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UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law
Boyd Briefs: February 27, 2014

From Dean Dan

During Spring Break a group of dedicated Boyd students will put into action the law school's commitment to serving those who need representation the most and also to serving the whole state. These Boyd students will spend their break in rural Nevada as part of Boyd's Alternative Spring Break program. This program gives students the opportunity to meet members of the public interest community and judiciary in different parts of the state. We created this program last year to expose students to access to justice issues throughout Nevada and to encourage them to consider a career or pro bono work in rural parts of the state, where there is frequently a shortage of lawyers. After spending last Spring Break in Northern Nevada, this year students will visit Nye, Lincoln, and White Pine counties, going to Pahrump, Tonopah, Ely, and Pioche. During the trip, they will teach legal education classes and meet with prosecutors, public defenders, and judges, including several of our alumni. They will even stay in the "haunted" Mizpah Hotel. I am grateful to our excellent Career Development Office for putting this important new initiative in place, and I wish our students the best as they do their good work serving the legal needs of all of Nevada.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

David Tanenhaus


David Tanenhaus is one of the Boyd School of Law’s most distinguished and accomplished scholars. Nationally recognized for his work in the areas of juvenile justice and the constitutional rights of children, Professor Tanenhaus is also a prominent historian. Tanenhaus was an honors graduate of Grinnell College who received his Ph.D. with honors from the University of Chicago. Tanenhaus was a member of the faculty of the History Department at UNLV even before Boyd admitted its first class. Tanenhaus is now the James E. Rogers Professor of History and Law at Boyd, where he teaches Legal History and Juvenile Justice. Meanwhile, Tanenhaus maintains a parallel life in the History Department, including service since 2011 as the Department’s Chair.

Professor Tanenhaus’ publications are as substantial as they are numerous. His first book, Juvenile Justice in the Making, published by Oxford University Press, chronicled the history of America’s first juvenile court to interrogate an enduring question about how the law should treat children. According to one reviewer, “With the storytelling skills of an historian and the clear-headedness of a law scholar, Tanenhaus takes us back to the founding of the juvenile court to illustrate how far we’ve strayed from our faith in childhood as a separate province from adulthood.” In another book, The Constitutional Rights of Children: In re Gault and Juvenile Justice, Tanenhaus dissected the case that is widely celebrated as the most important children’s rights case of the 20th century. One reviewer described this book as “A marvelous study that delivers a richly detailed, meticulously analyzed, and elegantly written exploration of the Court’s seminal decision concerning the procedural rights of children... An outstanding book.”

More recently, and in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 opinion banning mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole for offenders younger than 18, Tanenhaus wrote an op-ed piece that was published by the New York Times. The following excerpt reveals the animating idea behind Tanenhaus’ scholarship: “[The Court’s decision] reminds us why we created the juvenile court in the first place and why no state has abolished its juvenile justice system. The juvenile court, as it turns out, is also the nation’s most successful legal export. Every major industrialized democracy in the world has a juvenile justice system built on the enduring idea that children are different.”

Professor Tanenhaus’ important scholarly contributions extend even beyond his own curriculum vitae: for eight years Tanenhaus, as Editor in Chief of the Law and History Review, shaped what is internationally recognized as the leading journal in that field. It is this sort of leadership and impact that has helped Boyd develop its strong reputation among academics.


Brianna Lamanna


Brianna Lamanna ’16 is poised to maintain a now longstanding Boyd stronghold. Earlier this month, she was elected Governor of the American Bar Association Law Student Division 14th Circuit for 2014-2015. With her election, Brianna follows in a now long consecutive line of Boyd students to hold that office, namely current 14th Circuit Governor Izaac Rowe ‘15. Laura Tucker ’13, Rajan Dhungana ’13, and Richard Manhattan ’11 have also held this position.

The American Bar Association Law Student Division is concerned with legal education and works with the ABA Section of Legal Education on issues of mutual concern. The Division also has an impact on practical and professional skills development and provides students job search assistance during and after law school. Additionally, the Division offers leadership training, public service opportunities, career development programming, and practical skills competitions. The 14th Circuit encompasses law schools in Northern California and Nevada.

So what does Brianna hope to accomplish in her gubernatorial capacity? “I hope to unite the schools in the 14th Circuit by encouraging students to participate in conferences and other experiences the ABA offers. I also want to inform students of the amazing opportunities, such as scholarships, networking, and continual learning, available to them through the ABA.

Brianna earned her B.A. in Behavioral Science and Communication from Concordia University in Irvine, California, where she served as Student Body Vice President, was a member of the Debate Team, and assumed a mentorship role in the Peer Advising Leadership Program.  Currently Brianna is a first-year section representative on the Boyd Student Bar Association Board of Governors. A native Las Vegan, she graduated from Advanced Technologies Academy where she had many classes and experiences that introduced her to the workings of the legal system and convinced her that she wanted to learn more.

Way to keep the streak alive, Brianna!



Michael Wadley '10


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Michael Wadley '10

Having worked in the construction industry while attending night classes at Boyd, Michael Wadley '10 was a perfect fit for Holland & Hart's construction law practice group in Las Vegas. “I feel so fortunate to have made great connections at Holland & Hart before graduating law school.” Michael’s graduation from Boyd in May of 2010 was certainly not the best time to be coming out of law school and an even worse time for the construction industry in Nevada. Michael responded to an ad posted by Holland & Hart through Boyd’s Career Development site seeking a “Construction Project Assistant." Michael says, “I shot an e-mail to my contact at Holland & Hart, told her I would be applying for the position, and asked if she would put in a good word for me. She responded, 'I’ll put in a great word for you; I’m the one hiring for the position.'" After passing the Nevada Bar, Holland & Hart hired Michael as a full-time associate. 

As an accredited Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional and through his personal experiences working in construction, Michael understands the difficulties his clients face from contract drafting to dispute resolution. He counsels his clients on nearly every aspect of the construction process and focuses on providing his clients business-oriented and industry-specific solutions to help keep their projects on track. 

When asked what advice he would give current students at Boyd, Michael responds, “Be nice to everyone you meet. You never know when that person may be able to help you get a job or send work your way.” When not working, Michael enjoys spending time with his wife and four children.

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