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Lawyers are People Too

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LAWYERS ARE PEOPLE TOO
There is no denying that a career as a lawyer is a time consuming one. Some of you shared your tips on dealing with the balancing act between work and family that such a career necessitates (see page 6). However, in spite of the challenges, many of our members are finding the time to do much, much more outside of the office. The State Bar of Nevada is made up of attorneys who are writers and musicians, athletes, history buffs, sports fans and true humanitarians. Read on for some of their stories…
MATTHEW DigESTi, RENO THiRD WORLD VOLuNTEER
By Melinda Catren
The Thinkkin
dness team
Matthew P Digesti . took his first international trip this year and headed to Kenya, where he and his associates visited an orphanage. He travelled there with Thinkkindness, an organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children in third-world nations. He and his team carried with them, along with their good intentions, 210 pairs of shoes, notebooks, pens, pencils, jump ropes, soccer balls, Frisbees, art supplies and medical supplies. The experience was an eye-opening one for Digesti and his colleagues, most of whom had never been more than a stone’s throw from comfort or at least familiarity. His team drove through a shanty-town housing more than 1 million human beings, most of whom earn less than a dollar a day and are still forced to pay rent to the government in order to live in appalling and unsanitary conditions.
The Tumaini Orphanage is located about three hours (by car) from Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. It was several days before Digesti or any of his teammates were allowed any contact with the orphans themselves. But once they were allowed to meet and mingle with them, they were very impressed. In addition to doing chores, the children study 13 hours a day, six days a week and really seem to enjoy learning. Their capacity for affection was also astounding to Digesti, especially in light of their living conditions and some of their past histories. In a letter to the supporters of the organization, Digesti wrote, “It might be hard to imagine how a group of strangers can walk into an orphanage and give a child the kind of love that takes years to create in a traditional setting – but trust me, we did it and we have you to thank… …Within minutes of meeting [them], they were holding your hand, or wanting piggy back rides, or asking that you run with
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them, study, play soccer, sing, or just talk.” Digesti writes. “I met HIV-positive children, a girl who was raped by her uncle for nine years, a boy whose mother threw him out as a young child … and a good handful of kids whose parents just could not afford to raise them and reluctantly turned them over to the orphanage. And you know what, despite it all, you wouldn’t know they had terrible pasts unless you asked them. They wear their hearts, and not their pasts, on their sleeve.” Digesti and his companions gave thousands in donation money to the school in order to assist them in purchasing chickens for the orphanage. (The school had already built a coop for the birds). This donation will provide meat and eggs to children – whose diet generally consists only of a porridge of cabbage and grains – for a long time to come. Digesti acknowledges that the support of many helped him and his teammates in their endeavor; he specifically thanks Nevada attorneys Don Coppa and Thomas Belaustegui.
Aurbach with th e young player s from the Mar Hennessy Juni ty or Tennis Foun dation
Tournament and then Western Kentucky University where he played for the Hilltoppers. The steady climb from racket stringer and number 13 on a squad of 12 taught Aurbach a lesson that has stayed with him his entire legal career. Says Aurbach: “It takes a long time and a lot of practice to become a good tennis player and the same is true of becoming a good lawyer. It took me years to become a good trial
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PHiL AuRBACH, LAS VEgAS TENNiS ENTHuSiAST
By Erin Barnett
For Phil Aurbach, a restless night before a big day at court is nothing new. When he is deciding how to present his argument, Aurbach knows that a wellthought out strategy can often make a difference between a win and a loss. But it’s not just going to court that gets Aurbach’s adrenaline flowing; he’s also made a lifelong hobby of competitive amateur tennis. A native of Las Vegas, Phil tried out for the Clark High School tennis team when he was a freshman. After tryouts, Phil was told the 13-player squad was being cut to 12, and he was number 13. Never one to give up, Phil began washing tennis courts and stringing rackets to pay for tennis lessons and, by his senior year in high school, he was ranked #2 in doubles in Nevada, earning him a scholarship at Mesa Community College, a berth in the Junior College National
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lawyer.” It’s this message of the power of perseverance that Aurbach hopes to pass on to local youths through his involvement with the Marty Hennessy Junior Tennis Foundation, which provides assistance and mentoring to young, economically disadvantaged tennis players in Las Vegas. “The character skills that make a young person a good tennis player will invariably lead to success in other areas of life,” says Aurbach. In recent years, Aurbach was inspired by a client who was ranked number one in the world in the 70 and over age bracket. Since then, Phil has played competitively in the 55 and older bracket, raising
his ranking to as high as number 40 in the United States in 2009. “Tennis is a great sport for me,” says Aurbach. “Because highly competitive leagues exist for amateurs well into adulthood; many sports don’t offer that level of competition past college.” The biggest challenge, says Aurbach, is getting his wife enthused about their new travel destinations. “Before I began playing national tournaments, we would take exotic trips to England, Paris or Sweden. Our last trip was a week away to play the National Indoor championships in Boise, Idaho. Trying to make that sound exotic was a real challenge.”
