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UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
Boyd Briefs: December 13, 2013

From Dean Dan

I am delighted to report that Professor Anne Traum has been appointed to serve as Boyd's first Associate Dean for Experiential Legal Education. Dean Traum will oversee the development and implementation of the many parts of the curriculum specifically geared toward preparing lawyers for the real world of practice through the school's legal clinics, externship program, and experiential learning. These experiential opportunities are essential to educating law students and giving them a competitive edge in the job market. Boyd has outstanding experiential learning programs, including our nationally recognized legal clinics and our thriving externship program, and I want to thank Dean Traum for taking on this leadership role at a time when first-rate experiential learning is a more and more important part of legal education. For more information, please see:

For friends and alums of Boyd who might be in New York or close by in January, I want to invite you to Boyd's reception at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Law Schools.

AALS Reception
Boyd Reception at the 2014 AALS Annual Meeting
Friday, Jan. 3, 2014 | 6:30-7:30 p.m.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Linda Berger


Linda Berger is one of the Boyd School of Law’s most frequently cited faculty members. Her work is recognized and used because it is especially creative and important. Professor Berger draws upon principles of rhetoric, composition, metaphor, narrative theory, and cognitive psychology to answer and deconstruct questions such as how judges decide cases, how lawyers persuade judges, and how law schools teach legal writing. This is scholarship with impact.

In one recent article, Professor Berger explained how judicial intuition is misunderstood. Specifically, she offered A Revised View of the Judicial Hunch. Exploring the psychology of judging, Berger reconciled two branches of cognitive psychology research that, on the surface, appear at odds with each other. One of these branches has verified that intuitive mental shortcuts, or heuristics, often lead to mistakes and cognitive biases. But another branch has verified that intuition is a common and successful method of problem-solving. Her reconciliation suggests that both branches are applicable in the context of judging, but with separate domains for each. To simplify her argument, reliance upon intuition should be discouraged when judges make one-dimensional determinations or predictions; in these instances, judges are vulnerable to the same mistakes and cognitive biases that plague non-judges. Here she explains how intuition closes minds. But when it comes to matters that are multivariate and require expert problem-solving, the intuition of judges often leads to workable and effective decisions. This careful and elegant article is a thoughtful response to the popular sentiment (captured by the first branch) that has given intuition a bad reputation. Berger demonstrates that when properly invoked (as channeled by the second branch), intuition actually opens minds.

Professor Berger is part of a cohort of faculty members at the Boyd School of Law faculty that writes about law and psychology. She also teaches in Boyd’s highly regarded lawyering process curriculum.


Tanya Fraser


The 19 years leading up to her arrival at the Boyd School of Law in August 2012 found Tanya Fraser working in the casino industry as a table games dealer, instructor, and floor supervisor. For a number of those years, she worked at Native American casinos in California. That experience was eye-opening. “Compliance with federal regulations and state compacts often seemed to conflict with a primary purpose of tribal governments -- providing for the welfare of their people,” Tanya observed.

And so was born in Tanya the objective of positioning herself to assist Native Americans in developing opportunities for tribal economic growth, increasing tribal autonomy, and fostering education to improve societal attitudes toward Native Americans. The first step in achieving this objective was to complete the undergraduate education she had pursued off and on while raising four children with her husband and working full-time. Thinking creatively and managing time effectively, Tanya earned a B.A. in Casino Resort Studies from the Tulane University of Continuing Studies in May 2011.

A native of Mississippi, Tanya arrived in Las Vegas, took on the first year of law school at Boyd, and wasted no time in pursuing her objectives. Availing herself of our Career Development Office’s “Alternative Spring Break,” wherein students travel to rural Nevada to meet members of its legal community and provide service to its citizens, Tanya observed the Te-Moak Tribal court proceedings and interacted with Indian law attorneys. This past summer, Tanya interned with the Office of the Tribal Administrator of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians where she “gained exposure to the complicated and time-consuming processes encumbering economic development on Indian reservations.”

Tanya’s commitment to assist Native Americans is ongoing in her work as a Boyd Public Interest Fellow and as Vice President of our Native American Law Student Association.



Timothy R. O'Reilly '01


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Timothy R. O'Reilly '01

Timothy R. O’Reilly ’01 is a Las Vegas attorney with O’Reilly Law Group, a full-service law firm with an acclaimed reputation for excellent service to the Southern Nevada community for over four decades, and the newly formed Litigators for Justice, a boutique firm providing uncompromising legal representation in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and domestic relations. His practice is focused on litigation generally surrounding business disputes and catastrophic personal injury as well as gaming law. 

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Timothy attended and played sports at Bishop Gorman High School and, thereafter, attended UNLV’s William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. At UNLV, he served as the place kicker for the Rebels Football team. After graduation in 1999, Timothy entered his last year of eligibility for athletics but wanted to continue to enhance his education. The opening of the William S. Boyd School of Law the previous year provided Timothy with a challenge – could he attend law school while continuing to play Division I Athletics?

After discussing the unique notion with various influential individuals, his decision to apply to law school was a result of the encouragement and support he received from three enthusiasts – then Dean of the Boyd School of Law Richard Morgan; then UNLV Football Coach Jeff Horton; and prominent Las Vegas attorney John O’Reilly, Timothy’s own father.

After Timothy was accepted to law school at Boyd, the legendary John Robinson became the Football Coach for UNLV. Coach Robinson not only encouraged Timothy to attend law school, but provided him the flexibility to be able to do both – attend law school and play football.

In addition to practicing law and raising three young children with his wife Tamara (with a fourth child on the way), Timothy serves on the Executive Committee of the Las Vegas Bowl, is Vice President of the UNLV Rebel Football Foundation, and is a 2009 graduate of the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Leadership Las Vegas program.

“My father, John O’Reilly, always said ‘learn the rules of the game before participating.’ Attending law school at Boyd definitely proved to be a game changer for me. It afforded me the ability to focus the direction of my personal life and professional career, pursue various avenues of community service, and expand my education into the Nevada legal community,” Timothy said.

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