UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law

Boyd Briefs: April 28, 2016

From Dean Dan

Last weekend, the UNLV Boyd School of Law was proud to host the 18th Annual Clark County Bar Association (CCBA) / William S. Boyd School of Law Moot Court Competition in the Thomas & Mack Moot Court. The competition is a partnership between the CCBA and Boyd's Society of Advocates. Please join me in congratulating the final four competitors: first place winner Ryan Saldanha, second place winner Anna Avery, third place winner Alexander Velto, and fourth place winner Andrew Hart. I'd also like to congratulate the other students who competed in the two-day competition, as well as the local attorneys, judges, faculty, staff, and volunteers for helping to make this event a success. Special recognition goes to our final round judges: Justice Kristina Pickering, Nevada Supreme Court; Justice Michael A. Cherry, Nevada Supreme Court; and Magistrate Judge George W. Foley, U.S. District Court, District of Nevada. The judges were extremely impressed with the quality of our students' arguments.

Finally, I want to recognize the career and contributions of Joyce Mack Professor of Law Mary Berkheiser, who is retiring this year after 18 years of outstanding service and dedication. A founding faculty member who started the clinical program for the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic, Mary also directed the Juvenile Justice Clinic and taught and wrote about criminal law and procedure. An inspiring teacher and scholar, we are thankful to Mary for all she has accomplished over the course of her career here at Boyd, most notably her important work on juvenile justice issues. Mary helped build the foundation that has made Boyd a success and we are forever in her debt. We wish her all the best going forward.

Mary Berkheiser Retirement Celebration
From left: Associate Dean Rebecca Nathanson, long-time friends and supporters of the law school Tom Thomas and Joyce Mack, Joyce Mack Professor of Law Mary Berkheiser, Dean Daniel Hamilton, and Dean Emeritus Richard Morgan

In Mary's honor, the Boyd School of Law is pleased to establish the Mary Berkheiser Fund to support the ongoing work of the Thomas & Mack Legal Clinic. If you are interested in giving, please click here and select "Mary Berkheiser Fund" from the drop down list under Donation.



Dean & Richard J. Morgan Professor of Law


Mary Berkheiser


Mary Berkheiser's contributions to law students, the law school, and the community were celebrated April 27, 2016. She is one of Boyd's founding faculty members, the Joyce Mack Professor of Law, and Director of the Juvenile Justice Clinic.

What's your favorite memory of Boyd? My favorite memory of Boyd is sitting in Dick Morgan's living room in Tempe, Ariz. on a Saturday afternoon with Dick, Rick Brown, and Christine Smith discussing getting the law school off the ground, the curriculum, the students, and the building. We were all feeling excited but pretty overwhelmed. Rick said, "I guess we all just have to hold hands and jump." All for one, one for all. The success of the law school depends on everyone sticking together and doing it. Look at what we built!

Which accomplishments are you proudest of? In the field of juvenile justice, I am most proud of getting a statute amended in 2003 to provide counsel for juveniles. Prior to this, the statute provided that juveniles were entitled to counsel unless the right was waived. Waiver became the practice, and juveniles routinely went unrepresented in delinquency proceedings. Before a waiver may be entered under the amended statute, the court must hold a proceeding to determine that the juvenile waived the right to counsel knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently. Subsequent to the amendment of this statute, the Juvenile Public Defender's Office went from a staff of two attorneys to 13.

On a personal level, I am most proud of all of the students I have taught who are contributing greatly to the legal community. They are doing great client work, great pro bono work, public interest law, and private work. My students have made such wonderful contributions to the community. Having played a role in who they become as lawyers is what matters most to me.

How do you envision the future for law students, especially Boyd's? There is increasing pressure to be "practice-ready." Firms are no longer training new law graduates, so law schools need to provide more hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students. Students need to be ready to practice law when they graduate.

A J.D. is precious. It can open so many doors to allow you to do so much good. You can be such an agent of change in society.



Aleem Dhalla



Your upbringing, and that of your parents, truly spans the globe. Tell us about that. My dad was born in Mwanza, a small town in Tanzania. When he was 16 he moved to Nairobi, Kenya for high school. He then went to London to attend university. My mother grew up in Bombay, India. She went to college there. She married my father and moved to London. I was born in the United Kingdom and lived there until I was five, when my family moved to Dallas/Fort Worth. I grew up there and went to college at SMU.

And you worked in television production before law school. What was that like? Working in television was a great experience for me. A few years after college, I moved to Los Angeles after landing a job as a producer on a cable travel show. My official title was Director of Operation and Line Producer. I handled the logistical operations that make a small cable travel show possible—passports, visas, filming permits, and location research.

Looking back, what was your singular moment during your time at Boyd? Civil Procedure with Professor Main. First, that class made me feel like I had made the right choice in coming to law school because I loved the academic challenge of the law. Second, being a 1L and learning the "rules of the game" felt like learning all the secrets. People outside the profession fear lawyers and I think it's because lawyers have this perceived knowledge, as if they are holding the rulebook. First year Civ Pro felt like the federal rules were literally and figuratively that secret rulebook.

What are your plans after graduation on May 13? After graduation, I will be working at Snell & Wilmer in its Las Vegas office, but not before taking a long trip around Europe.



Kristina Gilmore '09

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Kristina Escamilla Gilmore '09

Kristina Gilmore '09 is an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Henderson (Civil Division, Employment Law).

What surprised you most about practicing law in Las Vegas? We have a really tight-knit legal community. Some of my best friends are my colleagues (past and present), including several Boyd alumni, with whom I regularly confide in and rely on as a valuable resource in the course of my practice.

What's the best business advice you've received? A reputable lawyer for whom I've had the privilege of working for told me that responsiveness and timeliness are keys to success (i.e. keeping clients satisfied). Those words ring true every day.

How did you get into the employment industry? In 2010, after finishing my clerkship for the Honorable James C. Mahan, I entered the legal market in the midst of a serious downturn and applied to upwards of 60 law firms. One of those firms, Littler Mendelson P.C., which practices labor and employment law exclusively, initially turned me down because it was not hiring. However, shortly thereafter, the firm reached out to me, and I jumped on the opportunity. It was a decision that I will never regret—no two employment cases are ever the same, and the facts always keep you wanting more. I worked at the firm for a little more than three years, then left to become an employment attorney for the City of Henderson. Working in-house is different from day-to-day litigation practice in that it requires me to advise my clients with the goal of avoiding litigation.

Do you enjoy the practice of law? Yes. I enjoy that I learn something new almost every day and never get bored with my job. In each job that I have held since law school, I've been very fortunate to work for wonderful mentors, each of whom have and continue to make me a better attorney.


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