Changes to Nevada’s minimum wage law – what employers need to know

By Jennifer McMenomy

The 2019 Nevada Legislative Session may be over, but the sweeping statutory and policy changes made by the body are just now beginning to take effect. One such legislative change addressed during the session is the increase of the statewide minimum wage for private employers. As a business owner, it is important to be compliant with the latest federal and state minimum wage requirements in order to avoid legal consequences.

Prior to the most recent legislative session, the minimum wage in Nevada was $7.25 per hour if the employer provided health insurance to the employee being paid the minimum wage. If the employer did not provide health insurance to the employee, the minimum wage was $8.25 per hour. Additionally, Nevada law previously stated that it was the statutory duty of the Nevada Labor Commissioner to establish the minimum wage in accordance with federal law.

Assembly Bill (AB) 456 was introduced on March 25, 2019 by Speaker Jason Frierson and the Assembly Committee on Commerce and Labor. The bill increases the minimum wage required to be paid by private employers. The bill eliminates the Labor Commissioner’s establishment and duty of maintaining the minimum wage and instead enumerates the requirements set by the Legislature in statute. Under the new law every private employer must pay each employee $8.00 per hour of work if the employer offers health insurance to the employee and $9.00 per hour if the employer does not offer the employee health insurance.

In addition to setting the minimum wage, the bill also provides that the minimum wage will increase each year. The new law provides that the minimum wage increases by $.75 on July 1 of each year until 2024. At that time, the minimum wage will reach $11.00 per hour if health benefits are provided and $12.00 per hour if health benefits are not provided. Therefore, employers must be cognizant of the fact that the minimum wage continues to rise by $.75 each year until 2024 and that they are required by law to raise their minimum-wage employees’ wages on the 1st of July each year.

The new law also provides that any employee that prevails in a civil action against an employer for failing to pay the minimum wage is entitled to all remedies under both state and federal law as well as reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Thus, employers who violate the requirements of the statute will not only risk facing federal and state civil penalties as well as liability for back wages, but may also be required to pay the attorneys’ fees and costs of any employee who brings forward such a suit.

The passage of AB 456 was a departure from maintaining the minimum wage at the federal level. Presently, the federal minimum wage as it is set forth in the Fair Labor Standards Act is $7.25 per hour and has not increased since July 2009. On July 18, 2019, The House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 582, more commonly referred to as the “Raise the Wage” Act which would raise the federal minimum wage to $15.00 over a period of six years. According to a U.S. House of Representatives report, the “Raise the Wage” Act would raise wages for approximately 40 million Americans. The Senate will now consider the measure and whether to pass it. It would also need to be signed by the President to become federal law.

If the “Raise the Wage” Act passes it would require employers to pay their minimum wage employees $8.55 per hour effective within three months from the time of passage of the bill. After one year, the minimum wage would raise to $9.85 per hour. Thereafter, each year the minimum wage would raise to $11.15 per hour, $12.45 per hour, $13.75 per hour and finally $15.00 per hour, respectively. Tipped employees making minimum wage would fall within a different standard under the “Raise the Wage” Act. If the Act passes, employers would be required by federal law to follow the standards set forth by Congress and the provisions of AB 456 would no longer apply.

While the National “Raise the Wage” Act is still being considered by Congress and has not become law, AB 456 is the law in Nevada. The bill was signed by Governor Sisolak on June 12, 2019 and became effective July 1, 2019. Therefore, as of July 1, 2020, all private employers in Nevada are required to pay their employees a minimum wage of $8.00 per hour if the employer offers health benefits to the employee and $9.00 per hour if the employer does not offer health benefits to the employee.

In addition to raising the minimum wage, the new law also provides language that allows the Nevada Labor Commissioner the ability to adopt any necessary rules and regulations to administer and enforce the newly enacted minimum wage law.

