Amanda has spent her career fighting for plaintiffs in personal injury cases since she first arrived in Las Vegas in 2014. With a background in psychology, Amanda realized early on that her compassion for clients and her ability to empathize gave her an edge—making her an outstanding advocate.
Throughout her legal career she has prided herself on her ability to truly listen to her clients, coming up with solutions that are legally savvy and personally tailored. Further, Amanda’s trial experience allows her to fully analyze each case with a deep understanding of the process. Amanda uses her unique background and talent to aggressively pursue justice for her clients. In her spare time, she gives back to the community by practicing pro bono through the Nevada Legal Aid Center’s Children’s Attorney Project.
Amanda’s dedication to strengthening the personal injury litigation community is exemplified in her work cofounding the Nevada Justice Association’s Annual Mock Trial Competition. Through this competition, students now have the rare opportunity to practice their advocacy abilities in a trial setting before leaving law school. This endeavor not only demonstrates Amanda’s dedication to becoming an excellent trial attorney, but also shows her commitment to bettering Nevada’s legal community.
Amanda sat down with us to share a little more about herself and her practice.
VLM: What does being an attorney mean to you?
AL: Being an attorney is a privilege I simply don’t take lightly. The gift I get to have as an attorney is the positive impact I can have on my clients’ lives through my work. There’s that old proverb that says to choose a career you enjoy, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Sure, some days it feels like work – a lot of work – but seeing a client’s excitement at the time of resolution is so worth it. My heart feels whole when I can make someone’s day better, and a lot of my clients are coming to me during the most difficult times in their life. It’s such an honor that they trust me to take their hand and walk them through it. My clients come from all different backgrounds, so their struggles are all unique to them. Being able to provide them a service that is tailored to their individual needs is a core value of my firm that I get to continue to develop each and every day I practice.
VLM: What was your most memorable case?
AL: The most memorable case I’ve had so far was helping serve a brother and sister through the Pro Bono Children’s Attorney Project of the Southern Nevada Legal Aid Center. The siblings had lost both parents and were in separate group homes. I spent two years helping the siblings navigate the family law courts to help set them up for their futures. Throughout the case, I grew an attachment to them as if they were my own and took every failure of the state personally. It gave me an inside look of how child protective services works, tries to work, and their deficiencies. This was all very difficult on my clients who, despite their cognitive disabilities, knew what they were entitled to, they just didn’t know how to assert those rights.
The younger sibling was very hard to win over because of the trauma he endured growing up. When he finally started talking to me after months of me trying, I was able to hear how much he appreciated me helping him and his sister. By far, it has been my most memorable case as it was deeply rewarding. I continue to help children in need by working of counsel for a firm that does special education law, empowering parents to assert their rights in pursuing free appropriate public education for their children. The work I do with my own firm is very rewarding – helping those who are injured or otherwise at the lowest points in their lives – but helping children holds a special place in my heart. It’s simply wonderful that I am able to do both.
VLM: Have you ever experienced a situation where you had to support a legal position that conflicted with your personal beliefs? If so, how did you handle it?
AL: Luckily, there have not been many. One experience that stands out is when I worked at a firm where I was directed by the supervising attorney to do things that I did not agree with, such as file certain motions or hold certain positions. In those situations, I do what I can to get my client the best outcome. Specifically, I will spend hours researching the law to ensure that we have the best chance for success. Once I feel like I know the legal argument in and out, I have an honest conversation with the client about what I think and the different outcomes we can anticipate. For me, honesty and clarity with my clients is crucial. Most of my clients have never had to go through the legal process before, so I make sure that when I speak with them, I try to keep out as much legalese as possible and take the time explain the legal words that they need to know. This helps my clients come to informed decisions in moving forward.
One of the reasons I decided to start my own law firm was to be able to work directly with my clients in coming to informed decisions on their cases without another attorney dictating what should be done or which position to hold. Some clients are very determined in their positions, so I rely on my knowledge and experience to try to guide them to reasonable positions. At the end of the day, I work for my clients and will do whatever I can to ensure that they are making decisions on their case that are at the very least informed. I look at those situations as learning opportunities instead of obstacles, which really helps my approach.
VLM: Has there ever been a situation that tested the limits of your patience? Do you have any advice for handling those moments?
AL: I feel that everyone has moments that test their patience. For me, something that I have found recently with the backlog of litigation and criminal cases, is that there are some hearings that will take up to four hours to be called. Having the option to have some virtual hearings help, but not all criminal hearings can be virtual. It’s difficult because that is four hours during the workday I can’t get to my other cases. During these instances, I try to have my email available to check, and most importantly, my main office line can receive texts. I highly encourage my clients to text that line if there is an urgent need and they can’t get a hold of me because I can answer those texts while I’m waiting for my case to be called. Fortunately, the judges who have longer hearings tend to be understanding and don’t mind if you must step out and come back in, as long as you notify the bailiff.
