UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law

Boyd Briefs: November 5, 2015

From Dean Dan

The William S. Boyd School of Law is honored to welcome Suzan Shown Harjo, a 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom award recipient, for a special event:

A Public Lecture with Suzan Shown Harjo
Monday, Nov. 9 | 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Thomas & Mack Moot Court
Free and open to the public | Seating is first-come, first-served
Please click here for more information.

Suzan Shown Harjo, who is of Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee descent, is president and executive director of the Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization dedicated to Native people's traditional and cultural advocacy, arts promotion, and research. Among her many accomplishments, she lead the charge in Harjo et al. v. Pro Football, Inc., the lawsuit challenging the name of Washington's NFL team; and helped pass the 1996 Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites, the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the 1989 National Museum of the American Indian Act, and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.

Special thanks to the following co-sponsors from the UNLV community for their invaluable assistance in putting together this event: College of Liberal Arts, Office of Diversity Initiatives, University Libraries, American Indian Alliance, Native American Student Association, Department of English, and the Department of History.

Additionally, I am pleased to announce Suzan Shown Harjo will speak with Boyd faculty on Tuesday, Nov. 10 as part of the law school's ongoing Faculty Enrichment program.

Also next week, we are delighted to host the Third Annual West Coast Rhetoric Scholarship Workshop, an annual scholarship exchange organized by an informal consortium of professors from UNLV, the University of Washington, and Stanford. The workshop will open on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. with a public lecture by Bernadette Meyler, the Carl & Sheila Spaeth Professor of Law at Stanford, on "The Rhetoric of Precedent." For more information, please click here.


Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law

Max Gakh


Max Gakh is an assistant professor in the School of Community Health Sciences, an adjunct professor at the Boyd School of Law, and the associate director of the UNLV Health Law Program. This innovative partnership between the Boyd School of Law and the School of Community Health Sciences supports interdisciplinary scholarship, education, and community engagement in health law and policy.

What's the most important thing you are working on? Since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, we have made progress as a society in preparing for all types of disasters, whether naturally occurring or manmade. Many of these developments involve changes to laws; for example, clarifying the government's authority to address public health emergencies. A colleague and I are identifying lessons from this experience to understand how to integrate health concerns into decisions about education, income, transportation, and the many other factors that impact health. I hope researchers and policymakers can apply some of those lessons to today's health challenges.

Which of your recent articles is recommended reading? "Law, the Health in All Policies Approach, and Cross-Sector Collaboration," published earlier this year in Public Health Reports. The article discusses how law can encourage different sectors to work across conventional divides on social policies that impact health. Public Health Reports is a journal of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Surgeon General that reaches policymakers, advocates, and public health professionals. As such, I am hopeful that the options discussed in the article will spark critical discussions and action in this area.

What recent reading influenced you? I recently chuckled my way through Little Failure by Gary Shteyngart. Shteyngart's memoir focuses on the cultural juxtapositions arising out of his family's emigration from Soviet Russia to the United States. The book illustrates how strange any community can seem to someone who initially encounters it and the centrality of our childhood experiences in shaping how we perceive the world. I find these reminders especially important when working with a diverse community and a diverse student body.



Keivan Roebuck



You're a dual J.D./MBA student. How do you hope to put those two degrees to use? I wish to put my degrees to use by assisting businesses through transactional, litigation, and administrative work. Thus far, I have found my MBA to be most complementary to my J.D. when dealing with legal issues that require an explanation of a business's operations, such as filing a Form 1023 to attain a nonprofit's tax-exempt status with the IRS and filing a Form S-1 to register securities with the SEC.

Many of us who went to law school didn't really get it. What was your "I got this" moment? During the first few weeks of law school, one learns how much the profession consists of writing. This worried me, as I had never been a particularly strong writer. However, through learning the CREAC (Conclusion, Rule, Explanation, Application, Conclusion) method and a number of other writing rules, I realized that writing is quite formulaic. Accordingly, I believe anyone who follows the rules of writing can compose documents that are clear, concise and meaningful.

What has your scholarship support from the Las Vegas Business Academy meant to you? The Las Vegas Business Academy is comprised of a board filled with approximately 30 of the largest companies in the Las Vegas industry. Through the program, I mentor with a different company each month, working with entry-level employees to C-level executives. Every company affords me the opportunity to learn different lessons and gain practical experience that I cannot receive inside of a classroom.

Of all the classes you've taken at Boyd, which has been your favorite? My favorite class was Small Business Law with Professor Franklin. We learned about the life cycle of a small business. This entails business entity selection, protection of intellectual property, receiving venture capital financing, and finding exemptions for security offerings.



Susan Pitz '02


Susan M. Pitz '02 recently accepted the position of general counsel at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada (UMC). UMC, a publically owned and operated hospital, has been serving the health care needs of Southern Nevadans since 1931. UMC has Nevada's only Level 1 Trauma Center, only Pediatric Level II Trauma Center, and Nevada's only burn center. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Nevada School of Medicine as a teaching hospital and has plans to be a future partner of the UNLV School of Medicine.

Prior to joining the team at UMC, Susan spent 12 years in private practice, including seven as a principal in Nutile Pitz & Associates, a well-respected health law firm located in Henderson, Nev. Susan was a member of the second entering class of the Boyd School of Law. Starting as a part-time law student while working in the UNLV athletic department, she eventually enrolled in additional classes in order to graduate in December 2002. While at UNLV, Susan was a member of the Nevada Law Journal and a founding member of the Sports and Entertainment Law Association. She stays involved at the Boyd School of Law today as a guest lecturer and a member of the Health Law Program Advisory Board.

Giving back to the community that has been her home for the past 18 years drives Susan. "A major part of my decision to take on a new role as general counsel at UMC was the ability to be in a position to make a difference. This is a very important time for healthcare in this country and in this community. I believe UMC will play a central role in many of the changes taking place in healthcare in Las Vegas, including the opening of the UNLV School of Medicine. UMC is our community hospital, and the healthcare community will only strengthen as its hospital strengthens."

Susan is married to Robert Aguilar and, outside of work, they stay busy with three children: RJ, 5, and twin boys, Nate and Zach, 2.


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