2018 Board of Governors Candidates
The State Bar of Nevada has begun its annual elections for members of the Board of Governors. Elections began Friday, May 11, 2018, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, June 11, 2018, 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: Four Seats
The eligible candidates for District One include:
- Paola Armeni
- Terry Coffing
- Andrew Craner
- Jessica Goodey
- John “Jack” Howard
- Casey Quinn
- Cory Santos, Sr.
- Jay Shafer
- Kari Stephens
- Ryan Works
District Four – Washoe County: Two Seats
The election in Washoe County is uncontested. The two candidates who will be appointed to the open seats are:
- Doug Clark
- Ann Morgan
District One – Clark County: Candidate Statements
PAOLA M. ARMENI
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: September 2003
Firm: Gentile Cristalli Miller Armeni Savarese (GCMAS)
Present Position: Managing Partner
Size of Firm: Eight attorneys
Practice areas of law: Criminal Defense, Civil Rights Litigation
Affiliations: Six (6) terms on the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Nevada, Board Member and Past President of Nevada Attorneys for Justice, Member of the Advisory Commission for the Administration of Justice, UNLV Alumni Association, Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board Member & Chief Legal Officer, Las Vegas Business Academy, Children’s Attorney Project (CAP) Attorney
Shortly after I graduated from the William S. Boyd School of Law, I became active in the State Bar. I served on the Young Lawyers Section for six (6) years, where my last year I had the privilege of serving as the Chair. Thereafter, I wanted to continue with my service to the Bar, and for the last six (6) years, I have had the honor of serving on the Board of Governors. During my time on the Board, we have worked diligently to move forward our mission of governing our profession, protecting the public and serving our members. We have done this in a variety of ways, some examples are: changing the disciplinary process to make it much more efficient, alleviating the prior backlog, striving for diversity on our appointments to various committees and boards, and continuing to evaluate how we can serve our members. If elected, I want to continue to serve on the Board of Governors to be a strong voice for the members of the Bar, to develop a better line of communication with our members and to optimize the nobility of our profession. Thank you for taking the time to be part of this process and I ask for your consideration to be reelected to the Board of Governors as one your Clark County Representatives.
TERRY A. COFFING
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 1993
Firm: Marquis Aurbach Coffing
Present Position: President and Managing Partner
Size of Firm: 35 attorneys
Practice areas of law: Civil Litigation
Terry A. Coffing joined MAC Law in September of 1993 after serving as a summer clerk in 1992. Since his admission to the Minnesota State Bar in 1992 and the Nevada State Bar in 1993, Mr. Coffing has gained a diverse litigation background. Mr. Coffing litigated numerous jury and bench trials in state and federal court in Nevada and in other states. He has obtained several multi-million dollar verdicts and served as defense counsel in multi-million dollar claims on behalf of his client. Prior to coming to MAC, Mr. Coffing served as a law clerk to the Honorable Jack Lehman in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Las Vegas as well as clerking for a Bankruptcy Court Judge, and the United States Attorney’s Office in Minnesota. Currently Mr. Coffing serves as President and Managing Partner of MAC Law and is co-chair of the litigation department.
When I started with MAC, we had seven attorneys. Since then we have grown substantially and I have seen first-hand what it takes to run a successful law practice. I believe this experience would be invaluable in serving on the Board of Governors. Additionally, I would like to see additional transparency in the way the Board handles their duties and would like to increase participation by individual members of the Bar. Also, I am concerned with the “value” that we have received for the considerable amount of dues that each and every member pays.
In his spare time Mr. Coffing is a horrible golfer, an automotive enthusiast and skier. He also enjoys spending time with his wife Jayne, their children, Abigail and Hayden, and their four dogs.
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 1997
Firm: Andrew Craner, Esq.