Another instance that happens more in my civil litigation practice than in my criminal practice is having an unyielding opposing counsel. What I mean, is when there is an opposing attorney who either comes to conclusions not supported by law or chooses to hold a position that negates compromise and refuses to be reasonable. With those instances, the only thing you really can do is know the law and file a motion. Sometimes motion work is the only way you can keep a case moving. Earlier in my practice, this behavior from opposing counsel used to frustrate me and get under my skin much more, but I’ve found that the more you give into it, the more you will be arguing with emotion rather than fact and law. When an argument is not centered in fact and law, it is more likely to be a losing argument. Now, I look at it and when I file my motion or opposition, I try to stay as concise and law-centered as possible to make it easier on the judge or whomever is deciding the issue to understand and apply which rules/laws are appropriate.
VLM: What is your best piece of advice for new attorneys looking to start their own firm?
AL: The number one thing I would say is to make sure you are starting to cultivate relationships now. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of my colleagues. In law school, I was very active in going to events and participating in organizations. That’s really helped me create friendships in our community. Those friends have sent me referrals, as well as given me much needed advice and support. During this process, humility is important. I’m the type of person that sometimes feels weak when I need to ask for help, but there are so many people out there who get fulfillment (like myself) out of helping others. I have to remind myself that I, myself, get joy out of helping and mentoring others, so I shouldn’t deprive others of that joy in helping or mentoring me. There have been so many people in our legal community who have reached out or have made themselves available for a lunch where I can ask them questions. It’s probably the best thing about the Las Vegas legal community. If you don’t feel like you know anyone who would be there for you, then join an organization. Many of our legal organizations have special resources for new solos. I personally belong to the Nevada Justice Association and the American Inns of Court. Both of those organizations value mentorship and have been incredible resources for me.
Before starting on my own, I hadn’t taken any business classes, but I knew that there are resources out there for new businesses. The Small Business Association (SBA) is incredible and has many branches. The SBA has a wealth of information, even an online course that you can take in your own time. There are also mentors through their branches who will give you 15 minutes to an hour of their time and walk you through wherever you are at in your business planning process. I was pleasantly surprised with just how many resources there are. I’m also participating in the State Bar’s Incubator Program, which has been extremely helpful.
Also, practice listening. Every person I meet now, I make sure to really listen to what they are saying because there are many people who may not have your exact experiences or goals that gives you that golden piece advice that you needed right then. It’s all a process, so remembering that being patient with not just yourself but with client acquisition and income will take you far. It’s hard work and emotionally taxing, but most attorneys I know are highly resilient.
VLM: What made you decide to start your own law firm?
AL: My decision to start my own law firm was based on my limitations working for a law firm. In my experience, working for another law firm, you must follow the lead of the owners and the only decisions you can really make are day to day decisions you come to with a client. There’s so much more freedom in working for myself when it comes to hours I work, which clients I work with, and the image I want to portray to the community. It’s really an investment in myself and my clients. I get to work with my clients in a way that I can control now. The attorney-client relationship truly is a “relationship” in that I learn their style of communication and their personality, which will allow for me to bring the same level of experience to them next time they need legal assistance.
VLM: What made you decide to be an attorney?
AL: I’ve been lucky in growing up with many attorneys on my dad’s side of the family, so I got to see at a really young age how much difference attorneys can make in the lives around them. While my parents raised me with modest means, I was given the gift of having successful lawyers around who constantly told me that I could become anyone I wanted to be.
On my mom’s side of family, I was the first one to graduate any sort of college. Since her family were also of modest means and approached life with a communal spirit, they taught me that our relationships and resilience are two of the most important values in life. They took care of each other when someone was in need, without question or judgment. It was this that encouraged my deep desire to help others.
On the contrary, my dad’s side of the family valued educational and career success. They cared about others in our family, but valued autonomy. That means that they would help someone just enough so that the person in need would need to problem solve and find sustainable solutions for themselves so they could grow. This perspective instilled a competitive drive in me, while giving me the courage to believe in myself.
Thanks to this dichotomy, I was able to put myself through school so that I could help others. Originally, I pursued psychology degree in my undergrad. I loved learning and was fascinated by the neuroscience component of my studies. While working two jobs and going to school fulltime, I interned at the Carter Lab helping with fMRI research on schizophrenia. My goal was to graduate and go on to a PhD program to continue researching to help those with mental disorders.
