AwardsVegas Legal Magazine is proud to award nine exquisite attorneys for their excellence in the field of law. These attorneys were independently nominated by the public and their peers within the city’s law community—attorneys, judges and other related professionals.

At Vegas Legal Magazine, we pride ourselves on our autonomy and unbiased reporting. In that vein, we’re proud that our honorees are being awarded based upon their own merit…merit that we, as a publication, are merely broadcasting. Congratulations to the following winners of the 2017 Vegas Legal Magazine Legal Excellence Awards. We hope your commitment and dedication to the field of law continues to serve and support your communities and the people in them for years to come.

Ross Goodman, Esq.Ross Goodman, Esq.

Ross C. Goodman, Esq.
Criminal Defense

What makes your law firm different from others?

 I have been practicing law for over 20 years and recognized as a Board Certified criminal defense lawyer.  Knowing that hiring a lawyer can be one of the biggest decisions someone makes, I take pride in providing both personal attention and attention to the details of the facts of the case.  Everyone deserves to have someone that is capable of fighting for every inch to get the most favorable resolution possible especially when facing prison or loss of employment.

What is the most common advice you give to clients or potential clients?

There is no doubt that being charged with a crime is one of the most stressful times a person faces.  The criminal justice system works slowly which can cause even more anxiety.  Under these circumstances, it is important for the client to remind themselves to trust the lawyer they selected to know how to best navigate the process.  I make it a priority to keep my client in the loop while preparing for case to help alleviate the inevitable stress and anxiety experienced by most people.

What made you want to become an attorney?

 Everyone in life makes mistakes and I always believed in fighting for people and especially those people where the deck may be stacked against them.  Everyone deserves a second chance and the protections afforded to them by the constitution.  I pride myself in methodically preparing a case by leaving no stone unturned ensuring that my client receives the best defense possible.

Jordan Savage, Esq.Jordan Savage, Esq.

Public Defenders Office

What makes your law firm different from others? 

The Public Defenders Office is very different than just about any law firm in the State. The Chief Public Defender, Phil Kohn, has made the law firm the most diverse in the state by taking the initiative to recruit the best and the brightest from diverse backgrounds. Both Phil Kohn and Assistant Public Defender Daren Richards have been instrumental in developing ideas and strategies to make the delivery of services to our clients more efficient and effective. There is strength in numbers and the 100 plus attorneys in the office provide strong mentorship and professional development for new attorneys. In addition, the leadership of the office has done an incredible job securing top quality representation and services for our indigent residents.  In addition to the lawyers defending cases, the office has a social work division exploring diversion and treatment options instead of incarceration.  Through the outstanding efforts of Christy Craig, our office has been a leader in the community with respect to changes and upgrades to mental health services and the mental health system within the criminal justice system.

What type of law do you practice and why did you gravitate toward it?

I am the training coordinator for the Public Defenders Office. I run a 6 week training class for new lawyers in the office.  I first developed a strong interest for indigent defense as an undergraduate intern in the Public Defenders Office in Miami, Florida.  My own experience as an intern many years ago is one reason I am so dedicated to hosting interns every semester. Our office strongly believes in an effective internship program so students can learn about the profession by spending a semester with us. We place law students from all over the country and many get law school credit for the internship. In addition, under Nevada Supreme Court Rule 49.5, students are able to argue and make representations on the record under the supervision of a senior attorney. Many of our prior interns are now practicing lawyers with the office.

Do you have a personal code or goal as a practicing attorney?

My professional principle has always been that we are always a work in progress. We should always be trying to take it to the next level.

Don Martin, Esq.Don Martin, Esq.

Lewis Roca Rothberger Christie
Real Estate & Transactional Law

What makes your law firm different from others?

Although our firm is fairly large, we are able to provide service to clients of all sizes – from individuals and small businesses on one end of the spectrum, to Fortune 500 companies on the other.  We pride ourselves on making sure each client, regardless of size or matter type, is treated with respect and sound legal services. We have approximately 300 attorneys in 10 offices spread across 5 states, but the people here make the working environment and our clients feel like a family.  I have clients that I have represented for nearly 20 years. It is really about the relationships that we build. The firm stands out in my mind for making that happen.

What is the most common advice you give to clients or potential clients?

