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Judicial Profile: Hon. Kimberly Wanker

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Gregarious and talkative, Judge Kimberly Wanker (pronounced “WONker”) prides herself on being accessible to not only her colleagues, but all visitors to the Fifth Judicial District. When arriving for work each day at the Pahrump courthouse, Wanker makes a point of entering through the main front door, so she can speak to people as they arrive. “I like to be approachable,” she explained. “I have an open door policy. In fact, just today, three people from the drug court have knocked on my door, and I’ve sat down and talked with each of them.”
Rural Trailblazer
Wanker prides herself on being the first female judge to serve in one of Nevada’s rural districts. Governor Brian Sandoval appointed Wanker to serve as judge for the Fifth Judicial District on July 1, 2011. The Fifth Judicial District encompasses Esmeralda, Mineral and Nye counties; Wanker’s chambers are in Pahrump. Her district has the highest caseload-per-judge of any of Nevada’s districts, including Clark County, and Wanker works hard to prepare for each and every one of her many cases. Her motto as an attorney, which she brings to the bench, is, “often outnumbered, but never unprepared.”
“Never Unprepared”
Attorneys preparing to practice before Wanker should be aware that she reads every word of every document from her cases. She does not have a law clerk and checks every citation herself. “I expect pleadings to be well-written and properly cited,” she said. “I know
Nevada Lawyer March 2013
the court rules inside and out. I can’t stand it when people are not prepared.” In addition to being well prepared, Wanker is impressed by attorneys who can state their argument succinctly. Prior to her appointment, Wanker worked for many years as an attorney in private practice, representing public and private employers in business and employment law and litigation. She also worked for the law firm of Gordon & Silver Ltd. from 1989 to 1995. She is licensed to practice in Colorado and Arizona as well as Nevada. Originally from Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Wanker graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law – she is involved in the University of Nebraska alumni group and holds season tickets to Nebraska Cornhuskers games.
Active Lifestyle
From restoring classic Volkswagens to helping local community groups pack lunches for schoolchildren, Wanker makes time to participate in a number of community groups and hobbies, despite her busy work schedule. She’s currently working to restore a 1960s 21 Window Volkswagen bus, using her college team colors as a theme. “I’ve never had so much fun with something,” she said. She has had the bus stripped down to its metal frame and rebuilt again, piece by piece. She plans to work on her father’s 1965 Mustang convertible when the bus is finished. In addition to restoring cars, Wanker also raced them. She’s ceased racing since taking the bench, but is still a member of the Spring Mountain Motor Sports Country Club. She is also an avid cyclist and loves both road and mountain biking. A member of several volunteer organizations, such as Rotary and Kiwanis, Wanker has also devoted her time to improving every community she’s lived in. “I think it’s really important to be involved,” she said. Community service is reflected in her work on the bench as well. “I love what we’ve done with the drug court here,” she said. “If [defendants] don’t have a job, [they] must do 20 hours of community service each week.”
March 2013 Nevada Lawyer

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