DAY WiLLiAMS, CARSON CiTY NEVADA CHuRCH MiSSiONARY By Patty Cafferata
Day Williams and his family lived in Guatemala from July 29 to August 8, 2010. The First United Methodist Church in Carson City sponsored 25 laypeople on an outreach program to a tiny town in this Central American country. Williams, his wife Robin, 16-year-old son Nathanael, 15-yearold daughter Abby and his 84-year-old mother Maurine, along with Carson City attorney, Brian Hutchins, traveled with the group to La Union: a town not even on the map. The village was so small that the church’s teenagers played soccer on the only street in town. After spending two-and-a-half hours in a colorfully painted school bus, the church group arrived in the settlement. They found about 120 to 140 families living in the village. An advance team met with the town leaders to learn how the members could best contribute to improving the community. The goal for the trip was two-fold; the parishioners addressed a sanitation issue and a construction problem. The group was also accompanied by a medical team from several Carson City churches. In 2009, the
medical team had treated a number of villagers for intestinal problems. After meeting with the town leaders, the health care professionals decided that the greatest need was for water filters. Working with a group called Miracles in Action; the church members provided 150 water filters to the community. They gave daily presentations about personal hygiene and demonstrated how to assemble and use the water filters. Meanwhile, other members spent their time reroofing the school. Up until then, the school had to be closed during the frequent rainstorms because of a leaky roof.
The First united Methodist Church group in La union Williams with the mayor of La union.
Although many of the Methodists did not speak Spanish, they communicated with smiles and gestures. Williams took many photos, and when the kids saw him, they would call out, “Photo! Photo!” Williams and his family returned home excited about their experience in Guatemala.
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December 2010
THOMAS QuALLS, RENO AuTHOR
MARiLYN ASH, SAN FRANCiSCO HiSTORiC REENACTOR By Jenni Smith
Attorney Marilyn Ash has a unique way of letting her contacts know she’ll be unreachable during her leisure time – she’ll say “I’m going to another century.” A figurative time-traveler, Ash spends the majority of her vacation time each year attending historic reenactment events all over the country.
Thomas Qualls, Photo courtesy of Dana Nolsch Qualls first novel: “Waking up at Rembrandt’s.” He is currently working on a second. Attorney Thomas Lloyd Qualls knows how to meld a rewarding and active law practice with his personal interests. Whether it’s writing novels, cycling or spending time with his wife and toddler, the Reno solopractitioner manages to infuse his life with a healthy dose of activities unrelated to the practice of law. As an author, Qualls enjoys blending genres, combining poetry and prose and experimenting with voice. His first novel, “Waking Up at Rembrandt’s” has received several local accolades; it is a story about a world-weary lawyer, an over-educated slacker and a writer who can’t find his voice. Qualls says that writing fiction is extremely rewarding because it allows him to express his ideas and creativity without any limitations. One drawback of attempting to write novels while practicing law, however, is the lack of sleep. Qualls says that there were many late nights and long weekends involved in the writing of “Waking Up at Rembrandt’s.” Yet despite an active law practice, which includes several complex death penalty cases, Qualls manages to find the time to write and is currently hard at work on his second novel, “Painted Oxen.” In addition to writing novels, Qualls is also passionate about cycling and advocating for cycling interests. Qualls is currently vice president for the Tour de Nez Outreach, a local non-profit that is working to establish a bike share program and to create safe riding conditions throughout Reno. The mission of Tour de Nez Outreach is to promote cycling as the ultimate environmentally sound, healthy, family-oriented, funfor-all-ages, accessible and community-minded activity. In addition, Qualls is a past director of Nevada EcoNet, which is a local non-profit dedicated to providing environmental education and outreach to increase public awareness of issues affecting the environment. Prior to settling down in northern Nevada, Qualls traveled throughout Europe and even backpacked in India. Qualls is still very interested in adding stamps to his passport and hopes to share any future traveling adventures with his family.