I always recommend that it is far better to spend the time, effort and money, doing the deal the right way, rather than trying to fix problems after it is closed. Due diligence and proper legal documentation will reduce the risks and possibilities of ending up in litigation. While legal documentation and representation cannot save you from “bad actors”, it can reduce the arguments and/or defenses those “bad actors” have, when they default or breach. That saves the client time, money, stress and aggravation. This includes doing their diligence on their choice of legal counsel and the team working with them – from real estate and finance brokers, lenders, consultants and business partners. Picking the right players for the team greatly increases the possibility of success for the project – whether an acquisition, development or finance venture. We try to be that fit for our clients and bring our experience to the table to serve their needs. Although it is very rewarding to close deals, it is also rewarding when a deal gets canceled and the client knows it was the right decision to do so. That’s one of the reasons I love the type of law I practice – nearly all of the time, all of the parties are at the table because they want to be there. No one is forced to be doing the deal.

What type of law do you practice and why did you gravitate toward it?

I practice transactional law, with a heavy emphasis on commercial real estate and real estate finance. Before law school, I worked in the mortgage industry and during my MBA, I interned with Prudential Securities – this was my finance background. My father is a civil engineer and growing up, I was always around construction and real estate projects.  Given these interests, gravitating towards commercial real estate and finance was an easy choice for me.  After nearly 2 decades, I still enjoy what I do on a daily basis. Papering and negotiating deals is incredibly satisfying, fun and rewarding. I love driving around town and pointing out projects to my son  – “daddy worked on that deal there… and that one there…”  I remember my dad telling me the same things with his construction work. Transactional work is the basis for business. I can’t imagine practicing any other type of law.

Dallas Horton, Esq.Dallas Horton, Esq.

Dallas Horton & Associates
Personal Injury

What makes your law firm different from others?

We practice exclusively in personal injury law. The firm is AV rated, which is the highest legal and ethical rating. We have won the following accolades:

  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Nevada
  • AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell
  • Who’s Who of Lawyers
  • Top 100 Lawyer- My Vegas Magazine
  • Top 100 Business Men- My Vegas Magazine
  • Top Lawyers- Vegas Inc. 2013
  • 2016 and 2017 Top 100 Men of the Year
  • America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators

What are some of your goals for 2018? 

To resolve a case for 8 figures.

What are you most proud of in your years of practice?

We obtained an 8.9 Million Dollar verdict with a 9.6 Million Dollar Judgment on a motor vehicle accident with $450.00 in property damage.

Robert Dickerson, Esq.Robert Dickerson, Esq.

Dickerson Karacsonyi Law Group
Family Law

What type of law do you practice and why did you gravitate toward it?

Over the past 41 years, I have practiced law in all areas of litigation, both civil and criminal, as well as handling transactional and estate planning matters. During the past 25 years, however, my primary area of practice has been family law – divorce, annulment, paternity, adoption, child custody, child support, termination of parental rights, premarital agreements, post-marital agreements, appeals from family law matters, etc., as well as representing abused and neglected children on a pro bono basis.

Approximately 25 years ago I was in a law practice with my father, George Dickerson, Barry Lieberman, Vince Consul, and Rick Pocker (Dickerson, Dickerson, Lieberman, Consul, and Pocker). At that time, my father started to slow down his practice as he was preparing for retirement. I still remember the day Barry, Vince, Rick, and I met to discuss whether one of us was going to attempt to take over my father’s well-respected and established family law practice. I jokingly say, “I lost the coin toss!” In reality, however, I won the coin toss because I find it to be quite rewarding to assist people and protect their legal rights as they go through one of the most difficult and heart-wrenching experiences they will encounter in their life. Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoy the family law practice I have developed over the past two decades, and I look forward to continuing to provide legal assistance to my clients for many years to come.

What makes your law firm different from others?

The Dickerson Karacsonyi Law Group prides itself on providing each of our clients with individualized, quality legal services, not only in the competent and thorough legal advice we provide, but also in our written paperwork and oral presentation to be considered by the family court judges. We treat each of our clients’ cases as if it is the most important thing going on in our life at the time – because it is the most important thing going on in the client’s life at the time. As we explain to our clients, sadly, life does not always go according to one’s plans. Sometimes a person needs a professional to ensure his or her rights are protected, assets are preserved, and goals are pursued. At The Dickerson Karacsonyi Law Group, our family law attorneys have successfully represented clients for over 40 years. An established and consistently top-rated, preeminent law firm, we thoroughly understand the divorce and litigation processes. We understand what is at stake for each of our clients, his or her need for discretion and privacy, and the best path to resolution.  I consider myself lucky to have such high quality and brilliant law partners (Josef Karacsonyi and Natalie Karacsonyi) and associate attorneys (Sabrina Dolson and Jonathan Chung) working with me every day to provide our clients with the best family law legal representation available in Nevada.

