray (Class of 2017)


“I learned a vast amount about the local history in Carson City.  I think it is important to thoroughly understand the culture of a city you want to work and live in.  Lawyers who feel a sense of belonging will probably become better advocates for the populations they serve.”

          -  Wynn Tashman (Class of 2017)