UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
Boyd Briefs
Sept. 15, 2016
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
From Dean Dan

This week and in the weeks following, we will have hosted the chief judges of the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the Ninth Circuit, the dean of the law faculty at the University of Haifa, nationally-renowned documentary film directors, representatives of the Guinn Center, and scholars in, among other fields, health, labor and employment, and international trade.

This week's meetings at the law school of the chief judges of the Ninth Circuit, which included Nevada's own Judge Bruce T. Beesley, follow the February visit to the law school of the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Ninth Circuit. Our students have the opportunity to observe and interact with some of nation's leading bankruptcy jurists. Coupled with our hosting of the Judge Lloyd George Bankruptcy Competition in the spring, these events help our students develop advocacy and other skills essential to practice.

Our health law programming, organized by Professor Stacey Tovino, Director of the Health Law Program, is also well under way. We are looking forward to welcoming scholars and practitioners whose work focuses on bioethics, reproductive technologies, population studies, health privacy, and health care standards and we hope that you will be able to join us for many of those talks. A schedule is available here.

Finally, it's the season of debates and voting. Partnering with the Guinn Center and others, Professor Rachel Anderson has developed voter education programming that is part of UNLV's presidential debate activities and that will continue throughout the semester.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Faculty Spotlight

Continuing the focus on UNLV's Health Law Program, this week's Faculty Spotlight turns to Professor Sara Gordon. Professor Gordon's scholarship explores all aspects of mental health law, and she teaches courses in evidence, criminal law, mental health law, and legal writing.

Which of your recent books or articles should I read?
I would recommend my article, The Use and Abuse of Mutual Support Groups in Drug Courts, which is forthcoming in the Illinois Law Review. There is a large gap between what we know about the disease of addiction and its appropriate treatment, and the treatment received by individuals who are ordered into treatment as a condition of participation in drug court. Instead of receiving evidence-based treatment, most drug court participants are referred to mutual support groups and programs based largely or entirely on 12-step principles. In this paper, I argue that if individuals are to be compelled by drug courts to seek treatment for addiction, that treatment should be evidence-based and provided by trained and qualified medical and mental health professionals. Mutual support groups, while well-intentioned and helpful as a supplement to evidence-based addiction treatment, are not a substitute for scientifically valid addiction treatment and should not constitute the primary form of medical assistance received by drug court participants.

What is the most significant issue facing your field and how should it be addressed? Right now, most of my research explores the experiences of individuals with addiction who enter the criminal justice system. I think a significant challenge facing these people, as well as the system more generally, is a lack of understanding that addiction is a brain disease, one with a biological basis similar to cancer or diabetes. Also missing is widespread recognition of the benefit of many available pharmacological treatments for the disease of addiction. Many drug courts, for instance, will not accept participants who are undergoing medication-assisted treatment for addiction and substance abuse, treatments which have been shown to be safe and highly effective for many people. I think we’ve gotten closer to overcoming the perception of substance abuse as a "moral failing," but our refusal to appropriately treat individuals with these conditions is a sign of how much further we have to go.

When you are working on an article or a book, what do you do during the writing process that others might find odd? I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but I always have a very clean house when I'm working on a paper. It can be hard to start writing some days so I try to make my procrastination time as useful as possible!
Student Spotlight

Your e-mail signature line says, "Technically, I'm in the 29th grade." Please explain for our curious readers.
My children were confused with how I was still studying and taking exams when I am clearly a grown-up. I would explain to them that I was still in school, and would calculate my grade by years of school completed. So, after 12th grade, I completed four years of college, three years of graduate school, four years of medical school, four years of anesthesiology residency, and one year of fellowship -- that would be the 28th grade! By starting law school at Boyd, I began the 29th grade.

How does one transition from studying musical theater as an undergrad to going "all in" with medicine? Although I studied theater in college, I had, being an über-nerd, accidentally taken the coursework to complete a major in biology. I had an interest in emerging diseases, so I began the study of epidemiology of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins, with the intention of chasing scary diseases in the jungles. I subsequently decided that I would rather treat patients directly than to study bits of them in a laboratory, so I changed gears in the middle of my Ph.D. program and went to medical school.

How do medical school and law school compare/contrast? There is much more information to be memorized in medical school. The first two years of medical school are classroom-based, which is somewhat like law school, but the volume of information and number of exams is much larger in medical school. The final two years of medical school are more like an associate position in Big Law, with long hours assisting more senior doctors in the care of patients.