What is the most common advice you give to clients or potential clients?

The most critical message and piece of legal advice I can offer to my clients is the importance for the client’s credibility, as well as the credibility of his or her attorney, to be unquestioned by the court. Once the client’s, or the attorney’s, credibility is questioned by the court, the client’s case can be drastically affected, and possibly irreparably harmed. It is for this reason I do my very best to impress upon each of my clients the importance for him or her to be totally honest and candid with me, and to never misrepresent or over-state any factual representation made to the court.

Trevor Atkin, Esq.Trevor Atkin, Esq.

Atkin Winner & Sherrod
Insurance Defense

Why I became a lawyer:

When and why I ended up choosing to be a lawyer are perhaps the most common questions I get when meeting a client for the first time. My initial response has always been, and remains, ‘at the age of 13 when I realized I wasn’t good enough to hit a curve ball’. Once the reality sunk in that I would never be able to earn a living playing baseball, my first passion of life, my parents and grandparents offered the sage advice of finding something you enjoy doing, and are actually good at. Their subtle way of telling me maybe I wasn’t particularly good at baseball. What I enjoyed doing, AND was somewhat good at, was public speaking and problem solving. Not math problems, (like many of my colleagues I’m mathematically challenged), but situational challenges or problems. This ultimately led me to high school debate, and ultimately on to law school. My competitive nature, combined with a passion for figuring out the best solution to a given problem or situation, led me to become a litigator – the person who has the privilege of being the voice for a client in the courtroom.

When asked to explain the type of law I practice by friends:

Whenever I get this question, I jokingly reply, “You know all those ads you see for personal injury lawyers? I defend the lawsuits they file.” Early on in law school every student is reminded that they don’t get to pick their facts; rather, it is their job to deal with the facts they are dealt, and from there, advise the client of the best available options and proposed solutions. A litigator is then ultimately tasked with thinking through, designing, and carrying out an effective game plan to present to the judge and jury. The unique and mentally stimulating part of being a litigator is that throughout a given case, you are constantly trying to anticipate the moves and plans of a lawyer on the other side who is doing their best to undo and defeat all your plans. As a civil defense litigator who specializes in defending personal injury lawsuits, my clients unfortunately have in many cases unintentionally or accidentally created a situation which needs to be solved. My job as their attorney is to explain the legal process of how their accident ended up in court, my role as their attorney/counselor, offer my candid assessment of their case, propose solutions for a swift and equitable resolution of the case, and if necessary, logically and convincingly present their side of the argument to a jury at trial.

My personal code as a practicing attorney:

Doing anything for 30 years, you at some point gain a firm grasp on knowing how to handle and comport yourself when facing a particular situation or problem. Soon into my practice I realized there exists quite a bit of gray among the myriad of rules governing how lawsuits are to be litigated along with rules dictating professional conduct. Given so much “gray”, the initial challenge was learning how to balance my competitive nature and desire to win, with following the prescribed rules. In sports, there is the old phrase, ‘if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying’. This is the antithesis of my personal code as a practicing attorney.

I was fortunate enough in my career to have as mentors, seasoned and well-respected lawyers who taught me there was a right way and a wrong way to practice law. Take the facts and evidence you are dealt, admit what you can, and pick the issues you will contest and try to prove. And above all, fight fair – be forthright and honest with your client, your opposing counsel, and the court. And if you ultimately come to a fork in the road of what shade of gray is the rule, be sure to fall on the side of being within the bounds of the rules. As best phrased by one of my mentors, Keith Edwards, ‘if you have to genuinely think about which of your two choices are within the bounds of the rules, then you’ve answered your own question as to which one to choose’. It’s the same advice I give to the young lawyers in my office, and which I follow to this day – error on the side of being within the bounds of the law and professional conduct. It may not make your case any easier to win, but you’ve done what is fair and right.

J. Malcolm DeVoy, Esq.Malcolm DeVoy, Esq.

DeVoy Law Group
Health Care Law, Business & Intellectual Property

When friends ask you to describe the type of law you practice, what do you tell them?

