2017 Board of Governors Candidates
The State Bar of Nevada has begun its annual elections for members of the Board of Governors. Elections began Friday, April 28, 2017, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 29, 2017 Pacific Time.
Your vote is extremely important, and this year, it’s easier than ever to participate!
Bar members eligible to vote in the following contested races should already have received an email containing a voting link. It provides voters with a secure and confidential way to access the online voting and tabulation system. If you did not receive your email, contact Gale Skala at email@example.com.
Expanded candidate biography information is found below. Use the links to navigate to each race and specific candidates’ information.
District One – Clark County: Five Seats
The eligible candidates for District One include:
- Jeffrey Albregts
- Ketan Pinkar Bhirud
- Kimberly Buchanan
- Eric Dobberstein
- Richard Dreitzer
- Catherine Mazzeo
- Richard Pocker
District Three- Carson City: One Seat
The eligible candidates for District Three include:
District One – Clark County: Candidate Statements
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: September 1982
Firm: Jeffrey R. Albregts, LLC
Present position: Solo practitioner
Practice area of law: Civil litigation
Affiliations: Clark County Bar Association, U.S. District of Nevada, U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, American Bar Association, Nevada Law Foundation Colleague
Jeff Albregts has practiced law in Nevada primarily as a trial lawyer for the past 35 years, his entire career. He accepted an associate’s position in Las Vegas right out of law school (University of Wisconsin) in January 1982, and has practiced here since then as both a solo practitioner and as a partner and shareholder in two law firms. The myriad of cases tried by Albregts during these 35 years covers the gamut. Currently, he is practicing solo again, primarily in civil litigation matters. While not practicing law, Albregts enjoys the great outdoors by hiking, skiing, climbing, swimming and diving, as well as participating in the Mock Trial Program for high schools here.
Albregts’ public service has also included serving a full 14-year term on the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board, serving the last eight of those years serving as its chairman. Albregts was a co-recipient of the Nevada bar’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year award. As a member of the Board of Governors, Albregts will continue to promote the high ethical standards of the bar here in all of its aspects. The many relationships he has formed with other members of the bar practicing law here for the past 35 years will also assist him greatly in serving ably on the Board of Governors. Albregts firmly believes that the independence of the legal profession depends in large part on its competent and ethical self-governance. To that end, he wishes to continue in his public service to the Nevada bar as a member of its Board of Governors.
KETAN D. BHIRUD
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 2007
Firm: Office of the Attorney General
Present Position: General Counsel
Size of Firm: Nearly 200 lawyers
Practice areas of law: Trial litigation, appellate litigation, ethics and administrative law
Affiliations: Member, Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board, State Bar of Nevada; Secretary, Board of Directors, American Red Cross Southern Nevada Chapter
If elected to the Board of Governors, my priorities will be to advocate for decreased bar dues (particularly for government and non-profit lawyers), push for additional free CLE opportunities (particularly for specialty credits), streamline and improve reporting requirements, and increase transparency regarding the board’s decision-making processes.
I currently serve as the General Counsel for the Office of the Attorney General and have been a member of the Nevada legal community for over a decade. Prior to joining the Office of the Attorney General, I practiced at Dickinson Wright and Lionel Sawyer & Collins, finishing my time there as a partner. At those firms, I successfully represented clients at all stages of litigation, directing and overseeing up to 100 cases simultaneously. My clients varied dramatically, ranging from individuals with limited means to Fortune 500 companies. In my current role as general counsel, I serve as the chief legal counsel to Nevada’s Attorney General, overseeing all legal affairs for Nevada’s largest government law office, including approximately $700 million in potential liabilities. I provide strategic direction and supervision to nearly 200 lawyers as well as 200 legal support staff in five offices. I guide and manage high-stakes litigation in state and federal courts, including the Nevada and U.S. Supreme Courts. I also manage and balance a nearly $60 million office budget and oversee attorney and staff hiring and firing decisions. As a result, I have a broad range of experience from both the public and private sector.
I have been involved with the State Bar by serving on the Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board, presenting CLEs for the state bar, and writing articles for Nevada Lawyer magazine. I am actively involved in pro bono legal work as a part of the Nevada Attorney General’s Office of Military Legal Assistance, which provides pro bono legal assistance and representation to active duty, reserve, and National Guard service members in a wide area of civil law matters. Apart from being a lawyer, I serve on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross Southern Nevada Chapter. All of my spare time is spent with my wife, Christina Bhirud (a fellow lawyer who has worked at large and small law firms and is now in-house) and our two boys. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and my law degree from the University of Minnesota.