In my final year at UC Davis, I met the former mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, at my uncle Arnie Laub’s birthday party. There, Mr. Brown spoke to me about his journey going through law school – that he couldn’t even afford the bus and would have to hitchhike to get to class. We continued to talk about all the great things he was able to accomplish in his pursuit to help others. This was beyond inspiring and deeply moving. That conversation was the catalyst to my legal career. I realized the profound impact a legal career could have on one community, and the fire in me to make a change in other’s lives was fueled. Becoming a lawyer is one of my great accomplishments for my personal life, and I hope to continue use my license to make positive changes in my clients’ lives.
VLM: What is your favorite and least favorite part of being an attorney?
AL: The best part of being an attorney is helping those in need. I get to wake up and share my talents in a way that can positively change someone’s life – what can be better than that?
My least favorite part of being an attorney is probably taking the calls where the potential clients are really injured and not only is there no avenue of recovery, there’s also no support for them outside of the law. For example, one of my former traffic citation clients is an older woman here in town. She just kept causing car crashes. One crash she got into was very serious and sent her to the hospital. The crash was very clearly her fault. My heart aches for her as is now in debt for her medical expenses but, most importantly, is injured without any family members around to take care of her. This career for me is not all about getting justice for clients, it’s about the people who are involved. I have found that to be a great advocate for my clients, it’s more than just the legal battles they are up against; a lot of it has to do with having the compassion to meet clients where they are to really understand their needs. There are so many examples where clients are in similar situations to this, yet there just isn’t much an attorney can do.
VLM: What is your passion outside of law?
AL: This is a good question. The thing is, I have many passions. I remember a time when I was in my early 20s that I got upset that all my friends had a “thing” they were passionate about and I didn’t, but my best friend told me that my “thing” is “things”. Her statement really opened my eyes in that I have many passions and dive deeply into all of them. I’m passionate about my beliefs, learning, being in nature, and my pets. I have two cats and a dog. They are my world. Being so busy all the time can be isolating and exhausting, but they keep me grounded. I have had my oldest cat (fourteen years old) since he was so little, his eyes were not even open. Meanwhile, I got my pup in the middle of Covid, which is why I named him Keshet; Keshet means rainbow in Hebrew. He was my quarantine rainbow. Being able to go home and take my dog on a walk or to the park is literally a breath of fresh air; it’s refreshing after being in an office all day.
Throughout law school and bar study, weightlifting and meditation were huge passions of mine that I made sure to do both at least five times a week. I also love hiking and camping, which I would go hiking at least once a month and camping maybe once a season. That all changed about four years ago when my mom passed away. My mom used to be my biggest cheerleader and best friend, so when she passed away, I threw myself even more into my work and neglected my passions. In the last year, I’ve started rediscovering myself and what I’m passionate about.
Right now, I have a morning ritual where I spend some time with my dog, drink hot lemon water, and watch the news. After that, I go to my plants I’ve started recently growing. It’s a little exciting to watch their growth when I go to water them each day. Gardening has been such a nice reprieve. I started gardening just last October when I purchased some bonsai seeds. Only one bonsai lived through the winter, a delonix regia (flame tree). For bonsais, you can’t start wiring them and changing their shape until they are about two years old. This one is still less than a year, but it feels incredible creating life out of just a seed and nurturing it to its potential. There are also some flowers I planted, including sunflowers in my backyard. I’m not sure if the flowers will make it through winter yet since I just recently planted them, but it’s still exciting to see how big they are getting.
Now that it’s summer it’s time for boating! I love all things boating, watersports, picnics on the beach, swimming, etc. I grew up in Sacramento and most of my dad’s family are in Tahoe, so I basically grew up on the lake. My grandpa has always been very physically active and encouraged us to go out and try watersports until we got the hang of it. When I go to visit him, we usually go hiking, snowboarding, or out on the boat in the summer. It’s so much fun.
VLM: Finally…what do you love most about Vegas?
AL: The food! I’m a big foodie. Cooking is another passion I forgot to mention but being able to go out and taste someone else’s creation is such a delight. Getting to try something new, whether it is a new type of food, or a new combination of ingredients is so enjoyable. There’s so much creativity out there and Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world to explore. Sometimes when I try something new in a restaurant, I will try to replicate it at home. It may not always be as good as the restaurant’s version, but it’s just another opportunity to learn and grow my culinary skills.
Most importantly, I love the community. I’ve been in Las Vegas for eight years now, and I have found a home in the community here. Most everyone I’ve met is so supportive and friendly. It’s so easy to feel the community spirit here. The community is the reason why I plan to stay in Las Vegas for a very long time. Since I’ve been here, this community has gained multiple sports teams and has gone through a tragedy. Both experiences really exemplifies the strength and union of this community, which cannot be beat.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident or has been arrested, Amanda can be reached at (702) 329-LAUB (5282) or email@example.com.