It is imperative for business owners to stay abreast of such changes made at the Legislature in order to ensure that their business is compliant with the latest laws and regulations. The nuances regarding labor law are many, varied, and oftentimes complex. It is advised that business owners consult with knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel to ensure the adoption of policies and practices that are within the bounds of all federal, state, and local labor laws.

See the article at: NNBVhttps://www.nnbusinessview.com/news/changes-to-nevadas-minimum-wage-law-what-employers-need-to-know/

Joel W. Locke Elected to Nevada State Bar Board of Governors

Joel W. Locke, attorney with Allison MacKenzie Law Firm in Carson City, Nevada
Joel W. Locke

Joel W. Locke, a partner at Allison MacKenzie Law Firm, has been elected to the Nevada State Bar Board of Governors. He was elected and sworn in on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at the State Bar of Nevada Annual Meeting which was held in Vail, Colorado. Members of the Board help promote the integrity of the legal profession, encourage professional growth, and provide the opportunity to give back to the community.

The Board of Governors is comprised of 15 members representing the four state districts defined in Supreme Court Rule 81. Elections for the Board are held annually, and governors are selected by the members of their districts to serve two-year terms. Also serving on the Board is the immediate past president and two ex-officio members representing the William S. Boyd School of Law and the Board of Bar Examiners.

The Board of Governors assists in implementing administrative functions of the State Bar, establishing policies and procedures, and affecting rule changes; the Board also takes legislative positions relative to the administration of justice, and oversees the Bar’s fiduciary responsibilities. The State Bar of Nevada has been governing the legal profession, serving its members, and protecting the public interests in Nevada since 1928.

Regarding his election, Joel W. Locke stated: “I am honored to serve as Carson City’s District Representative on the Board of Governors and am humbled by the support of my colleagues in the Carson City legal community. I look forward to giving back to the legal profession and serving with the esteemed members of the Board during my term.”

Joel W. Locke joined Allison MacKenzie in 2007. A native Nevadan, Joel Locke graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2000, and then obtained his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2006. Subsequently, he was admitted to practice law in the State of Nevada in 2006. Joel’s areas of legal practice include: Family Law, Probate Law, Guardianships, Employment Law, and more. Allison MacKenzie Law Firm is proud of Joel’s election and dedication to serve on the Board of Governors. The firm remains dedicated to civic service and encourages its team of talented attorneys and staff to support various community-minded organizations in the area.

Carson City’s Ryan Russell named to list of top ranked family law attorneys

Ryan Russell

Carson City attorney Ryan Russell was among several Nevadan family law attorneys recently named by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys on its list of nationally-ranked family law attorneys. The NAFLA recognizes the top family law attorneys in each state with the intent of helping consumers select well-qualified professionals when legal representation is needed.

Candidates must be licensed, in good standing with their local bar association and nominated by either a licensed practicing attorney or one of the in-house staff researchers. In addition, each attorney must have achieved meaningful professional recognition and earned the respect of their clients and peers.

In the final stage of the NAFLA’s four-step selection process, NAFLA’s processing committee selects a portion of the nominated attorneys to advance to the final selection stage, reviews the finalists and selects the official award recipients from each state. The rankings are independent and free from commercial influence.

See the article

Marijuana and employment law: an ever-changing legal landscape

By Emilee Sutton

The legalization of medical marijuana in 2001 and recreational marijuana in 2018 has created significant uncertainty for Nevada employers and employees alike regarding their respective rights and obligations in using marijuana and regulating its use. Specifically, can employees who possess valid medical marijuana cards be terminated for positive drug tests? And what affect, if any, does the legalization of marijuana for recreational use have on an employer’s ability to prohibit its use? One court in Las Vegas has been tasked with answering the former question, while the Nevada Legislature has attempted to bring clarity to the latter.