Business disputes and healthcare regulation. I still do some intellectual property work (registration, counseling, and disputes) because I have a lot of training in that area and probably will always find it interesting.  I tell people that they will never see me on television.  I have, however, wondered what kind of response I would get from putting “DEFAMATION?” on a billboard, along with a special phone number to track the inbound calls.

What type of law do you practice and why did you gravitate toward it?

I had kept healthcare in the corner of my eye ever since a close relative suddenly and unexpectedly died in 2011. I never thought the doctors did anything wrong; the issue always seemed more of an administrative one. At the time, though, I was working for a firm that was very focused on intellectual property and constitutional issues. When I went on my own, I was able to meet more physicians, learn about their concerns, and see that strict liability statutes like the Stark Law and its regulations were more similar than not to the Copyright Act (at least in how they operated and were enforced). Being able to help physicians treat people in need throughout Las Vegas is a very rewarding bonus. As for business disputes: It was just natural, I couldn’t keep away from it.

Do you have a personal code or goal as a practicing attorney?

The client is the main event. The most important advice I’ve seen for any attorney is found in Dan Hull’s 12 Rules of Client Service, which he published more than a decade ago on his blog What About Clients? I go back to them a few times a year and they have always been a great source of guidance. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a professional relationship with Dan, whose career has featured representing very large companies in complicated and arduous litigation—particularly environmental matters. He is living proof that his advice works.

How has the legal profession changed here in the valley since you began practicing law?

I do not know if there has been a specific paradigm shift in the practice of law here since I became licensed. The changes I have seen are just the passage of time—firms form and split up, some attorneys rise quickly and others hit their stride. There are some areas that have received and will continue to receive a lot of attention, such as the ongoing super priority lien fight between the Nevada Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but they’re essentially finite: Eventually the issues will be resolved. Ten to fifteen years ago, intellectual property infringement was a big thing because the law surrounding the Internet was still relatively new and developing. The UFC was suing and very active in its enforcement actions; copyright infringement litigation over everything from newspaper articles reposted on message boards to videos uploaded to YouTube was everywhere. Today, attorneys and sophisticated clients generally know which way an infringement case involving the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or use of trademarks in pay-per-click ads are going to resolve; as a result, there’s less litigation in that area, although trademark policing and enforcement work still occurs.  Any changes I’ve observed, from rising and falling practice areas and working to meet the styles and expectations of new judges, all seem to be cyclical.

Christopher Lalli, Esq.Christopher Lalli, Esq.

District Attorney’s Office

What makes the office of the Clark County District Attorney different from other firms?

Imagine the practice of law where you are required to do the right thing, regardless of what that is or who the client might be. Imagine the practice of law where you are not fighting about money, but seeking justice in every case. Imagine a law firm where young lawyers are mentored and trained like no other law firm in the State of Nevada. Imagine going to court where you always wear the “white hat” in the face of the community. This is the practice of law at the Office of the Clark County District Attorney.

Founded on July 3, 1909, the Office of the Clark County District Attorney is one of the oldest – if not the oldest – law firm in Clark County, Nevada.  It is the largest law firm with the largest caseload in the State of Nevada.  Incredible people have held the position of District Attorney over the years. These include members of the Foley Family, Harley Harmon – a founding father of Clark County, individuals who have held other elected office in our community, such as Steve Wolfson, members of the judiciary, such as Stewart L. Bell, and Bob Miller – who later became Nevada’s Governor.

We recruit nationally and attract applicants from all over the United States. We are also very proud of the fact that we have employed more graduates from UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law than any other employer, anywhere.

How has the legal profession changed since you began practicing law?

I have been a lawyer in Las Vegas for just over 23 years, beginning my practice in 1994. The practice of law has changed significantly since then, particularly in terms of the number of lawyers, the establishment of a law school, technology and specialization within the profession.

In the past twenty-three years, the legal community has certainly gotten larger. When I began my legal career, the Clark County legal community was small, particularly the criminal bar. The configuration of the old Clark County Courthouse located at 200 South Third Street fostered the ability to personally interact with members of the bar on a daily basis. Las Vegas Justice Court consisted of a single floor.  District Court was located on two floors. A morning walk to a courtroom in either of these courts would result in visits with countless fellow prosecutors as well as defense bar “regulars.”

A significant reason for the growth of the legal community in Clark County is the William S. Boyd School of Law. Boyd has also contributed to the development of our field. The law school serves as a positive legal resource in our State. Numerous forums and white papers have been produced by Boyd students and faculty which have contributed positively to the profession.