Do you contemplate any more degrees following your J.D.? Well, an MBA would complete the "bragging mother" trifecta. But I'm probably not that crazy. Probably.
Alumni Spotlight

Kelly Stout ‘10 is an associate at Bailey Kennedy, LLP; a member of the Thomas & Mack Community Advisory Board; a member of the Alumni Board of Directors for the Society of Advocates; and a member of the Nevada Board of Directors for the March of Dimes. She practices primarily in the fields of complex civil litigation, appellate advocacy, health care law, and administrative law.

What does a health care lawyer do? This is probably the most common question I receive after telling people that I practice health care law. The short answer is that I represent health care providers on almost any health care-related issue except for medical malpractice.

The practice of health care law encompasses a wide range of issues. I frequently render advice regarding the scope and/or application of federal or state regulations such as HIPAA, Stark Law, the False Claims Act, or Medicare/Medicaid. I assist clients by reviewing contracts, bylaws, policies, or other documents for regulatory and statutory compliance. Licensing application for facilities and individuals is another aspect of my work. I also represent health care providers in front of licensing boards when a patient or another provider has submitted a complaint. On any given day, I am likely to field calls from a client who needs to know which family member is authorized to give consent for a patient’s medical care if the patient is unable to make the decision, who is authorized to obtain a copy of the patient’s medical records, or how to respond to a subpoena. Additionally, I may be called upon to have the court appoint a temporary guardian for health care decisions.

What advice would you give law students going into OCI? As a rising 2L going into OCI, I remember feeling a great deal of pressure to know what kind of law I wanted to practice so that I could prioritize my choices and pick the type of firm where I wanted to work. However, looking back, I think that it is equally - if not more important - for each person to find the best “fit” for their working style, interests, personality, and priorities.

Students should think about their own learning style and working conditions. Do they work best in a collaborative team environment or prefer solo assignments? What level of autonomy and/or supervision makes them feel comfortable? Are they a take-charge personality or do they benefit from a more structured environment?

They should know if their lifestyle requires flexible hours or a more predictable schedule. Can they commit to a firm that emphasizes “face time?” How many hours a week do they see themselves working; and are the hours spent in the office or at home? Is pro bono work important to them? What are their expectations about time after-hours (i.e., networking events, board memberships, volunteer work, firm social events, etc.)?

However, I think that the most important question students should ask themselves during each interview is: “Are these people who I want to work with every day?”
Community Spotlight

General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and Member of the Gaming Law Advisory Board at UNLV Law

Tell us about your decision to serve on the Gaming Law Advisory Board and what makes UNLV Law's mission meaningful to you. When Dean Hamilton reached out and asked to me join the Gaming Law Advisory Board, I was honored and excited to participate. As a Nevada attorney, and a gaming executive, I can't think of a more important organization to support. I was particularly struck by Dean Hamilton's call to action that UNLV Law be to gaming law as NYU Law is to tax law. While you could argue that we've already achieved that, there's always room to build our brand and academic standing even further!

What was your first or most memorable job? My first job as a teenager was with an Orange Julius fast food restaurant in San Pedro, Calif., which happened to sit right on the edge of the water in LA Harbor. I started my first day on the job with visions of producing delicious blended orange juice drinks for happy customers. Instead, I was handed a bucket and a squeegee, and told to wash the outside of all of the restaurant's windows, perched on a small piece of plywood over the water. Ten minutes into the task, I lost my balance and fell into the cold, dirty harbor water! Believe me, I thought about packing it in right then and there, but I climbed back out of that water, soaking wet, and kept working. I'd like to think that I learned a little something about work ethic that day.

What advice would you give to current UNLV Law students? Don't get discouraged if you don't love every minute of every day of law school, or, for that matter, of being a lawyer. The subject and the practice is hard, complex, and requires intensive concentration. You may find certain classes, or professors, or clients, frustrating or confusing. You may get exhausted studying for your exams. Don't give up; it will get better. How many careers provide you with the chance to stretch your mind and learn new things, literally every day? Not to mention, the privilege, if you're lucky, of occasionally solving real problems and helping real people.

Where is your favorite travel destination? Italy. I wouldn't be surprised if my wife and I end up living in an apartment in Rome or Florence before we're done.

What is your favorite movie or book? Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Every time I read it, it means something completely different to me.

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law

UNLV is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer Committed to Achieving Excellence Through Diversity.

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