In order to understand the current legal landscape, employers should be aware of NRS Chapter 453A governing the medical use of marijuana in the State of Nevada. The most significant provision for Nevada employers is NRS 453A.800, which requires employers to attempt to make “reasonable accommodation for the medical needs of an employee who engages in the medical use of marijuana if the employee holds a valid registry identification card, provided that such reasonable accommodation would not:

(a) Pose a threat of harm or danger to persons or property or impose an undue hardship on the employer; or

(b) Prohibit the employee from fulfilling any and all of his or her job responsibilities. NRS 453A.800(3) (emphasis added).

NRS 453A.800(2) also states that Nevada medical marijuana laws do not “require any employer to allow the medical use of marijuana in the workplace.” However, NRS 453A.800 has created significant ambiguity for employers and employees because it does not authorize any administrative agency to enforce it, create a private cause of action for employees to enforce it, or identify the liability of an employer who violates it. Moreover, the statute does not explain what steps an employer must take to reasonably accommodate an employee’s medical marijuana use. Fortunately, the currently-pending Nellis v. Sunrise Hospital case may provide much needed clarity on this very murky area of the law.

On September 22, 2017, Scott Nellis, a registered nurse, filed suit against his former employer, Sunrise Hospital, alleging claims of wrongful discharge and violations of NRS Chapter 453A based on his termination following a positive drug test. Years prior to his termination, Nellis was attacked by a patient at Sunrise Hospital and suffered from a fractured vertebra. As a result, Nellis applied for and obtained a medical marijuana card. In February of 2017, Nellis was again attacked and injured by a patient while on duty. In the emergency room, Nellis provided a urine sample, which tested positive for the presence of marijuana. Sunrise Hospital then terminated Nellis on the basis that it suspected he was working while impaired in violation of hospital policy.

While the case is likely far from resolution, it is significant that Nellis’ claims have survived the motion to dismiss filed by Sunrise Hospital. The case is currently set for trial on January 6, 2020 in Department 8 of the Eighth Judicial District Court in Las Vegas, Nevada. Employers should closely monitor this case, as its final decision will likely have significant ramifications for employer obligations and policies related to medical marijuana use.

The Nellis case also begs the question of whether employers can avoid issues with Chapter 453A by refusing to hire anyone who tests positive for marijuana in a pre-employment drug test, since Chapter 453A only applies to employees. This issue is further complicated by the fact that the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized, and a person may test positive for marijuana days or even weeks after consumption. During the most recent legislative session, the Nevada Legislature clarified the issue of marijuana and pre-employment screening. Assembly Bill 132, approved by Governor Sisolak on June 5, 2019, prohibits employers from “fail[ing] or refus[ing] to hire a prospective employee because the prospective employee submitted to a screening test and the results of the screening test indicate the presence of marijuana.” AB 132 does contain exceptions for prospective employees applying for positions as firefighters or emergency medical technicians and positions that are safety-sensitive or require an employee to operate a motor vehicle. In addition, the provisions of AB 132 do not apply “to the extent that they are inconsistent with the provisions of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement” or federal law or “to a position of employment funded by a federal grant.”

Notably, AB 132 does not distinguish between medical and recreational marijuana users, meaning an individual does not need to hold a valid medical marijuana card to be protected by the new law. It is also important to note that AB 132 only applies to pre-employment screening. Employers may still prohibit employees from engaging in recreational marijuana use and may terminate an employee should they test positive for the presence of marijuana. While AB 132 does not become affective until January 1, 2020, employers should consult with qualified legal counsel to ensure the adoption of policies and practices that conform to the new law.

See the Article at NNBV

Ryan Russell Named Legal Elite

Ryan Russell

Ryan Russell, partner at Allison MacKenzie Law Firm, was recently announced as one of the Top Attorneys in Northern Nevada by Nevada Business Magazine. This year, the Legal Elite process is in its 12th iteration, and the publication releases its Legal Elite list highlighting the top attorneys in the state.

Polling for the 2019 publication began in mid-February, and nearly 5,000 nominations were submitted by licensed attorneys within the state. Each submission then went through an extensive verification and vetting process resulting in the top attorneys selected their peers.

