Boyd Briefs
Apr. 13, 2017
From Dean Dan

I am delighted to announce that Senator Harry Reid will be joining the UNLV Boyd School of Law as the first Distinguished Fellow in Law and Policy.  This is an unprecedented opportunity for Boyd students to interact with and learn from one of the most prominent lawyers and policymakers in the history of Nevada.

In his role as a Distinguished Fellow, the longtime Senator and Majority Leader from Nevada will work with Boyd students and alumni, lecture and participate in classes, and pursue writing projects drawing on the resources of the Wiener-Rogers Law Library.

Born in Searchlight, Nevada, Senator Reid served 30 years in the U.S. Senate and is the longest serving Senator from the state.  He served in the leadership of the Senate for 18 years, including nearly a decade as the Senate Majority Leader, where he took a leading role in shaping landmark legislation.  Senator Reid is renowned for his work promoting economic development, investing in infrastructure and clean energy development, and championing Nevada’s role as the country’s premiere entertainment destination.  In joining the UNLV Boyd School of Law, he carries on his family’s long tradition of involvement with the university; Landra Reid attended Nevada Southern University, which then became the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Senator Reid’s new role at the UNLV Boyd School of Law coincides with the creation of the MGM Resorts Public Policy Institute at UNLV, which Senator Reid will co-chair along with Speaker John Boehner.  The Public Policy Institute is a think tank that will seek bipartisan solutions on a range of economic, social, political, and workplace issues.  The Public Policy Institute will focus on local, national, and international policies that impact the travel, tourism, hospitality, and gaming industries.

We are honored that Senator Reid will also be the law school's Commencement Speaker on May 12.  We look forward to this great partnership and to giving Senator Reid a warm welcome.

I would also like to congratulate the Boyd student group Students United for Diversity in Law (SUDL) on another successful year of running its annual Street Law program, which culminated last week with a terrific mock trial event here at the law school.  Street Law's objectives are to create dialogue with high school students about legal issues and to encourage those students to pursue higher education, perhaps even law school.  This past Friday, SUDL hosted more than 60 students from Clark High School who had the opportunity to argue before a judge.  Many thanks to Judge Frank Sullivan and Dean Frank Durand as well as the many volunteers and SUDL members who participated in the event.  


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Faculty Spotlight:  Ruben Garcia

Professor Ruben J. Garcia has been in legal education for over 15 years, the last six of them at Boyd, and he recently became the Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research at the law school.   He teaches Labor Law, Employment Law and Constitutional Law, among other courses.   As Associate Dean, he is responsible for promoting the law school’s faculty scholarship and research, and encouraging faculty exchanges with other schools. He recently helped to organize the symposium in honor of Professor Chris Blakesley.  He is also Co-Director with Professor Ann McGinley of a new Workplace Law Concentration at Boyd.

What's the most important thing you are working on right now?

I am passionate about the re-introduction of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution as a force for change in modern life.  Most people only know about the Amendment as the end of slavery, but its language is capacious and prevents all involuntary servitude throughout the United States.  This language has implications for many areas, including human trafficking, covenants not to compete, and minimum wage laws.  I am also part of an interdisciplinary project aimed at studying the past, present and future of the Thirteenth Amendment.

What is the most significant issue facing your field and how should it be addressed?

The Trump Administration has begun a complete review of all federal regulations and agency actions, including many workplace regulations that were instituted during the Obama Administration.  One example of these is a rule that requires companies to disclose payments made to those who directly or indirectly “persuade” their employees in their choices about union representation.  I filed a brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a national group of labor law and legal ethics professors in support of the rule.  We are all waiting to see what the new role of the federal government will be in regulating the workplace.  One thing is certain--the need for experienced practitioners in this field is ever more important.  That’s why I am glad that Boyd has been a leader in this area for some time now.

How does your research and scholarship influence your teaching and service and vice versa?

My research and scholarship is essential both to my teaching and to my service.  One example is that my work on minimum wage and overtime law is critical to current debates about state policy on the minimum wage and changes to the federal regulations on eligibility for overtime, with regular inquiries from the media seeking understandable explanations about the law for the public.  It is very important to stay up to date in the fast-moving worlds of workplace law and Constitutional Law.  I learn a great deal from the all the amazing things done by my colleagues that I can share with students and colleagues at other institutions.

What is it about being a law school professor that inspires or motivates you?

I think being part of many communities is most inspiring to me. I am part of the Boyd scholarly community which is very important to me, but I am also part of a national community of academics and lawyers engaged in a conversation about where the law is and what it ought to be.  An example of this national community is the American Constitution Society (ACS).  I am a member of the ACS national board and I am also an advisor to the student and lawyer chapters.  I recently participated in a debate in Oregon co-sponsored by the Federalist Society on the interaction between right-to-work laws and the Constitution, organized through the national network of ACS student chapters.  I am glad that the ACS Chapter at Boyd and other groups have provided meaningful opportunities through both events and professional networks.  I think the return that Boyd provides on community building is very high and I work on increasing that every day.

