Boyd Briefs
May 18, 2017
From Dean Dan

In our last issue of Boyd Briefs for the academic year, I want to recognize some outstanding faculty members who have recently received national awards.  

Garman Turner Gordon Professor of Law and Special Counsel to the President of UNLV Nancy Rapoport was recently awarded the Lawrence P. King Award by the Commercial Law League of America’s Bankruptcy Section. The King Award is presented annually to a lawyer, judge, teacher or legislator who exemplifies the best in scholarship, advocacy, judicial administration or legislative activities in the field of bankruptcy. The award is designed to recognize the lifetime achievements of Professor King, which include contributing to the practice of bankruptcy law through teaching, by working to elevate the profession and through bankruptcy-related legislative activities. Professor Rapoport will receive the award at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges in October 2017.  

Professor Linda Edwards, the E.L. Cord Foundation Professor of Law, received the Burton Award for Outstanding Legal Writing for Education Award.  The Outstanding Contributions to Legal Writing and Education Committee presents this award the finest law school teacher who has promoted and advanced legal writing.  This unique national awards program was established in 1999 to reward great achievements in law. The nonprofit Burton Awards program is run in association with the Library of Congress.  Professor Edwards will receive the award on May 22nd at the Coolidge Auditorium in the Library of Congress.  

Incoming faculty member, Mary Beth Beazley, was awarded the Rombauer Award.  This award salutes a person who has contributed significantly to the field of legal writing.  Starting in the 1960's, Marjorie Rombauer initiated the transformation of the teaching of legal writing into a professional discipline.  Her foundation textbook was the first to integrate legal thinking, research, and reasoning and to advocate teaching them together, as a coherent whole.

Professor Jeffrey Stempel, the Doris S. and Theodore B. Lee Professor of Law, was awarded the Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award.  The Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award was created to honor those attorneys who have demonstrated commitment to the advancement of justice, scholarship and the legal profession through their outstanding contributions to the fields of tort and insurance law.  The award will be presented at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in New York City.

For anyone looking for an excellent professional development opportunity this summer, the Saltman Center is hosting its Summer Institute in Dispute Resolution beginning in May. Taught by experts in the field, these short, intensive courses are open to law or graduate students, attorneys, and professionals. This summer's course offerings include Mediation Representation, Negotiation, and Mediation Essentials. Please click here to learn more and register.

Finally, several Boyd School of Law alumni and current students were honored at the Las Vegas Business Academy Annual Anniversary Dinner.  Las Vegas Business Academy, is a nonprofit founded by entrepreneur Rino Armeni that gives scholarship recipients access to an unparalleled mentorship program that provides students the opportunity to work alongside Las Vegas’ top executives spanning industries all over the city. LVBA’s mission is to shape and influence the next generation of Las Vegas leaders by pairing students with professionals who provide support, encouragement and guidance to aid in their professional and personal development.

I want to thank the Boyd community for a great year. This is our last issue of Boyd Briefs until the start of the academic year in August. On behalf of the faculty and staff, I wish you a wonderful summer.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Las Vegas Business Academy Annual Dinner
Pictured from left to right:  Keivan Roebuck, Brooke Luna, Dean Hamilton, Caitlin Lorelli, Daven Cameron, Hunter Davidson, Michael Matzke and Mackenzie Warren.

Faculty Spotlight:  Bret Birdsong

Bret Birdsong is a Professor at the Boyd School of Law.  His expertise is in the area of Environmental Law, Water Law, Natural Resources Law, Administrative Law.

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

I returned to the faculty this year after serving in President Obama’s administration as Deputy Solicitor for Land Resources at the Department of the Interior.  In the near term, I am working to help protect President Obama’s conservation legacy.  Over the longer term, I am beginning a book about the evolution of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which has a challenging mission of multiple-use of the public lands.  In the past decade or so, the BLM has moved to embrace the conservation aspect of its mission and has been an innovator in promoting renewable energy, protecting species like the greater sage grouse, and mitigating the environmental effects of natural resource development, while at the same time continuing to provide for economic growth in the West.

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

Without a doubt, climate change is the most significant challenge for federal public lands and natural resources management.  Sound science indicates that we need to figure out both how to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate, and we need to do it fast, before it is too late to avert catastrophic consequences.  That means moving our law toward promoting renewable energy, reducing fossil fuels, and conserving the habitats and ecological systems that are stressed by rising global temperatures and climatic changes.  I still believe we can have it all on our public lands – great conservation and great economic development – if we do it smartly and quickly.