Ash and her husband getting into history
The purpose of historic reenactment is to celebrate, remember and educate the public about various periods of American history. Reenactors attend weekend and holiday camping events while wearing clothing, using tools and living in tents styled appropriately to the period of history they’ve selected. Many of these events are open to the public and tourists are welcome to come view the campsites and mock battles. Reenactors participate in various competitions, including crafting and weapons use. Ash’s husband, George, discovered the couple’s first reenactment club in the mid-1980s, as a way of finding a hobby that they could enjoy as a couple. The reenactment activities appealed to Marilyn’s love of camping as well as to George’s enjoyment of outdoor sports competitions. He currently competes using a flintlock pistol on designated shooting ranges. “My husband gets into the shooting. I just like the camping and socializing,” Ash said. “I used to do shooting but given the competitive nature of law, the last thing I wanted to do was try to beat someone on the weekend.” The couple currently works and lives in San Francisco and participates in several reenactment
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clubs in northern California; however, they resided in Las Vegas for many years and participated in several Nevada clubs during their time in the state, including the Mojave Muleskinners club. Ash recommends that interested people look for a local retailer that sells black gunpowder – such retailers are often knowledgeable about the local reenactment clubs and events and often provide flyers or bulletin boards at their stores. Ash and her husband have reenacted several periods from history, but currently participate in events celebrating the pre-1840 period, especially focusing on the revolutionary war period. They have crafted or collected several costumes specific to this period, which they wear to reenactment events. Ash’s costume includes a chemise, petticoat, bed jacket and moccasins. Ash spends the majority of her vacation time attending events throughout the country. When she’s not reenacting, Ash practices in utility regulation law. In addition to her law degree, Ash holds a Ph.D. in Political Science.
Valli, on the keyboard and piano; 80-year-old “Seip” on the electric violin; and singer Simona Savoy. Recently, the band recorded its first album. The quartet sings pure harmony, which is something of a lost art. Most singing groups today just sing the same melody in different ranges, rather than learning to harmonize their voices. The group practices once a week and limits its engagements to four a month. As much as Karp enjoys singing, he has promised his wife of 28 years, Kathryn, that he will spend the majority of his free time with her. Karp finds performing to be a full release from the stresses related to being a personal injury and criminal defense lawyer. He believes that entertaining theater goers is similar to arguing before a judge or jury. Karp says, “Speaking off the cuff to a judge or jury is similar to improvising before an audience.”
