Boyd Briefs
Mar. 16, 2017
From Dean Dan

This week is spring break at the law school, and some Boyd students are spending their break in northern Nevada as part of Boyd’s Alternative Spring Break Program. Now in its fifth year, Alternative Spring Break is an opportunity for Boyd students to learn about access to justice needs across the state. This week, Boyd students Paloma Guerrero, Melody Rissell, Christopher Guy, Homero Gonzalez, Natice Locke, and Jordan Doctors traveled to Winnemucca, Reno, and Carson City. 

In Winnemucca, the students presented a class in family law in conjunction with Nevada Legal Services and 2010 alum Rendal Miller. The students met with Judge Michael R. Montero of the Sixth Judicial District Court and his team, and ended the day at the Martin Hotel for a Basque dinner hosted by Nevada Legal Services. In Carson City, the students met with the Attorney General's Office of Military Legal Assistance and took a tour of the Nevada Supreme Court, and, later in the day, collaborated with Nevada Legal Services on a family law presentation and Ask-a-Lawyer event. Finally, the students had the opportunity to observe legislative proceedings, and two of our students spoke in support of a bill on financial literacy. On Wednesday, the students toured the National Judicial College, met with the director and staff of Washoe Legal Services, and assisted with another Ask-a-Lawyer event. Many thanks to Nikki Harris, Associate Director of Career Development and Public Interest Advisor, for organizing this wonderful trip, and to the Access to Justice Commission and Nevada Legal Services for their support.

Early next week, another group of Boyd students will head to Carson City for Grassroots Lobby Days, organized by the Nevada Women's Lobby. This fantastic event includes two days of training, networking, lobbying, and discussion. Dean Christine Smith and law students Laura Bown, Elise Conlin, Brittni Griffith, Alysa Grimes, Angela Lee, Briana Martinez, and Krystina Viernes will attend this year’s event and meet with their legislators and Boyd alumni serving in the state legislature.

This week, Boyd Law ranked 62nd out of 197 accredited law schools in the US News & World Report 2018 law school rankings. This is a sixteen point jump from last year, and our highest ranking ever by five spots. Additionally, our Lawyering Process program ranked second in the country for the second consecutive year among legal writing programs, and the Saltman Center for Dispute Resolution ranked ninth nationally for a fourth consecutive year. Our part-time program is in the top 20, and we are also glad to report that Boyd Law was once again recognized as one of the most diverse law schools in the country. Thank you for your support of Nevada’s law school.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law
Faculty Spotlight:  Brian Wall

Director of Graduate Programs

Which of your recent books or articles should I read?

My colleague Sarah Ames and I just published “Parallel Prosecutions: Mormon Polygamy and Evidentiary Doubt in The Dynamiter and A Study in Scarlet” in Robert Louis Stevenson and the Great Affair: Movement, Memory and Modernity (Routledge 2017). While the legal, political, and literary debate about the Congressional disincorporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an interesting story in its own right, it has particular resonance now as the executive branch increases its scrutiny of the role of cultural and religious minorities in the United States.

When students ask you what they should read outside the required textbooks and other law-related books, what do you suggest?

Finding real-life or fictional examples of the subjects you’re studying in law school is a great way to make theoretical concepts come to life. Whether you’re reading Charles Dickens’s Bleak House as a satire of the probate process or watching the Buss family’s squabbles over the Los Angeles Lakers as an example of the perils of co-ownership, those examples will improve your ability to apply legal concepts to fact patterns and real practice.

What is it about teaching that inspires or motivates you?

Wherever I’ve taught, I have been truly lucky to have wonderful students. I love seeing their passion for learning, bettering themselves, and improving their lives, and it is incredibly gratifying to be a very small part of helping them on their journey.

Student Spotlight:  Scott Vivier

You’ve had a distinguished career in emergency response here in Southern Nevada.  Tell us why you love your work?

There are probably a thousand different things I could tell you about why I love serving in the fire service, but for the sake of space I will narrow it down to my personal “why” which is that I believe that people matter most. Being able to protect the sacred bond that is created between people in relationships, families, communities, etc. is a profound honor. Serving in this career field has allowed me to fulfill this duty and stay true to my personal "why." Oh yeah, riding in a fire truck is pretty awesome too!

And you also dabble in magic?

“Dabble” is a good way to describe what I do now. Before becoming a firefighter I worked as a professional magician for a local magic shop and for Bally’s as a contract entertainer. Nowadays, I can only perform a fraction of the effects I used to, but still enough to astonish most “reasonably prudent people.”  