Date of admission to practice in Nevada:1996
Affiliations: State Bar of Nevada, Board of Governors, 2015-Present; Clark County Bar Association, President, 2014; Clark County Bar Association, President-Elect, 2013; Clark County Bar Association, Secretary/Treasurer 2012; Clark County Bar Association; Board of Directors, 2006-2012; CLE Committee; Member 2000-2002, Chair 2003-2005; Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys, Vice President, Board Member and Member 1996-2005
Kimberly Buchanan graduated from prestigious McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in 1993 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Russian History. She received her law degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California in 1996.
After law school, Buchanan worked for the law firm of Morse & Mowbray, practicing primarily in commercial and probate litigation. She joined the Attorney General’s Office in 2001 in the public safety division, representing the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Safety. There, she was responsible for litigation and administrative matters in the areas of civil rights, tort litigation, civil DUI license revocations, sex offender litigation and the defense of the constitutionality of Nevada’s adoption of the Adam Walsh Act. In 2015, Kimberly joined the Clark County District Attorney’s Office representing the Risk Management Division, which administers the self-funded insurance pools, handles worker’s compensation claims and oversees general liability for the county.
Kimberly has been an active participant in Nevada’s legal community since her admission into the bar, beginning as a member and then a director for the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys from 1996 through 2005. She began her service to the Clark County Bar Association (CCBA) through its Continuing Legal Education Committee in 2000 and culminated her representation of CCBA as president of the county bar association in 2014. In 2015, she was elected to the State Bar Board of Governors. She looks forward to continuing her service to Nevada’s legal community as a board member of the State Bar of Nevada.
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 1989
Firm: McCullough, Dobberstein & Evans, Ltd.
Present Position: Partner
Size of Firm: five
Practice area of law: Injuries, construction and business
Affiliations: American Arbitration Association, Nevada Justice Association, Clark County Bar Association, and Advanced Resolution Management
I am a lifetime Henderson resident. I practice primarily in the areas of personal injury, construction and business litigation. I am also a short trial judge, arbitrator and mediator. I am an AV-rated attorney that has been a partner in small, regional and national law firms. I have enjoyed the past six years on the Board of Governors and believe our board has accomplished great things in those years. Most importantly as the active membership of our bar has declined and the needs of our Bar Counsel has increased, we have been able to provide better services and programs for our members without the need to raise our dues.
I have gained a great deal of experience regarding the operations of the bar and would like to remain on the board in a leadership role during my final term in order to contribute that knowledge and wisdom for all of our members. Some of the successful highlights during my past terms have been to sell our old undersized building and purchase a new building with the relocation funds without incurring any debt, to reduce the backlog of discipline complaints, to address issues with the previous CLE Board administration to improve benefits for our members, to establish specialization for personal injury practice, to currently work on a task force to address the lack of malpractice insurance not being carried by some members, and to work on an updated set of regulations for advertisement. Finally to address the recent trust account issues that have come to light, our board is working on establishing more trust account safeguards to protect the public.
Going forward, I hope to be able to establish more practice guides to help all members to be successful in business. I hope I have earned your continued support, and I would appreciate your vote on April 28, 2017.
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 1998
Firm: Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, LLP
Present Position: Partner
Size of Firm: 30 attorneys (NV), 750 attorneys (nationwide)
Practice areas of law: Labor and Employment Law / Construction Law
Affiliations: Member of the State Bar(s) of Nevada, Arizona and Missouri; Practiced before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits, U.S. District Courts for the District of Nevada and the Northern District of California, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for District of Nevada, the Supreme Court of Nevada and the Second and Eighth Judicial District Courts; Las Vegas Township – Small Claims Court Referee, Traffic Court Referee and Justice of the Peace Pro Tempore, 2009-present; Nevada Public Radio (KNPR), Community Advisory Board Member, Member of the Board of Directors, 2011-present; Las Vegas Green Chamber of Commerce, Board Member, 2010-2011; Safe Nest Domestic Violence Shelter, Board Member, 1999-2001
I am seeking a third term as a governor. I am a partner in the law firm of Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, LLP and have practiced law in Nevada since 1998, with a focus on employment law and construction matters.
Since becoming a member of the Board of Governors (BOG), I have: participated in the Civility and Professionalism Task Force; worked on the campaign to create the Nevada Court of Appeals; served as BOG liaison to the Nevada Board of Continuing Legal Education (CLE); worked on the taskforce on Attorney Advertising; contributed as a member of the BOG taskforce on reciprocity; and was appointed to chair the BOG taskforce on Random Trust Account Audits.