Present position: Owner
Size of Firm: Solo Practitioner
Practice areas of law: ADR and civil litigation
Affiliations: Howard D. McKibben Chapter of the American Inns of Court
I am running for the Board of Governors because I believe the State Bar must improve communications and services to our fellow bar members. My goals include:
- Making the Board of Governors meeting agendas available in advance to all bar members;
- Implementing an “open forum” at all Board of Governors meetings so bar members can address the Board of Governors in person or in writing regarding their concerns;
- Providing a specific breakdown of votes cast by individual governors on agenda items;
- Ensuring that all meeting minutes are promptly posted on the State Bar’s website after each meeting;
- Informing all bar members of any proposed rule changes that the Board of Governors plans to submit to the Supreme Court of Nevada at least sixty days before each submission and allow for a sufficient comment period by bar members; and
- Working to halt the efforts by the current Board of Governors to implement mandatory random audits of IOLTA accounts and mandatory malpractice insurance coverage by all bar members.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
JESSICA M. GOODEY
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 2010
Firm: Becker Goodey
Present position: Managing Member
Size of Firm: Two Attorneys
Practice areas of law: Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, and Business Litigation
Affiliations: Clark County Bar Association, Nevada Justice Association
I am seeking election to a two-year term on the Board of Governors. Following the recent proposals put forth by the Bar, I felt compelled to run for this position. I have noticed growing discontent with the Board of Governors, and I believe it is time to have new members with new ideas. If elected, I will make it my priority to advocate for a State Bar that works for its members. This necessarily includes a higher level of transparency. I intend to fight for advanced notice of all meetings, including a publication of the agenda, so that all bar members may submit comments on the agenda items. I will also advocate for transparency in how our bar dues are spent, which would include publication of the annual budget so that members of the bar can see where their money is going. Finally, with the understanding that we are subject to some of the highest bar dues in the country, I will fight for lower dues.
I am currently one of the founding members of Becker Goodey, a two-person firm. Because of this, I am intimately familiar with the struggles of small firms and solo practitioners. My practice focuses on Plaintiff’s personal injury, medical malpractice, and general business litigation. Prior to opening my own firm, I began my legal career at Marquis Aurbach Coffing, a large local firm, as well as gaining experience at Jackson Lewis, a national firm. This has provided me with insight as to the operations of larger firms as well. In addition to my practice, I volunteer with the Clark County Law Foundation, Trial by Peers, as well as serving as a judge in the annual Nevada High School Mock Trial Regional Competition.
I graduated from UNLV’s Boyd School of Law in 2010 and became a member of the Bar that same year. I received my undergraduate degree from University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. When I am not working or spending the weekends at my son’s sporting events, I love exploring new places.
I am excited to have an opportunity to serve members of this profession, and, if given the chance, I hope to implement rules that better serve us. I am happy to discuss my candidacy and listen to any suggestions for additional changes. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
JOHN “JACK” HOWARD
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: December 1975
Firm: John Hall Howard, Jr., Ltd.
Present position: President/Owner
Size of Firm: Solo Practitioner
Practice areas of law: Criminal, Family Law, Civil Litigation, Arbitration, Judge Pro Tem
Affiliations: American Bar Association; State Bar of Nevada; Clark County Bar Association; Nevada Justice Association
My name is John Hall Howard, Jr., but I have always been called “Jack.” I grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts and remain a huge Red Sox fan. I graduated from Occidental College in 1970 and then enlisted in the US Army Reserves. I graduated from California Western Law School in 1974. I came to Nevada in 1975 and clerked for District Court Judge Tom O’Donnell. I was a Deputy Public Defender for three years and Deputy City Attorney doing both civil and criminal for three years and a partner for three years with Jim Rogers and Bruce Woodbury. I have served as a Judge Pro Tem in the five Family Courts, Justice Court and Municipal Court. I have been an Arbitrator since 1993. I served on the Judicial Selection Commission and the Family Law Counsel and lectured multiple times throughout the State on criminal and family law matters. I was on the Board of the Pro Bono Project and been recognized for my extensive volunteer pro bono work. I have six beautiful and loving children and step-children and a very supportive wife, Liz Howard, who is a Nurse Manager. I hope to continue my service to the entire State Bar if elected to serve another term.