Technology has certainly changed the way we practice law, both in and out of the courtroom. Audio visual presentations are a must in court proceedings. Few lawyers would consider delivering an opening statement or a closing argument without PowerPoint or Keynote running in the background. Many attorneys use these same electronic, animated visuals while examining witnesses. Similarly, when I began my legal career, email and text messaging did not exist. The preferred form of communication was picking up the telephone and having a conversation with opposing counsel. This likely contributed, in general, to more cordial relationships with opposing counsel then now exist.

Specialization within the criminal bar, particularly in my office, has significantly changed. When I began as a young Deputy District Attorney, it would not be uncommon for me to prosecute a DUI, a domestic battery, a robbery with a weapon, a drug case, an arson, and a felon in possession of firearm case – all on one calendar. Now we have specialists. We have DUI prosecutors, domestic violence prosecutors, gun crime prosecutors, gang prosecutors, murder prosecutors, sexual assault prosecutors. The result, certainly, is a higher level of advocacy in favor of victims.

What is your personal code or goal as a practicing attorney?

Your reputation is everything. The English author, Ernest Bramah, is credited with writing, “A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment.”

Many ethical rules apply to the conduct of lawyers. Prosecutors are bound by even more rules. We are heavily scrutinized by our peers, the judiciary, and the public. We who are prosecutors, therefore, must always strive to engage in conduct that is beyond reproach.

This conduct applies to all areas of the law. It applies to the rules of ethics as well as how we treat others we encounter. With respect to ethics, it is imperative not to cross the line, but also not to approach too closely to it. Error on the side of caution. Error on the side of what feels right. Error on the side of protecting your reputation. And equally as important, always seek to foster positive relationships with members of the bar who oppose you. Be the one guy in your office who can talk to the opposing counsel no one else can talk to. Remember – never, ever burn a bridge. You may need that bridge to cross a chasm one day.

Robert Daskas, Esq.Robert Daskas, Esq.

District Attorney’s Office

What type of law do you practice and why did you gravitate toward it?

I have been a criminal prosecutor for 22 years.  My career, however, did not begin in criminal law.

In 1993, I was ranked #2 in my graduating class at the McGeorge School of Law. I was recruited by Lionel Sawyer & Collins – – the largest, most prestigious civil law firm in Nevada at that time – – where I worked for two years as a litigation associate. I soon realized that I had a passion to become a trial attorney, so I elected to leave the practice of civil law and join the Clark County District Attorney’s Office.

I tried my first capital murder case just six months after joining the Clark County District Attorney’s office.  Less than four years later, I was promoted to the elite Major Violators Unit where I prosecuted exclusively homicides and high-profile cases for 15 years. My prosecutions – – which include single, double, triple and quadruple homicides – – have been featured on America’s Most Wanted, Dateline NBC, 48 Hours and Court T.V.

Today I serve as one of two Assistant District Attorneys in the Criminal Division of the District Attorney’s Office. I supervise the nearly 100 prosecutors who comprise the Homicide Unit, Gang Unit, Gun Unit, Special Victims Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, Vehicular Crimes Unit and General Litigation Teams.

Is there a professional accomplishment of yours that stands out?

I drafted the Clark County District Attorney policy which outlines the Office’s response to, and involvement in, officer-involved-shootings. The policy requires all Clark County law enforcement agencies – – regardless of the day or hour – – to contact me personally when an officer-involved-shooting occurs in Clark County. I have responded to more than 90 scenes since inception of the policy and have logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours outside of normal business hours, all while continuing to perform my day-to-day duties in the office.  I also supervise the prosecutors who ultimately conduct Police Fatality Public Fact-finding Reviews, the public hearings which are held following fatal officer-involved-shootings.

While law enforcement and prosecution agencies across the country have struggled with their response to officer-involved-shootings, and while other communities deal with protests and riots in reaction to such events, the Clark County District Attorney’s Office has been at the forefront in handling these cases and minimizing negative reaction to such tragedies. I am often invited to speak to law enforcement and prosecution agencies regarding the model I developed. I am very fortunate to work collaboratively with such dedicated and professional members of all the law enforcement agencies in Clark County, and in particular the LVMPD Force Investigation Team, who respond to officer-involved-shootings. Collectively, we ensure these incidents are thoroughly investigated, and we provide the public with transparency. I firmly believe it results in our community having trust and confidence in our police officers.”

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