How are you enjoying your first year as a part-time evening student at Boyd?

This first year at Boyd has been a tremendous experience. Jumping into a new career field and area of academia has been a little scary, but the expertise of the instructors, the overwhelming support that is offered from the law school, and the new friends I have been able to make has made it all worth it. 

And how is your family enjoying going along for the ride?

My wife LeeAnn and daughters Emmerson and Sterling were a little skeptical at first, but I have made sure to schedule in date nights with the three of them every week.  Doing that has made the transition for them smooth. So far so good.  

Alumni Spotlight: Lucy Flores ’10

Vice President of Public Affairs, mitú, Inc., Santa Monica, CA

How did you go from politics to the digital media company, mitú?  

My story is pretty well known - I talk about it all the time because I always felt it was important to emphasize that not everyone in elected office has the same background, nor should they. Given the fact that I was on juvenile parole and was a high school dropout, I never envisioned myself in politics or really doing anything that I have since had the privilege of doing.

I got into politics because I decided to pursue work that spoke to me. If my work wasn’t fulfilling, then I didn’t want to do it. It was a fairly simple approach, but also very difficult because it required having a lot of faith that I could do fulfilling work but still keep the bills paid. Fortunately, my faith always paid off and the opportunities always came.  

After graduating from Boyd in 2010, I served in the Nevada State Assembly then later ran for Congress. After losing my congressional election, I didn’t know how I was going to continue working on issues that were important for me and my community. Then I got an opportunity to advise mitú , a digital media company that brings a Latino point of view to mainstream entertainment and media, on their social impact and political strategy. That turned into a role as their Vice President of Public Affairs, once again proving that I could count on opportunities to present themselves if I just stayed focused on serving my community.
Did you ever practice law? 

I did. There is always the internal (and frequently external) conversation and debate about whether or not you should sit for the bar, and whether or not you should practice, especially if practicing law is not really the thing you want to do. As it turned out, I did sit for and pass the Nevada bar and worked as a litigator with the law firm of Maddox, Isaacson & Cisneros, LLP for a few years. The experience and skills I gained from practicing as an attorney serve me to this day, and I’m grateful I decided to practice. 

What is your biggest pet peeve? 

People who talk rather than do. 

Community Member Spotlight: Dan Waite

Managing Partner at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie’s Las Vegas Office, Member of the Dean’s Council at the Boyd School of Law

Tell me about your decision to serve on the Dean's Council and what makes Boyd Law’s mission meaningful to you.

Like so many other practicing attorneys in Southern Nevada, I attended law school long before the William S. Boyd School of Law opened. Thus, when Dean Hamilton invited me to serve on his advisory council, I jumped at the opportunity to participate, hoping to somehow contribute in a positive way to this great institution and the next generation of lawyers. And, it is wonderful to rub shoulders with the other members of the advisory council, who constitute a Who’s Who in Southern Nevada’s legal, judicial, political, business and educational community. Dean Hamilton is wonderful and always gives thoughtful consideration to the council’s recommendations

What advice would you give to current Boyd Law students?

Never forget the value of your reputation and character. I sit as a member of the State Bar of Nevada’s Disciplinary Panel and have seen some tragic situations where individuals who worked long and hard for their reputation lost it (and, in many instances, also lost their family) because of a very poor choice or two. On the other hand, those who can and will tell a client, when it becomes ethically necessary, “no, I’m not going to do that,” will retain their integrity, reputation and self-esteem, even if they lose the client and the fee.

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

No doubt, the scriptures are the works that have made a real difference. For me, that means the Bible, the Book of Mormon and a few other books deemed sacred by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).  The scriptures help keep me grounded and to keep things in proper perspective.  And, as I age and circumstances in my life change, I find new meaning in the same old things I’ve read and re-read.  I’ve loved such classics as Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” but I find the scriptures to be the best self-help manual out there.

Where is your favorite travel destination?

My wife, Andrea, and I love to travel the world. Our favorite travel destination is wherever our next trip takes us—currently, that’s France and Romania. However, our travels in the past have generated some favorites, depending on the category. For example, our favorite place for the people is Ireland; they are fun, happy and funny. For history, the pyramids, temples and tombs of Egypt are incredible. For inspiration, we love traveling the Holy Land (and have been there three times). For scenery, Croatia, Cappadocia (Turkey), Scotland, Fiji, Iceland and Norway are hard to beat. For diving (I’m an avid diver), Cozumel, Belize and Tahiti are spectacular. For culture, food and architecture, some of our favorite places are Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and England (not the English food, no way, it’s the incredible Indian food found throughout the UK).

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