CASEY J. QUINN
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 2008
Firm: Newmeyer & Dillion LLP
Present Position: Associate
Size of Firm: 71 lawyers (seven in Nevada)
Practice areas of law: Commercial litigation, construction
I’m running for the Board of Governors to be an agent of change. In the May issue of Nevada Lawyer, the President of the State Bar said, “After all, what is the responsibility of the State Bar of Nevada but to protect the public and the honor of the legal profession?” While I agree that it is the Bar’s responsibility, per its own bylaws, to uphold the honor of the legal profession, I’m concerned about steps that the Bar has been taking recently to protect the public—especially with regard to the costs of those steps for the members. Like many of you, I am not a proponent of the proposed random trust account audits. I was surprised that the Board of Governors moved forward with it even after receiving a large number of survey responses critical of their plan.
I would like to see more transparency from the Bar. I think that the members of the Bar should be more aware of what the Board is doing and how their dues are being spent, especially in light of how high our dues are. As part of this, I think that the Bar needs to revamp its Annual Meeting and make it more accessible and beneficial to the members at large. The 2017 annual report indicates the Bar spent over $121,000 on the annual meeting, and while I can’t find any numbers on how many members attended, based on my experience, it was a few hundred at most—and many of those who attend had their costs paid for by the Bar. I know because I received that benefit while serving as the Chair of the Construction Law section.
I would like to see the Bar re-examine the current CLE requirements to ensure that they are effective. I also think the Bar should work to clarify several aspects of attorney discipline. While I cannot make specific campaign promises about what I will accomplish, I will promise that if elected I will work hard to make the Bar more efficient, more transparent, and more beneficial for its Members.
If you want to know more about me, you can find more biographical information on my firm’s website at www.ndlf.com. The highlights: graduated from Cardozo School of Law; served as Chair of the Construction Law Section of the Bar in 2016; currently serve as a Small Claims Pro Tempore; I have two kids and two dogs; and, I’m a big fan of the Vegas Golden Knights! If you have any questions or want to further discuss ideas for making the Bar work better for you, please reach out.
CORY A. SANTOS, SR.
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 2002
Firm: Santos Law, PLLC.
Present Position: Owner
Size of Firm: Solo Practitioner
Practice areas of law: Workers’ Compensation, Entertainment Law, Personal Injury, Criminal Defense, Immigration, Wills
Affiliations: Nevada Justice Association, American Association for Justice, Federalist Society
I am a native Nevadan, born and raised in Reno. I currently reside in Henderson. I am the proud father of four beautiful children and my wife Theresa Santos is also a practicing Nevada attorney. My father Herb Santos has been a Nevada attorney since 1964. My brother Herb, Jr. was admitted in 1991 and my brother Joel in 1992. I earned my B.A. from the University of Nevada, Reno and my J.D. as a charter class member of the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. My career started out working as a law clerk for several law offices and I then served as a Deputy Attorney for the State of Nevada in the southern office of the Nevada Attorney for Injured Workers’ from 2002-2008. I then practiced with my brother Joel from 2008-2018 and recently opened my office, SANTOS LAW, PLLC.
I have substantial and diverse experience serving on many boards over the years. Most notably, I have served on a school board in northern Nevada, an interfaith board at UNLV, and currently sit on the board for the Boxing Hall of Fame, Las Vegas. I also currently sit as a member of the Clean Boxing Program for the World Boxing Council.
As a trial lawyer, I have argued before the Nevada Supreme Court, en banc, won a significant precedent setting workers’ compensation case in Flamingo Hilton v. Gilbert (2006), and have testified on workers’ compensation matters before the Nevada Legislature. In the field of Entertainment Law, I have represented entertainers, producers and directors.
Presumably, all candidates for the Board of Governors are qualified. The bigger question is why should you vote for me? The answer is based on why I decided to run for this office. Simply put, I am very concerned about the future of the Bar. First, as for admission to the Nevada Bar, I believe that Nevada must maintain its bar examination and the bar should continue to maintain a high standard for admission to the Nevada Bar. To that end, I do not support utilizing a uniform bar examination as has been proposed. Additionally, I believe that Nevada should not offer reciprocity to attorneys licensed in other states.