The Legal Elite list includes only the top 3 percent of attorneys in the state broken down by location. In addition, Legal Elite includes special lists ranking Nevada’s best “Up and Coming” and best government attorneys. The process is rigorous and each nominee must navigate several levels of scrutiny before obtaining final approval to appear on the list. After closing the nomination process, each ballot is individually reviewed for eligibility and every voting attorney is verified with the State Bar of Nevada.

Ryan joined Allison MacKenzie in 2004 and has dedicated his career to serving the communities of Northern Nevada. He has served the community as a Judge Pro Tem for the Carson City Justice and Municipal Court, and serves as Carson City’s representative on the State Bar of Nevada’s Board of Governors. Further, he volunteers his time to the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada and served as President of the Board of Directors in 2009. He is also active in the Carson City Rotary Club and coaching youth sports.

Ryan offers his clients a comprehensive background of practice areas. As an attorney and partner with the law firm, he practices in the areas of litigation, administrative law, business law, and family law. He received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2000. He then pursued a degree in law and graduated from University of Nevada’s William S. Boyd School of Law in 2003. That same year he was admitted to practice law in the State of Nevada.

Congratulations to Ryan and for his accomplishments and being selected as 2019 Legal Elite.

Implementing an Employer-Sponsored Optional Volunteer Program?

By Jennifer McMenomy

Make Sure it Complies with the Fair Labor Standards Act

Many employers understand the value of giving back to their communities and realize the benefit of visibility within their communities.  Thus, an increasing number of employers are following the new trend of implementing optional community service programs within their companies. In an employer-sponsored volunteer program, the employer allows employees to volunteer for a certain number of working hours each year or each month while providing the workers with the compensation they would have received for being on the job.  In some instances, employees may volunteer during non-working hours and still receive some type of monetary award. These can include bonuses or non-monetary awards such as a party or other fun outing or activity. 

In an employer-sponsored volunteer program of this nature, the employer may either sponsor a volunteer outing or outings in which employees can participate.  Alternatively, businesses may allow employees to participate in a volunteer activity they have chosen for themselves. Such a program can have a significant benefits for both employees and employers, including improved morale at the work place, increased involvement and contributions in the community, and visibility within the community. However, it is wise to be cautious in the implementation of a volunteer program within any business or workplace. 

A March 14, 2019 Opinion issued by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor addresses such programs and how they have the potential to violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Opinion provides that “Congress did not intend for the FLSA ‘to discourage or impede volunteer activities,’ but rather to ‘prevent manipulation or abuse of minimum wage or overtime requirements through coercion or undue pressure upon individuals to ‘volunteer’ their services.’” 

As such, under the law, an employer intending to implement a volunteer program is permitted to notify its employees of such volunteer opportunities and activities as well as ask for assistance from employees in participating in such volunteering tasks.  An employer is also permitted to implement an incentive-based program so long as an employee’s participation in such a program is not mandatory.  An employer-sponsored volunteer program cannot adversely affect working conditions or employment prospects for employees whether they do or do not choose to participate.  In other words, an employer cannot engage in direct or implied retaliatory actions against an employee who chooses not to participate.  Further, the employer cannot put undue pressure on the employees to participate in the program. 

Moreover, the Opinion stated that an employer cannot “control or direct” the volunteer work of its employees. Specifically, an employer is not permitted to allow or disallow certain types of volunteer work and/or direct the employee on how to accomplish such volunteer work.  If the employer does “direct or control” the way in which an employee completes a volunteering task and/or volunteering activity, that time will be considered hours worked under the FLSA.  In turn, those hours are subject to the regulation of overtime and other standards under the FLSA. The Opinion also stated that employers may use certain methods of tracking the volunteer hours of its employees so long as the tracking device does not control or instruct the employee in their volunteerism.