TREVOR HAYES, LAS VEgAS RuNNiN’ REBEL FAN By Scott Wasserman
Trevor Hayes’ practice focuses on transportation, local land use, legislative advocacy, administrative law and gaming law. However, that is not Hayes’ true passion. He has been a UNLV basketball fanatic since his childhood days growing up in Tehachapi, California, located two hours north of Los Angeles. Hayes spent his time dribbling on the local playground courts and envisioning himself as a UNLV Runnin’ Rebel, despite having the Los Angeles Lakers just down the road. Today, you can find Trevor featured in the Runnin’ Rebs advertisements for the upcoming season. It was the Rebels that brought Hayes to Las Vegas to attend UNLV where he graduated , in 2001 with a major in journalism. After attending law school in Chicago at Northwestern University, Hayes returned to Las Vegas to practice law, primarily so
KEViN KARP , RENO MuSiCiAN By Patty Cafferata
Tenor and baritone Kevin Karp sings the music he grew up with – rock’n’roll music from the 50s and 60s – as well as from the 70s and 80s. He began his musical career when he was 5 years se old. His mother new relea eet Band’s Sandra acted in a e Baker Str Th theatrical company and when it needed a child for one of the performances, Karp made his first appearance on the stage. He continued to perform in theaters and worked his way through college in a professional improvisatorial troupe. Karp had planned to become an entertainer but when he saw fellow performers who could not even land auditions, he decided he would control his future by relying on himself, not others; he became a lawyer. For the past three years, Karp has been a vocalist with the Baker Street Band (See the band’s Facebook page). This four-piece group is comprised of Adrian Baker, who played with the Beach Boys and Frankie
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he could get back to the Thomas and Mack Center to watch the Runnin’ Rebs! He feels that his successful practice of law in Las Vegas is a result of his devotion to being a Rebels fanatic. But what makes Hayes’ fanaticism unique is that he has also harnessed his energy into helping UNLV and the Las Vegas community. Hayes was a founding member of the Journalism and Media Studies Alumni Board (since incorporated into the College of Urban Affairs Alumni Board) and serves as a board member of the UNLV Alumni Association. Additionally, in an effort to give back to the community and to promote the UNLV Rebels and the university in general, Trevor founded and serves as the Chairman of the UNLV’s Runnin’ Rebels Ambassadors. The Ambassadors helped launch the successful Tickets for Teachers program. The program provides season basketball tickets to school administrators to reward teachers and others involved in the schools for their efforts to educate our children in Nevada. In its inaugural year, 2008-09, Tickets for Teachers allowed 9,000 educators to go to Rebel basketball games free of charge. In 2009-10, Tickets for Teachers helped 14,000 educators to attend Rebel basketball games. The program looks forward to another successful basketball season in 2010/2011.
If you want to know more about Hayes, just stop by one of the UNLV open practices where you will find him taking in the practice and jovially discussing the background of each of the players, providing an analysis of their playing skills and expressing the high expectations of Rebel fans for the upcoming season. Just a note for all the Wolfpack fans who think Trevor may need some educating about the Wolfpack (that’s right Trevor, a shout out to the Wolfpack fans in a story about you) ... Trevor’s wife, Erin, is a UNR alumnae whose passion for the Wolfpack has also been featured in the Las Vegas Sun, so she keeps Trevor educated on the achievements of the Wolfpack as well.
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Do you have an opinion about an article in this issue of Nevada Lawyer? Let us know!
Send your letters to the editor to: State Bar of Nevada Attn: Nevada Lawyer Letters to the Editor 600 East Charleston Blvd. Las Vegas, NV 89104
Or e-mail us at nvlawyer@nvbar.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
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DiCK SCHuLZE, RENO SNOWBOARD CHAMP By Christina Alberts
continued from page 19
For years Dick Schulze harbored the belief that skiers were good and snowboarders were bad, generalizing snowboarders as mostly ill-behaved teenagers. Despite his apprehension regarding snowboarders, he was tempted to try the sport after talking to more mature snowboarders. Upon confessing his temptation to his son, he was met with an emphatic “NO WAY” and set aside his curiosity about snowboarding. A few years after being told “no way,” he went on a ski trip (without his son) where he again met mature snowboarders who Schulze and a friend were adamant about the sport being a great deal of fun. Schulze took advantage of his son’s absence and subsequent inability to protest, and strapped on a snowboard. “I was only going to try it once,” he said. “Five minutes and I was hooked.” Snowboarding has since become a passion for Schulze, who takes to the fresh, powdery snow whenever he can. A part-time employee of a Reno law firm, he is able to use vacations, weekends and free time to indulge his passion. Schulze has put his skills as a snowboarder to the test through competition. He began competing after just a year and a half of boarding and has competed in Japan, America and New Zealand in events such as the USASA National Championships, the New Zealand Masters and the Burton Open. He has even competed against Olympic gold-medalist Shaun White, which is something he says other mature snowboarders won’t do. Schulze has also earned the attention of Base Snowsports and SnowPark Ski Resort, who now serve as his corporate sponsors. Aside from garnering corporate sponsors, Schulze has used his skills as a snowboarder to