Second, I do not support mandatory audits of attorney trust accounts. While there is great concern over trust account issues highlighted by recent publicity, it would amount to punishing good attorneys for the actions of a few bad actors. There are many concerns attorneys have expressed to me about mandatory trust audits. Most notably, attorney-client privilege issues. Certainly, cost is a huge concern of many members I have spoken with. Someone will have to pay for it. If the audited firms are large firms, they probably will be able to absorb this cost, but small firms and solo practitioners? This will be a huge cost to them. If the bar pays for it, certainly dues will need to be increased. There are many concerns which members have expressed to me and as a board member, I will listen to those concerns and make sure they are addressed. I believe that at this time, more discussion is needed to figure out how to solve the recent trust issues.
Third, I do not believe in mandatory malpractice insurance. While I agree that an attorney should maintain malpractice insurance, any proposal mandating it must be considered carefully. I have heard from attorneys that are concerned with this proposal because it will mandate a new requirement for attorneys that some attorneys might not be able to obtain and some might truly, based on the attorney’s job, not even need malpractice insurance. As an alternative, I would propose and support that if an attorney has a website, they must communicate on every page of the website in large bold lettering that the attorney does not have malpractice insurance, or something to that effect. Additionally, in the attorney’s retainer, in large bold lettering, it must state that the attorney does not have malpractice insurance, or something to that effect. I would even suggest a waiver be attached to all retainers for the client to sign. This clearly communicates to the customer that they have been advised of this fact and are making a choice. This allows the consumer to choose whether the consumer wants an attorney with or without malpractice insurance to represent her/him. I feel that this is a much more reasonable step to take and evaluate before making a much larger jump to mandating malpractice insurance.
While I believe that regulation is an important function of the Nevada Bar, and certainly, enforcement of its rules must be maintained, I also believe that the purpose of the Nevada Bar is to support its members. As such, the relationship should not be hostile but beneficial to both parties: the bar and its members. This creates a duty on the bar members to maintain high standards and follow the rules, but, also, for the bar to maintain fairness and strongly consider attorney input before regulations or rules are enacted to ensure that members are not harmed by well intentioned, yet, harmful in effect regulations or rules. This also creates a relationship where the bar has a strong fiduciary commitment to its members to make sure that all funds are spent appropriately and wisely. I am a solo practitioner and believe that for the Nevada legal community to succeed, the bar leadership must be very cautious about steering into ideas that again, while perhaps made with good intentions, could harm its members. New proposals to help the public are good and welcome, however, new proposals must be considered with strong input by bar members as to their effect on all its members.
I hope that you share my above concerns, I am sure to some members they are not popular views and perhaps rock the boat, but, I have to stand for what I feel is right, even if it upsets some, because, after speaking with many attorneys, there are many of you that agree with my concerns and you deserve a voice on the Board of Governors. I am more than happy to discuss these or any other issues with you in more detail. I hope I can count on your vote in this election which will determine the future of the Nevada Bar.
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 2004
Firm: Premier Legal Group
Practice area of law: Civil litigation
Affiliations: State Bar of Nevada, Oregon State Bar, J. Reuben Clark Law Society
I am seeking election to the Board of Governors so that I may assist the bar in improving the legal community through the organization which governs and should serve it. As lawyers we have an obligation to serve the public in promulgating justice, and the State Bar should serve that mission. If elected to the Board of Governors, my priorities will be to push for well-reasoned policies which support the membership in fulfilling their duty, and require that new policies be well thought out, discussed and that the input of actual stakeholders be sought and incorporated. My guideline is that the primary motivator of the Bar should be inspiration and guidance, with plans in place supported and tested by reason, logic and demonstrable evidence. My focus will also include encouraging involvement and participation in our State Bar, by democratizing participation, increasing transparency, and making the process more accessible.
After attending Arizona State University and Brigham Young University with a Degree in Political Science and Business, I explored policy and economic analysis. I then attended Brigham Young University Law School where I graduated cum laude in 2004.
