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First Annual State Bar of Nevada Volunteer Award Winners

First Annual State Bar of Nevada Volunteer Award Winners

On June 24, 2011, former bar president Cam Ferenbach announced the first annual recipients of the State Bar of Nevada Volunteer Awards, recognizing member attorneys for outstanding service to the bar. Please join us in recognizing the invaluable contributions of our four State Bar of Nevada Membership Award recipients for their contributions:

Presidential Award: Margo Piscevich

Margo Pisceviche

Margo Piscevich has been practicing law in Nevada for more than 40 years, and in that time, she has been both a trailblazer and a dedicated professional, continually contributing to the advancement of the legal profession. Former governor Robert Miller once described her as a “pioneer for all women in the State of Nevada,” and she has demonstrated this over and over again during her distinguished legal career.

In addition to being the first woman to serve as president of the state bar, she is also the fifth woman attorney to practice in northern Nevada, and she was the first woman elected to membership in the Northern Nevada American Board of Trial Advocates. A tireless volunteer, Margo served for five years on the state bar’s Board of Governors. In addition, she served on the Nevada Supreme Court’s Gender Bias Task Force and served as a member of former Chief Justice Rose’s Urban Court Workload Assessment Committee, with countless additional hours spent volunteering on other bar and legal committees and groups.

The Presidential award is presented to a State Bar of Nevada member who has practiced law for 20 years or more and whose conduct, honesty and integrity represent the highest standards of the legal profession.

Volunteer of the Year: Jeff Rodefer

For more than 10 years, Jeffrey Rodefer has served as chair of the state bar’s Gaming Law Section. During his tenure, he has seen the section grow from a newly reactivated section into one the bar’s largest and most active member sections, with nearly 200 members.
Although Jeff has spent hundreds of hours supporting the sections numerous projects, big and small, he has worked to establish three very significant – and successful – programs to support the gaming law attorneys in Nevada. Through Jeff’s vision and tireless leadership, each of these programs has grown and thrived.
First, Jeff helped to create the annual Gaming Law Conference, which brings legal experts, regulators and other interested parties together to present a full day of educational programming on subjects of interest to attorneys practicing gaming law.
Next, Jeff oversees the annual publication of Nevada Gaming Lawyer, a special publication including articles of interest to not only members of the section, but all members of the bar.
Finally, Jeff has established, and annually oversees, the section’s Scholarship Golf Tournament. In addition to bringing section members together for networking and fun, the funds raised from this event have provided tens of thousands of dollars to students enrolled at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law.
The Volunteer of the Year award recognizes the outstanding service given by a member of a state bar committee or section.

Young Lawyer of the Year: Paola Armeni

When looking for a familiar face at a Young Lawyer Section event, one need only seek out Paola Armeni. A tireless volunteer and dedicated leader, Paola can be counted on to support bar events at every level, from serving as a judge during Mock Trial competitions coordinated by the bar’s Law-Related Education department, to serving as President of the Nevada Association of Criminal Justice Attorneys.
Attendees of the 2010 and 2011 Annual Meetings have praised the newly instituted Trial Academy for providing hands-on, practical training to young and experienced practitioners alike. This program would not have been such a success without Paola’s leadership – she was instrumental in the creation of the Trial Academy.
Thanks to Paola’s diligent efforts, fourth- and fifth-grade students across Nevada have received an educational and entertaining introduction to the legal process through the “Goldilocks – Trial of the Century” presentations. During Paola’s time as coordinator of this program, participation reached record levels.
In addition, Paola has also implemented new charitable programs through the bar’s Young Lawyers Section, such as the annual toy drive.
The Young Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes the professional and public service achievements attanined by Nevada lawyers who are either under the age of 36 or who have been engaged in the practice of law for less than five years.

2011 Special Honorees: Ben Graham & Coe Swobe

Ben Graham
Coe Swobe
While every volunteer attorney’s contribution to the bar is valuable, the 2011 Special Honorees have devoted countless hours to not only supporting the practice of law in Nevada, they have also saved attorney’s careers and possibly their lives.

The Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers program, founded in 1985 by Ben Graham and coordinated by Coe Swobe since 2002, provides critical help to attorneys struggling with drug, alcohol, gambling and other addictions. The organization provides counseling to these attorneys through a confidential hotline and support network of other attorneys who have experienced similar difficulties.

Through the tireless efforts of Ben and Coe, the Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers program has expanded significantly. In 1994, the group began holding judicial symposiums on substance abuse. In 2002, the Supreme Court Rules were modified to allow for the confidential support of attorneys participating in the program.


State Bar of NV

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State Bar of Nevada
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