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Pro Bono Spotlight: Doreen Spears Hartwell

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HONO R ROLL
The State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors and the Access to Justice Commission extend a special thanks to the following attorneys who generously accepted cases in July 2013, through the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Washoe Legal Services, Nevada Legal Services and Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans.
Randall Adams Norman Allen Nancy Amens Bradley Anderson Brian Anderson Courtney Anderson Paola Armeni Cindy Armentrout Nikki Baker Ashley Balducci Ursula Barboza Jim Barnes Eunice Beattie Neil Beller Rayna Brachmann Deanna Brinkerhoff William Brown Josh Buck Ryan Campbell Sarah Carrasco Robert Cassity Sarah Chavez Wayne Chimarusti Kevin Christensen James Claflin Jr. Diana Cline Lorien Cole Alison Colvin Paul Connaghan Sarah Hardy-Cooper Chaka Crome Martin Crowley Jordan Davis Laura Deeter Michael DeLee John Delikanakis Shirley Derke Kevin Diamond Thomas Donaldson Angela Dows Kerry Eaton Deborah Elsasser Marc Fox David Freeman R. Duane Frizell Denise Gallagher Nancy Moss Ghusn A. Kent Greene Blakely Griffith Marjorie Guymon Steven Handelin Karen Hanks Stephen Harris Irene Hart Nancy Heimerle Jamie Henry Kristen Hill John Hooks Dennis Hough Carrie Hurtik Elizaveta Ivanova Terry Johnson Cassandra Jones Justin Jones Kristin Kaminski Jason Kuller Bryce Kunimoto Israel “Ishi” Kunin Sunny Kwon Jason Lather James Leavitt Cecilia Lee Michael Lee Michael Lehners Chan Lengsavath Andrew List Joel Locke Beth Luna Gary Manson Rena McDonald Mikyla Miller Rendal Miller Shannon Mitchell Royi Moas Brian Morris Greta Muirhead Elizabeth Naccarato David O’Mara William O’Mara Sean Patterson J. Stephen Peek Sarah Perez Katherine Provost Ilin Rocorits Aileen Schlissel Gary Silverman Muriel Skelly Peter Smith Rodney Sumpter Kim Surratt Kelly Swanson Kevin Szotkowski Keith Tierney Caryn Tijsseling Ella Trujillo Kristin Tyler Joseph Ward Shay Wells Joseph Went Jill Whitbeck Adriana White Leah Wigren Marshal Willick Allen Wilt Dan Wong Marilyn York Diana Zuccarini
SPOTLIGHT
DOREEN SPEARS HARTWELL
BY CHRISTINA ALBERTS, PUBLICATIONS SPECIALIST
Attorneys that participated in clinics, Ask-A-Lawyer, Small Business Project:
Courtney Anderson Eunice Beattie Robert Blau Craig Bourke Linda Bowman Koren Boyd James Claflin Jr. Lesley Cohen Seaton Curran Richard Frankoff Rodolfo Gonzalez Edmund J. Gorman Bill Hammer Rena Hughes Gabrielle Jones Michael Marr Augusta Massey Corrine Murphy Richard Newman Susan Noyce Maren Parry Katherine Provost Juan Rodriguez Soraya Veiga
BOLD honors multiple cases accepted and/or sessions conducted within the month.
34 Nevada Lawyer October 2013
The very first pro bono case Doreen Spears Hartwell took definitely stayed with her; nearly 13 years later, she clearly remembers the client, a little girl she called “Amy,” who was stuck in a kind of adoption limbo. Amy’s birth parents were troubled people; they had been running a methamphetamine lab out of their home and shortly after Amy’s birth, both had been arrested. The Immigration and Naturalization Service was detaining Amy’s father, and her mother vanished without a trace following her arrest and subsequent release. Amy was only a week old when she entered the foster care system. When Spears Hartwell met her, she was 18 months old and her foster family desperately wanted to adopt her. However, the family was unable to do so because of legal complications. Spears Hartwell, acting as a Children’s Attorney Project lawyer, was able to effectively terminate the parental rights of Amy’s birth parents, making it possible for her foster family to adopt her and become her true family. “The family was so happy,” Spears Hartwell recalled. “They were able to legally call Amy their own child.” The happy ending for Spears Hartwell’s first pro bono case encouraged her to keep on taking pro bono cases from Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada. Since 2000, Spears Hartwell has assisted in a variety of ways with many different types of cases: helping elders exploited while trying to get their homes back, assisting consumers cheated by companies and even helping a teenage mother reverse an adoption. “There’s nothing more rewarding than providing legal services to someone who cannot afford them,” said Spears Hartwell. “It’s an honor. They are the most appreciative clients.” Although pro bono work may take a little time, Spears Hartwell believes it is a sacrifice every attorney needs to make. “It’s an obligation, a part of our practice,” she explained. “Take one pro bono client. We took an oath to uphold the laws of the state of Nevada, to ensure justice is served to the extent individuals out there who don’t have access to justice because of a lack of funds have a fighting chance.” Spears Hartwell is a partner at Lionel Sawyer Collins’ Las Vegas office; she has been with the firm since she was admitted to practice in 2000.

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