I am committed to transparency of bar finances, preserving the integrity of the legal profession and ensuring that dues levels do not increase. I genuinely enjoy exploring all points of view on the issues that face the state bar and would love the chance to speak with you to address any concerns you might have.
Professionally, I specialize in a range of labor and employment matters, including Title VII defense, ERISA claims, wage and hour disputes, OSHA proceedings and representation of employers before the National Labor Relations Board. I also focus on construction and insurance disputes and other types of general civil litigation as well as life, health, disability and ERISA matters. I also maintain an administrative law practice, serving as privately retained Board Counsel to the Nevada State Board of Podiatry.
I have also had a history of service to the State Bar of Nevada, serving as a member of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee, 2001—2004; serving as a member of the Lawyer Referral and Information Service (LRIS) Committee, 2010–2013; serving as a member of the Fee Dispute Arbitration Committee, 2010–present; serving as a mentor for the Transitioning Into Practice (TIP) Program, 2012-2014; and serving on the Board of Governors (BOG) of the State Bar of Nevada, 2013-present.
I am a graduate of Cornell University and obtained my law degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri. I previously served as Law Clerk to District Court Judge Gene T. Porter.
I am honored to ask for your vote.
CATHERINE M. MAZZEO
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 2002
Firm: Southwest Gas Corporation
Present position: Assistant General Counsel
Affiliations: Clark County Bar Association, State Bar of Arizona
I am seeking election to a two-year term on the Board of Governors. I have lived in Nevada for nearly 25 years and have practiced law here for 15. I am Assistant General Counsel at Southwest Gas Corporation, where I handle various corporate and administrative matters, including regulatory matters in Nevada and two other states. I am also a member of the state bar’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Law Section.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 1997 and attended UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law, where I earned my Juris Doctorate in 2002. During law school, I was Special Projects Editor for the Nevada Law Journal, and recipient of the Barbara Buckley Community Service Award.
In 2002, I joined the Clark County Bar Association (CCBA) and volunteered for several committees, including the New Lawyers Committee, which I later co-chaired. I received the Circle of Support Award in 2004 and 2005, and was elected to the CCBA’s Executive Board in 2008. I had the honor of serving as the organization’s president in 2016.
Our profession is constantly evolving, and as we face significant issues – including advances in technology, increasing diversity, and providing everyone access to justice – it is important that the state bar be proactive in serving its members, building relationships with its affiliate bar associations and assisting the public. I believe my knowledge, experience, past bar leadership and demonstrated commitment to our community make me uniquely qualified to serve on the Board of Governors, and I respectfully request your vote. I am happy to further discuss my candidacy, and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RICHARD J. POCKER
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 1988
Firm: Boies Schiller Flexner LLP
Present Position: Administrative Partner
Size of Firm: 250 plus worldwide, three in Las Vegas
Practice area of law: Civil and criminal litigation
Affiliations: State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors (2011-2017) (Vice President 2016-2017), Southern Nevada Disciplinary Board for the State Bar of Nevada (1993-2002) Chair (1999-2002), Nevada Bar Foundation (2014-2017) (Treasurer), Community Advisory Board for the Nevada Test Site (2000-2002), National Association of Former United States Attorneys (1991-2017), Federal Bar Association, Chair of Federal Litigation Section (2004 to 2007), Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration (2015-2017)
Richard J. Pocker is the Administrative Partner for the Nevada office of Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, an international law firm. Prior to joining his current firm, he was a partner in Dickerson, Dickerson, Consul & Pocker, and has practiced as a litigator in Nevada since 1985. He currently serves as Vice President of the State Bar of Nevada.
Pocker is a 1980 graduate of the University of Virginia Law School, and a veteran of the U.S. Army Judge Advocates General’s Corps. A former Assistant United States Attorney and interim United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, he also served in 1996 as Chief Counsel to a U.S. Congressional investigation conducted by the Select Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives International Relations Committee. While in public service he received the Director’s Special Commendation Award from the U.S. Department of Justice, one of the highest accolades available to the Department’s Attorneys, as well as the Chief Postal Inspector’s Special Award for Excellence of Performance in the Administration of Justice.