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

I always encourage students to read literature and history about the American West.  One cannot truly understand the laws and policies that have shaped our landscape and way of life without knowing about the history and culture that drives and is driven by those laws.  So students – indeed all Nevadans – should pick up a novel by Thomas McGuane, Wallace Stegner, Willa Cather, or Amy Tan, or even the journals of Lewis and Clark or John Wesley Powell or other figures in Western history.
Student Spotlight:  Ryan Saldanha

You did your undergraduate work at the University of Toronto, and you played four years of varsity football there.  Tell us about that experience. 

In one word, I would describe the experience as humbling. Humbling because football and school presented me with an unfortunate reality: there are countless people (much) more talented than me. To compete with all these talented people, I had to criticize myself, and transform many of my weaknesses into strengths. Importantly, football and school at the University of Toronto didn’t just teach me to embrace criticism— they taught me to actively seek it.  

Which do you prefer, American football or Canadian football? 

I’m prepared for some serious pushback on this answer, but I’m going with Canadian football. Fewer downs and a larger field means more passing. Being a former receiver, I’m partial to the passing game. Another sell is that Saskatchewan Roughriders fans wear watermelons on their heads during games (major kudos for not letting any part of the watermelon go to waste).  

What brought you from your native Ontario to Las Vegas and Boyd? 

Tacos El Gordo. My good friend Marco took me there when I first arrived in Vegas. He ordered me the Adobada Fries. At some point during my second consecutive order, I realized the only way to satisfy inevitable future cravings was to permanently move from Toronto to Vegas.

Other contributing factors 1) my dad lives in Las Vegas; 2) extreme heat beats extreme cold any day of the week; 3) when it comes to hiring, Boyd is the go-to law school for Nevada firms; 4) Boyd’s renowned faculty; 5) my family bribed me with a puppy. 

Do you have long-term plans to return home or to remain here? 

I’m here for the long-term… unless Tacos El Gordo opens in Toronto.

Alumni Spotlight: Andrew Breavington '09

Andrew is an associate at Mitchell Stein Carey, P.C. in Phoenix. He defends clients throughout Arizona in criminal, regulatory/licensing, and administrative matters. 

Why did you chose Boyd School of Law?

I had been accepted to UCLA—even booking a trip to California to visit the campus and find housing. Then, Boyd offered me a very good financial aid/scholarship package.  Being a little older, avoiding law school debt was an important consideration.  So, I visited Boyd. The campus and the faculty were really impressive. I learned there were significant opportunities in the Southwest. While it was a difficult decision, I have never once regretted it.

Tell us about the best advice you’ve ever received.

I have a habit of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. I am very direct and often lack filters. For example, at a recruiting dinner for a summer associateship at Fennemore Craig, an attorney asked me why I went to law school. I responded I was sick of being a waiter, I wanted to make something of myself, and did not want to waste my brain in a boring dead-end job. As it turns out, the attorney’s husband, who was sitting right there, was a career waiter!  When I was about to start the summer associateship (I know-they still hired me after that!), I was nervous about lasting three months without putting my foot in it. Yet I did not want to walk on eggshells the whole time, either. One of my Boyd classmates told me that I should be myself—only a more professional and polished version. That advice served me well that summer as Fennemore offered me a permanent position. That same advice has served me well ever since. Thanks, Matt!

What is a little-known fact about you?

I grew up in London, England. When I was younger, I acted and sang professionally for a while. There are some pretty dodgy photos of me around—including from a risqué cabaret act in which I performed.

Community Member Spotlight:  Judge Chuck McGee

Retired, Second Judicial District Court, Member of the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic Advisory Board at the Boyd School of Law

Tell me about your decision to serve on the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic Advisory Board and what makes Boyd Law’s mission meaningful to you.

My decision to join this Board was fairly selfish--I wanted a voice from Northern Nevada on the issues that face the law school as a statewide institution. What has made it so meaningful for me is to nudge the administration and staff in the direction of a Kennedy-esque kind of zeal with these young lions and lionesses, to make the community a priority in their future law practice, and not just taking a Pro Bono assignment from time to time. Fortunately, that has resonated well with the entire Board and with our champion and mentor, Judge Lloyd George.

What was your first or most memorable job?

My most memorable job was teaching Buddhist children how to speak English, in Hue, Vietnam a year after the Tet offensive almost decimated the ancient city. Like the Phoenix, the children rise from the ashes to correct our mistakes, hopefully.

What is your favorite travel destination?

My favorite travel destination is the South Island, New Zealand, which looks pretty much as it did centuries ago.

Tell me about something you’ve read that has made a difference to you.

Out of hundreds of books, I think I would pick The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje for the suggestion that love can transcend war. On top as well is Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance that showed me that a true genius has gifts in both the left and right hemispheres of the brain.

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