Student Spotlight:  Sarah White

What was it like growing up in our great state's capital city?

People usually say Carson City doesn’t offer much, but I loved growing up in our state’s capital.  And while it may not have the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas or be the thrilling and awe-inspiring vacation destination that Reno provides, Carson was a fun place to be raised.  I grew up outside of town where I always played outside by exploring, hiking, running, kayaking, and riding my horse, Kazzie, through the mountains.  I’m thankful to have so many wonderful childhood memories.

How did your work in psychological counseling steer your path to law school?

Counseling provided the opportunity to help people in a meaningful way, but I wanted to take a more active role with clients.  I find fulfillment in having meaningful interactions with others, and I realized that as an attorney I could continue having those counselor-like interactions with others while also advocating on their behalf.

Are you getting a little sentimental as you approach graduation in May?

I will likely be sentimental when looking back on graduation.  But currently, I’m overwhelmingly excited to reach this milestone!

After you graduate and take the bar, what's your plan? 

I’m thrilled to clerk for Judge Douglas Herndon in the Eighth Judicial District Court the year after graduation.  Afterwards, I will apply to the District Attorney’s Office and to family law firms in Northern Nevada.  Regardless of which position I ultimately take, I plan to also work as a mediator.  After working in the mediation clinic at Boyd, I found that mediation is the perfect marriage between counseling and the law.  I also plan to continue training long-distance running, to travel, and to volunteer at my church.

Alumni Spotlight: Keith Pickard '11 

Keith Pickard is the Founding Member of Nevada Family Law Group, a firm dedicated to family law litigation in the areas of complex divorce, custody, child relocation, and related cases. Besides his law practice, Keith serves in the Nevada Legislature, representing Assembly District 22, for Henderson, Nevada.

What brought you to Southern Nevada?

I spent nearly 20 years in construction and development of major non-residential projects.  The Del Webb Corporation originally recruited me to help plan, design, and build beautiful recreation centers and golf course clubhouses--for which they gained national recognition.  I was then recruited by Toll Brothers, Inc. as an assistant vice president to help plan and build entire communities in the Henderson area. 

Given your established career, what prompted you to switch direction and go to law school?

I loved my career.  I enjoyed building spectacular buildings. But, in 2006, we witnessed the beginnings of the housing market collapse.  Knowing I would be competing with people half my age and half my salary, I decided to go to law school.  It was a wonderful experience made all the more exciting by numerous “ah-ha” moments when I understood the legal reasons why we do what we do in the construction and building industry. 

What is one piece of advice would you give to students about to graduate from law school?

Be open to new ideas.  Get lots of varied experience in internships and externships and do not be afraid to try different areas of law.  I never intended to get into family law.  It was not viewed as a prestigious practice area, nor were there many firms recruiting.  Initially, I thought I would go into construction law.  But since the Great Recession was still in full swing, no construction firms were expanding; most were shedding lawyers when cases ended.  I ended up working with a great family law firm that taught me what I needed to know to be successful.  Now, almost six years later, I have my own firm and a new career I thoroughly enjoy.  I am also active in bar activities and have helped draft and pass important improvements in family law.  Now, I am in the legislature to do even more.  So, be adaptable and open to new paths; you’ll never know where you might end up.

Community Member Spotlight: Kim Sinatra

Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Wynn Resorts, Member of the Gaming Law Advisory Board at the Boyd School of Law

You’ve been a generous donor to the law school. Why do you feel that it's important to donate?

My relationship with the Boyd School of Law began when I first moved to Las Vegas in 2002 and met founding dean, Dean Morgan.  I very much appreciated his outreach and dedication to creating an institution of excellence.  And, he sure delivered!  The law school was accredited in record time and has ascended quickly in national rankings.  All of us should be so proud of what Mr. Boyd made possible and a group of dedicated folks accomplished.  As for establishing scholarships, I have been so fortunate in my life.  My parents were able to, and generously allowed, my sisters and I to graduate from college and graduate school debt free and ready to fly.  Professionally, I have had amazing mentors and been given outstanding opportunities to succeed.  So it is my absolute duty to give back.  I love young, smart, dedicated people and if I can help them get a less burdened start to their professional careers, it is my pleasure!

What was your first or most memorable job? 

I have had so many wonderful opportunities.  My first jobs were in high school as a clerical assistant in my father's medical office, a waitress, and a clerk in a retail store.  I have always worked and most often loved what I do.  I actually liked my cocktail waitress days, although I am afraid I would never have cut it here in Las Vegas!

Where is your favorite travel destination?

I love to travel with my kids - so anyplace they are with me is my happy place.  Our trips to Turkey and Croatia stand out in my mind as amazing times.

Tell me about a book you've read that has made a real difference to you.

I am actually reading a small book now called The Difference by Subir Chowdhury.  Its basic thesis is that good is not enough; we must all strive for excellence in every aspect of our lives and that excellence comes from caring.  An outstanding message conveyed in a straightforward manner; it is a short, quick read, but it will make you think.

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