The Opinion also states that compensating employees when they participate in volunteer activities during normal working hours does not “jeopardize their status as volunteers when they participate in volunteer activities outside of normal work hours.”

An employer may use an employee’s time volunteering as a factor in calculating whether to provide that employee with a bonus, “without incurring an obligation to treat that time as hours worked so long as: (1) volunteering is optional; (2) not volunteering will have no adverse effect on the employee’s working conditions or employment prospects; and (3) the employee is not guaranteed a bonus for volunteering.”  In essence, a bonus cannot be guaranteed to an employee who volunteers and/or taken away from an employee who does not volunteer.

Therefore, if an employer chooses to engage its employees by implementing a volunteer program, the employer must ensure that it is complying with the FLSA.  In order to do so, employers must ensure the following items are adhered to 1) employee volunteering is completely optional; 2) there are no adverse impacts or effects on employees who choose not to volunteer; 3) if an employer chooses to provide bonuses to employee-volunteers, that the bonus is not guaranteed in exchange for the employee’s volunteer hours; and 4) the employer does not direct or control the employee volunteer activities. 

Employer-sponsored volunteer programs are valuable tools that provide many benefits for companies, employees and communities alike. If you, as an employer, are considering implementing such programming, it is important to confer with legal counsel regarding the specifics of such a program to ensure compliance with the FLSA.

See the article at: NNBV.

Service and Emotional Support Animals: Public Spaces

By Jennifer McMenomy

Part II

In recent years, there have been many changes made in public spaces such as restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, and airlines to allow for emotional support animals.  In last month’s article, we discussed the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal for the purposes of private and semi-private places such as dwellings, timeshares, apartment complexes, and hotels.  This article addresses service and emotional support animals in public places.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a place of public accommodation is required to allow a “service animal” which is defined as an animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The ADA generally contemplates service animals as being dogs but does not specifically eliminate other forms of service animals.  In general, businesses that serve the public are required to have a policy in place that allows a person with a disability to have a service animal to accompany them while engaging in business at the place of accommodation.  Under the ADA, an emotional support animal who provides comfort to a person with a mental disability does not fall under the qualification of a “service animal” at this time.

The ADA requires that service animals be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the device interferes with the animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents them from using these devices.  Individuals who cannot use such devices must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.  Businesses may exclude service animals only if: 1) the animal is out of control and the handler cannot or does not regain control; or 2) the animal is not housebroken.  If a service animal is excluded, the individual must be allowed to enter the business without the service animal. 

Though a business owner is not permitted to insist on proof of certification of the service animal prior to allowing the person with the disability access to the business with the animal, a business owner is permitted by the ADA to ask the person with the service animal if the presence of the animal is necessary because of a disability.  Generally, good indicators of a service animal are special collars, harnesses, or other insignia (although, not all service animals wear those indicators).  A business owner should craft a written pet policy for their business which allows for service animals and creates clear guidelines for employees to follow if a patron of their business requires a service animal to accompany them.

Recently in the news, there have been reports of strange emotional support animals such as squirrels and peacocks aboard commercial airline flights.  In 1996, the Department of Transportation (DOT) promulgated a regulation providing policy guidance concerning service animals in air transportation and adding to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).  The DOT redefined a “service animal” as “any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability.  If the animal meets this definition, it is considered a service animal regardless of whether it has been licensed or certified by a state or local government.”  At that time, the DOT made it clear that animals who assist persons with disabilities by providing emotional support qualify as a service animal, therefore allowing them on airlines.  However, documentation may be required of passengers needing to travel with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal.

Airlines are permitted to exclude certain animals on the following basis: 1) Animals that are too large or heavy to be accommodated in the cabin; 2) pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others; 3) cause a significant disruption of cabin service; or 4) are prohibited from entering a foreign country. 

