UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
Boyd Briefs
Oct. 21, 2016
UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
From Dean Dan

Intellectual property law has never been more important to the Nevada economy, and this week the law school is hosting events and speakers that highlight developments in IP law. Today the State Bar of Nevada's Intellectual Property Law Conference takes place at the law school. Speakers include the law school's own Professors Mary LaFrance and Marketa Trimble, as well as experienced Nevada practitioners and James Pooley, the former deputy director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization and currently special counsel to Orrick. Yesterday, Mr. Pooley joined law students and faculty in a lunchtime discussion of WIPO and its role and practices in the international intellectual property system.

On November 18 the law school will offer its first Intellectual Property Law Community Law Class. Boyd students will teach the IP Community Law Class -- with one track focusing on arts and the other on technology -- under the supervision of Boyd IP law faculty and local attorneys. We look forward to welcoming entrepreneurs, artists and all members of the community to the law school.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Faculty Spotlight

Linda Berger is the Family Foundation Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Research. Her teaching and research interests lie in the broad field of legal rhetoric and communication.

Where are you today and why?
I'm enjoying Ohio's fall weather while participating in a two-day conference celebrating the publication of Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court. I'm one of the editors of this book, and UNLV is co-sponsoring the October 20-21 conference at the University of Akron's Center for Constitutional Law. With an eight-person Supreme Court and many substantial questions on the agenda for critique and re-thinking, it's hard to imagine a better time to discuss the impact of diverse perspectives on the development of the law and on the performance of judicial decision making. It's exciting that the Nevada Law Journal will be publishing some of the articles that emerge from the conference and that NLJ editor-in-chief Emily Haws and Andi Orwoll, my research assistant on the book, are attending the conference with me.

How do you approach teaching your favorite topics? Your least favorite? When I teach my favorite topics -- like persuasion -- I try to find a concrete and interesting analogy to create an opening that establishes some common ground: based on your prior experiences, or on music, or literature, or current social interactions, what is this topic like? If I can find a way to start the discussion with some examples that both the students and I find worthy of more talk and thought, the ideal next step is to engage everyone in working through the topic with an exercise that both illustrates and advances understanding of the topic. On the other hand, when I teach my least favorite topics – like syllogisms and other rigid writing and argument formulas -- I try very hard to find someone else who has done the work for me so I can take full advantage of what they have already done!

When students ask you what they should read outside the required textbooks, what do you suggest? This fall, I have been recommending The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, a stunning novel whose images and words will remain with you. More generally, I encourage law students (when they can find the time) to read the kind of fiction that equips them with the power to imagine how the world looks and feels through the eyes, lives, and histories of our fellow humans.

Student Spotlight

Following your undergraduate studies, you entered the seminary, yes?
That is correct. After completing my economics degree here at UNLV, I entered into St. John's Seminary on behalf of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas to become a priest.

Any similarities between your studies in the seminary and this, your first year of law school? Absolutely. My class at seminary comprised such a vast diversity of individuals, quite similar to my current classmates. The daily schedules are also similar in their rigor, complete with early morning rising and studying late into the night. Most people don't know that a Catholic priest has at least the educational equivalent to a master's degree upon their ordination. In either role, one also assumes the extraordinarily heavy responsibility of training future professionals to counsel and console. In light of today's world, I'd say those roles are fairly critical.

What's your favorite first-year course so far? Contracts. The course is challenging, and I enjoy that. Also, my background in sales and economics helps in better understanding the concepts.

Getting through the first year is the short-term goal; what are your long-term goals? Does Governor of Nevada sound too ambitious? No, seriously, I've considered working for the DA's office or counsel for a Roman Catholic Diocese ("good luck, buddy," you're thinking). Maybe Bishop Pepe will give me a job! I've also considered operating as a solo practitioner in the trusts and estates arena. I'm all over the map. Ask me again in two years!
Alumni Spotlight

William is a partner at the plaintiff personal injury law firm of Claggett & Sykes. The firm handles plaintiff product defect cases; car collision-related injury claims; slip and falls; medical malpractice; and other personal injury matters. Claggett & Sykes routinely litigates against Fortune 500 companies -- including companies such as Lowe's, AIG, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, FedEx, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and many others.

Do you have a motto and what is it? I learned my motto from my father, who passed away nearly two years ago. The motto is: "Always be prepared." He learned the motto during Officer Candidates School in the Marine Corps. Some days I do better at following the motto than others, but I use the motto as one of the guiding principles of my life.

Who do you admire and why? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There are many reasons, besides obviously admiring him for what he did for the civil rights movement. The top 3 specific reasons that come to mind are: (1) the talent and intellect to not only identify the problem, but to come up with fair solutions; (2) the courage to act, in the face of overwhelming odds; and (3) the patience and determination to see it through.

What community nonprofits might you be associated with? HELP of Southern Nevada; Three Square; Shade Tree; KLUC Toy Drive; Light of the World Childhood Cancer Foundation; Challenged Athletes Foundation; Special Olympics of Nevada; 3 Feet for Pete; and Conquer Chiari.

Where do you see yourself (and your firm) in 10 years? Doing what we are doing now, by continuously improving to be better advocates for our clients and for our community. I look forward to the point where we can be even more selective with our cases, so we can provide an even higher level of service for our clients and give back more to our community.
Community Spotlight

Gaming Practice Group at Dickinson Wright PLLC, Member of the Gaming Law Advisory Board at the Boyd School of Law

Tell me about your decision to serve on the Gaming Law Advisory Board and what makes UNLV Law's mission meaningful to you. As a member of the legal community, I am very proud of the considerable talents, and sheer grit, of the deans who have collectively made the William S. Boyd School of Law the shining star of UNLV graduate programs, all just within the first fifteen years of its opening. We are especially grateful for Bill Boyd, Jim Rogers, on behalf of himself and my former law partner, Louis Wiener, Jr., the Thomas & Mack Company, and many others, for their generous financial support to the school. For a state which had to send its students elsewhere for a legal education such a short time ago, the Boyd School of Law has become an important catalyst in the growing reputation of UNLV. Boyd's new Master of Laws program in Gaming Law is a great complement to the International Gaming Institute, also located on the UNLV campus. For a lawyer who loves Las Vegas and has lived here most of his life, supporting the law school was the right thing to do.

What was your first or most memorable job? My first job was as a "soda jerk" at Shirley Ann's Ice Cream parlor, making sundaes and malts, a dream job for a 16 year old Las Vegas High School student! While I would admit to being a hot fudge junkie, I am by no means an "adrenaline junkie." Nevertheless, it seems as if almost every job I have had which was memorable, was also unnerving! But, isn't excitement what life is all about? I have been a Clark County Chief Deputy District Attorney, prosecuting murderers and rapists; a Member of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, facing down reputed mobsters; and as Chief Executive Officer of two major resort hotels, the Riviera and Landmark, I was responsible for the well-being of thousands of employees. (Perhaps it is no coincidence that my "legacy" regarding service at both hotel properties has been "imploded!") As a lawyer, I was afforded these opportunities and so too, your Boyd School of Law education will enable you to try so many things!

What advice would you give to current UNLV Law students? The most important aspect of your legal education should be to hone your skills to "think like a lawyer." That means developing the focus (and willingness) to listen to what your client, your opponent, and especially the judge is saying, setting aside your ego so that common sense prevails and having the courage to say "no" when it is necessary to do so.

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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