teach others. Schulze first took instructor courses in New Zealand in 2001 to sharpen his own skills and to help his friends learn the sport, but during an economic recession he decided to try to earn a little extra money by becoming a professional ski instructor. Having not passed the rigorous instructor exams in New Zealand, Schulze was not certain he’d be able to get a job as an instructor in America. He was pleasantly surprised when he was hired as an instructor at Northstar-at-Tahoe Ski Resort and was asked to help train other instructors. Though his paychecks were rather small (his first paycheck was only $13), he enjoyed his new role as a teacher and has stuck with it for 10 years. “[It’s] very rewarding helping people overcome their fears. People come to take lessons for many reasons,” he said. Schulze says a common scenario, and some of his most rewarding work, is assisting female students who are learning to snowboard for the benefit of their significant others, “It’s up to me to help her make it into a fun day…for many it becomes a real accomplishment.” Although snowboarding has been mostly fun for Schulze, there have been some scary moments resulting in minor bumps, bruises and scrapes, and the replacement of an ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament). When he shredded his ACL during a competition in Breckenridge, Colorado, Schulze faced the possibility of never being able to snowboard again. He was given the choice of being relatively sedentary for the remainder of his life or going through a surgery to replace the ligament; of course he chose the latter. Schulze’s next adventure will be as a representative of the U.S. delegation at a ski and snowboard instructors’ convention in Austria.
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JENNY FOLEY, LAS VEgAS DOg FOSTER MOM By Christina Alberts
Fostering dogs has been a bittersweet experience for Las Vegas attorney Jenny Foley. Foley had tried, without success, to convince her husband Lars that a dog would be a wonderful addition to their family; then the couple was introduced to the notion of fostering. While he wasn’t ready to commit to full ownership, Foley’s husband agreed to give fostering a try. So Jack, a black Labrador Retriever, moved into their home. The Foleys were allowed to keep Jack to themselves for two months before having to return him to the pet store on weekends for adoption fairs; during those two months Jack became a beloved member of the family. When Jack’s first weekend back at the pet store arrived Foley and her husband spent an entire day in tears. The following day, realizing they wouldn’t be able to face having to continue returning Jack to the pet store, they decided to adopt Jack permanently. But when the Foleys got to the pet store, he had already been adopted by someone else. Even though this was heartbreaking for the Foleys, they were thrilled that the dog had found a forever home. “It was kind of perfect for him,” Foley explains. The people had a pond and two or three boys…a black lab on a ranch: it can’t get more perfect than that.” Deciding the positives of the experience outweighed the negatives, Foley and her husband continued fostering dogs. They have been at it, off and on, for the past two years. Foley says working for a boss who is extremely flexible and understanding has helped her balance life as a busy attorney with her responsibilities as a foster pet parent. The agency Foley has most recently worked with, German Shepherd Rescue of Las Vegas, has also worked to accommodate her busy schedule, allowing her to continue to pursue her passion for helping animals in need of homes. In her two years of fostering, Foley says she has had some wonderful, uplifting
experiences. Her most recent foster pet, a German shepherd named Honey, has provided her with one of her best fostering experiences thus far. Honey wasn’t doing well when Foley picked her up, but she says her connection with the dog was instant. “She attached herself to me like Velcro; she could have taken or left Lars…she would have preferred to leave him on the side of the road,” says Foley. Part of Honey’s dislike for her husband, and all other men, stemmed from the dog’s having been abused by a male. It took Foley six weeks of hard work, but eventually Honey warmed up to Lars and showed real improvement. After helping to rehabilitate Honey, Foley got a call from the rescue agency, informing her that an older gentleman was interested in adopting the dog. The man and his wife had recently lost their German shepherd and thought Honey might be the perfect dog to fill the space left by their pet’s death. Although she’d initially had issues connecting with men, Honey attached herself to her new owner immediately. Foley still gets e-mail updates from Honey’s new owner and knows the dog is in the ideal home.
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