While an airline cannot require a patron to pay an additional fee or cost in the event that they have a service or emotional support animal with them onboard, airline carriers are allowed to create their own policy with regard to emotional and service animals so long as they do not violate ADA and DOT regulations. Most major airline carriers require passengers with emotional support animals to provide proper documentation completed by a medical professional acknowledging that the passenger has a mental or emotional disability recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and are in need of this emotional support animal. 

In the past, airlines have allowed a wide array of unique emotional support animals on planes such as pigs, horses, turkeys, and monkeys; however, with recent problems stemming from emotional support animals on planes and in airports, airlines are beginning to change their policies.  Recently, a five-year old girl was mauled at the gate of an Alaska Airlines flight by an emotional support pit bull.  Alaska Airlines and the airport where the incident occurred are facing litigation by the girl’s family on her behalf.  American Airlines is now requiring vaccination records of all emotional support animals and has restricted their emotional support policies only to include dogs or cats, and in rare cases, a miniature horse.  It appears that other commercial airline carriers are following suit.  It is important as a patron of an airline looking to travel with an emotional support or service animal to check the specific airline’s policy before flying and to comply with those policies.

It is unclear what future changes will be made to provide for service and/or emotional support animals in public spaces as the law and administrative policies are ever-evolving. If you are a business owner looking to draft or revise your animal policy, it is important to confer with legal counsel to ensure that you and your employees are properly handling service and emotional support animals in compliance with the ADA.

See the article at: NNBV.

Service and Emotional Support Animals: What Property Owners Need to Know

Part I

By Jennifer McMenomy

For many, the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal can be confusing. Business owners who operate residential properties must understand the difference in order to determine if they can rightfully exclude animals. Additionally, it is necessary to distinguish whether the Fair Housing Act (FHA) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to a semi-residential property, such as a timeshare or hotel. This distinction is dependent on the character of the unit’s use, nature and extent of use, and transiency of residents or guests on the property. If the nature of the residential use is akin to a “vacation home,” FHA will apply. If the character of the use is closer to that of a hotel or motel, ADA will apply. Similarly, Nevada law generally aligns with federal law.

1. FHA and ADA Service Animal Definitions

The FHA requires housing providers to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices or services to allow people with disabilities to enjoy a dwelling unit. In 2013, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) declared that housing providers are required to make reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals if 1) the resident has a disability (mental or physical that substantially limits one or more major life activities) and 2) the animal provides assistance to that person.

The ADA is more stringent about what constitutes a “service animal “and states that it is unlawful to refuse a service animal in a place of public accommodation. A service animal under the ADA is defined as an animal that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The ADA does not apply to emotional support animals in general; however, the ADA does make a distinction between psychiatric service animals and emotional support animals.

Under the ADA, a place of public accommodation is required for a service animal unless: 1) the animal is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or 2) the animal is not housebroken.

2. Does the FHA apply?

Within the jurisdiction of FHA, a “dwelling” is defined as “any building, structure, or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure, or portion thereof.” While it would appear this excludes a hotel, timeshare, or short-term rental, the Courts have determined a number of factors to determine what a “dwelling” means under the statute.

In Schwarz v. City of Treasure Island, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals identified two principles for determining a dwelling:

1) the more occupants treat a building like their home-e.g., cook their own meals, clean their own rooms and maintain the premises, do their own laundry, and spend free time together in common areas-the more likely it is a ‘dwelling’; and 2) the longer the typical occupant lives in a building, the more likely it is that the building is a ‘dwelling’.

3. Does the ADA Apply?

In general, the ADA does not apply to “a lodging with less than five (5) rooms for rent or hire that is occupied by the proprietor.” However, case law suggests that if the accommodation is similar to or like a hotel it will fall under the ADA. Individually-owned residential condo units are generally not considered public accommodations under ADA; however, if a condominium complex is generally indistinguishable from a hotel, they will be subject to ADA.