After law school I began my practice in construction defect and tort defense, representing contractors and other entities. I had a variety of experiences, including handled catastrophic tort claims through trial and arbitration in a variety of areas on cases large and small. In 2011 I began my current practice, which focuses on business, real estate and commercial litigation. My current focus is on my family, with three busy children who occupy my time, and a dedication to my church and community. It is because of the focus on the community I believe I am called to put my shoulder to the wheel with the Board of Governors, to return the focus on supporting lawyers in ethically, effectively and efficiently fulfilling the call of their profession.
KARI L. STEPHENS
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 2001
Firm: Jeffrey Burr, Ltd.
Present position: Of Counsel
Size of Firm: Six to 10 lawyers
Practice areas of law: Trust Administration, Probate and Estate Planning
Affiliations: State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors, 2014 – Present; State Bar of Nevada Probate & Trust Law Section; Clark County Bar Association; and Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys
I have been serving on the Board of Governors for four years. During this time, I have worked to enhance the value of bar membership and integrate the legal community. I have volunteered on various Board taskforces and committees to address the many challenges being faced by the bar organization as a whole, as well as by individual attorneys practicing in an ever-evolving legal profession. If re-elected for a third term, I will continue to focus my efforts on maintaining high standards in the practice of law in the State of Nevada.
I would appreciate your vote to retain me as your Clark County Representative on the Board of Governors. Thank you for your consideration!
Date of admission to practice in Nevada: October 2004
Firm: McDonald Carano
Present position: Partner
Practice areas of law: Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Financial Restructuring; Commercial and Complex Litigation
Affiliations: State Bar of Nevada Board of Governors, State Bar of Nevada Young Lawyers Section, Leadership Las Vegas, American Bar Association Business Law Section, Business Bankruptcy Committee, Las Vegas Founders, First Tee of Southern Nevada
I am currently serving my second term on the Board of Governors and seek your vote for re-election to a third term. I am a partner with McDonald Carano LLP, working primarily in the areas of corporate bankruptcy and restructuring, and business litigation. I have been a licensed attorney, practicing with McDonald Carano since October 2004. I currently serve on the Compensation Committee of the Firm, I am the Chairman of the Firm’s Bankruptcy and Insolvency Practice Group, I am a member of the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group and Government Affairs Group.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2001, and earned my Juris Doctorate from the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2004. While in law school I was the Nevada Law Editor for the Nevada Law Journal and a national finalist for the Society of Advocates National Moot Court Team. Upon graduation, I received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service.
Immediately upon my admission to the State Bar of Nevada, I became actively involved with the Young Lawyers Section and after several years of active participation I served as the Chairman in 2009-2010.
I ran successfully in 2014 for a seat on the Board of Governors to continue my involvement with the State Bar of Nevada. During my first two-year term, in addition to attending the quarterly board meetings, I served as liaison to several State Bar Sections – including Gaming Law and Bankruptcy, worked on the Discipline Fee Taskforce, and was a member of the Audit Committee. During my second term I was actively involved with the Client Security Fund, tackling the difficult issues presented with the recent Rob Graham trust fund theft. As a result of my work on this committee, I have also been active in implementing measures to prevent such an occurrence of theft again in our legal community. I am running as an incumbent for a third term to continue my work, based on the knowledge and experience I have achieved since first being elected. I understand the processes and issues presently before the Board and am well-versed to represent the interests of our members during the next two-years.
I intend to utilize my long standing history of commitment and experience to continue serving our legal community. My focus is to continue working on meaningful solutions for our members. I want to prevent attorneys such as Rob Graham from having access to significant trust fund assets without first obtaining a bond, or security of some type, to protect the innocent victims of our community. I want to continue focusing on mental health issues facing our profession. And I want to enhance the features of this State Bar to accommodate our members while continuing my mission from prior elections – promoting the highest ethical and professional standards in the country, expediting discipline matters, keeping Nevada’s lawyers fully employed, and facilitating continuing education across all practice arenas.
With my demonstrated previous involvement, and life-long attachment to Nevada, I am uniquely qualified to address State Bar governance issues throughout the State.
I humbly ask that you select me for a third term on the Board of Governors to the State Bar of Nevada. I welcome the opportunity to discuss my candidacy and qualifications, so please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or by telephone at (702) 257-4507 (direct); (702) 580-7825 (mobile).