He has continued his community and public service in private practice, as listed above in his affiliations. Pocker also served as one of the District of Nevada’s Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representatives from 2004 through 2007, and in 2006 was honored as a Patron of the Nevada Law Foundation. Since 1988 he has participated as a volunteer judge for the “We the People” Constitutional education program, and has also judged student oral advocacy programs at both Boyd School of Law and the University of Virginia Law School (his alma mater). Pocker is also a Master in the Howard D. McKibben American Inn of Court.
Serving on the State Bar’s Board of Governors since 2011, Pocker currently is a member of the board’s Executive Committee, and has served on numerous board task forces addressing attorney discipline, budget issues, CLE board reform, and the management of state bar litigation. Recently, he has been a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, a national organization of former high level state and federal law enforcement officials committed to finding solutions to the mass incarceration problem with a view toward doing so while preserving the ability of law enforcement to effectively prosecute violent crime.
Licensed to practice in five states (Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, California and New York), Pocker concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, a field in which he has been recognized by Best Lawyers in America.
District Three – Carson City: Candidate Statements
MICHAEL KILPATRICK MORTON
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 2016
Firm: Nevada Legislative Counsel Bureau
Present Position: Senior Deputy Legislative Counsel
Size of Firm: 25-30
Practice area of law: Governmental Administration
Affiliations: Washoe County Bar Association; Board of Directors, Carson Valley Community Food Closet
Mike Morton serves as senior deputy legislative counsel for the Legislative Counsel Bureau. Employed with the Nevada Legislature since September 2014, he is currently committee counsel for the Assembly Committee on Health and Human Services for the 79th Session of the Legislature. Outside the legislative building, Morton enjoys speaking to elementary school students across northern Nevada as part of the State Bar of Nevada’s “Goldilocks Program,” which educates elementary school students about our legal system. Morton also sits on the Board of Directors of the Carson Valley Community Food Closet in Gardnerville.
As a member of the Board of Governors, Mike would continue to promote the high ethical standards of the association, by assisting with developing and maintaining programs that benefit fellow members in their practices and engaging attorneys newly admitted to the State Bar of Nevada to help find resources that will make them successful lawyers. He seeks to promote cordiality and collegiality among bar members, so that a general practice lawyer in Carson City or out in Elko will feel comfortable collaborating with a business attorney who is down in Las Vegas. Morton strongly believes that these kinds of relationships will build and maintain a healthy bar association.
Before moving to northern Nevada, Mike worked in the Missouri Senate and clerked at a family law firm in St. Louis, Missouri. He received his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law in 2014, and his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Boston College in 2011. He is also licensed to practice law in Missouri.
RYAN D. RUSSELL
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: 2003
Firm: Allison · MacKenzie, Ltd.
Present position: Shareholder
Size of Firm: 15
Practice areas of law: Litigation, Administrative Law, Government
Affiliations: Washoe County Bar Association, ABA, State Bar of Nevada, First Judicial District Bar Association, Ninth Judicial District Bar Association, Justice League of Nevada, Trustee, 2012-2013, Member of the Board of Governors, State Bar of Nevada (2013 – present)
I am a fourth-generation Carson City resident. My great-grandfather made a career running the train from Reno to Minden as an engineer/fireman for the V&T Railroad. My wife was born and raised in Minden, and my three children are now my family’s fifth generation of Carson City natives. I graduated from Carson High in 1996, from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resource Management, and from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law in 2003.
I clerked for the Honorable William A. Maddox prior to accepting a position with Allison · MacKenzie, Ltd., in 2004. Since joining the firm, I have represented a number of business, individual and government clients. I have provided legal services as general counsel for the Town of Minden, Montessori School and Storey County School District, and have further assisted in the general representation of Carson Tahoe Health, the Carson City School District, and the State Board of Engineers.
I served as president and continue as a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada, as a former board member of the Nevada Law Foundation, as a former associate member of the Bruce R. Thompson Inns of Court, as a current judge pro tempore, a current juvenile master, and a current member of the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. I am a member of the Rotary Club of Carson City. I have twice been named to Nevada Business Magazine’s Legal Elite; I am AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by the Martindale Hubbell Law Directory, and I have an AVVO rating of 10.
I am admitted to practice in all courts in the State of Nevada as well as in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. I have been Carson City’s representative on the State Bar of Nevada’s Board of Governors since 2013, and in that pursuit I have been actively engaged on the Compensation, Advertising and Juvenile Justice committees, and as the liaison to the Real Estate Section, Business Law Section, and the Douglas County Bar Association. I believe I have represented Carson City well on the Board of Governors over the past four years, and I hope to continue those efforts during the next term.