While this general rule is from an unpublished decision from the Southern District of Florida, it is similar to case law determining whether the FHA applies. the nature of the complex and whether the character of the association is akin to a residence or a hotel will likely by determinative. It is therefore likely, if the FHA applies, the ADA will not apply and vice-versa.

4. Nevada Discrimination in Housing

Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) define a “dwelling” to mean “any building, structure or portion thereof which is occupied as, or designed or intended for occupancy as, a residence by one or more families, and any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any such building, structure or portion thereof.”

NRS provides that a landlord cannot refuse to rent a dwelling to a person with a disability if the service animal “assists, supports or provides service to the person with a disability.” However, NRS does allow a landlord to ask for documentation.

Ultimately, the characterization of the type of housing will depend on the nature and extent of the use as well as the character of that use in order to determine which law applies. It appears that under all laws, the operator of the property is permitted to request proof and/or documentation to substantiate the claim that an animal is a service or support animal. For individuals utilizing service animals, it is important to ensure your animal is fully compliant and properly designated. Likewise, if you are a property owner who is considering excluding animals, it is vital to confer with legal counsel to discuss the specific ramifications of excluding animals from your property as the applicable provisions are extremely nuanced.

See the article: NNBV

Honored for 40 Years of Service

On December 12, 2018, Allison MacKenzie Attorneys, Joan Wright and Mike Pavlakis were honored by the Washoe County Bar Association (WCBA) for their length of service. The two were admitted to practice in Nevada in 1979, and been active members in WCBA for at least 10 years.

The WCBA was established in 1905 for the purpose of encouraging the practice of law as a profession, promoting justice and serving the practice of law in our community. The organization currently has over 1,200 members in the Northern Nevada area.

See the article.

Local Attorneys Mentoring the Next Generation of Legal Eagles

Each year over 30,000 students participate in local high school mock trial competitions throughout the United States, Guam, South Korea, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The State Bar of Nevada provides mentoring for high school mock trial teams throughout the State that compete at the regional and statewide level. The Bar’s statewide program is administered by a volunteer Mock Trial Committee, with assistance from the Washoe County Bar Association.  The top team advances to the National High School Mock Trial Championship.

The program is supported by the Nevada Bar Foundation and an endowment made on behalf of attorney Charles Deaner.  Deaner was an ardent supporter of law-related education and the Mock Trial program. He established a living trust to ensure the continued support of this endeavor. The Nevada State championship round is named in his honor.

Local attorneys, Jennifer McMenomy and Emilee Sutton, associates at Allison MacKenzie Law Firm have volunteered to mentor members of Carson High School’s Mock Trial Club. The two attorney coaches, along with a supervising Carson High School teacher, educate the students about legal processes and courtroom etiquette including: adversarial procedures, rules of evidence, examination of process and more. The program helps participants develop the tools and techniques needed to become effective litigators and worthy competitors in the courtroom.

In November Jennifer and Emilee began meeting with participants to explore facts and procedures regarding a civil case. Weekly, during a course of a few hours, the coaches, teacher and nine students delve into a case that focuses on religious discrimination.

Jennifer said, “Mentoring these kids is truly an enjoyable experience. I just love seeing the students get involved, and appreciate their enthusiasm about future legal careers.  There is this “lights on” moment when they understand principles such as hearsay and what is admissible into court that is irreplaceable.”

Jennifer and Emilee have enjoyed the experience so much that they have committed to mentoring the club again next year.

“They learn what lawyering is all about. How court actually works and the legal process. I participated in mock trials when I was in high school, and it is fun to see it from the other prospective of mentoring. I love being involved with the kids,” Emilee stated.

This year marks Nevada’s 21st year of participation in the High School Mock Trial program. Regional and State Competitions dates are:

Southern Nevada Regional
February 9, 2019Regional Justice Center, Las Vegas

Northern Nevada Regional
February 22, 2019Federal Courthouse, Reno

State Competition
March 15-16, 2019Federal Courthouse, Reno

To learn more about the High School Mock Trial Program visit:

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