NNWLA Lawyer in the Library Night: May 8, 2019
Join NNWLA for our annual Lawyer in the Library Night as we answer legal questions from the local community! The event will run from 5:30 p.m. to approximately 7:30 p.m. Volunteers and community members are organized by practice area, so do not worry about being paired with someone who has a question in an area of law that is completely outside your expertise. Each year we have been able to serve over 60 individuals, which would not have been possible without the support of our members. The earlier you volunteer, the more people the law library can add on their list to participate. Let’s make this the best year yet!
Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer for this event. When you volunteer, please indicate what your practice area is or what areas you are comfortable assisting individuals.
Member Spotlight: Kendra Bertschy
Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association’s Vice President Kendra G. Bertschy is a Felony Criminal Deputy Public Defender with the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office. Kendra has been practicing in Northern Nevada since 2013, as a law clerk, and as a Child Advocate for Washoe Legal Services, before her current position as a Deputy Public Defender.
In Kendra’s normal role as a Deputy Public Defender, she represents indigent community members accused of a crime. Kendra and her office practice holistic defense. Holistic defense focuses on the whole person. Thus, she is defending, preserving and protecting an individual’s rights against their charges while also focusing on whether addiction, mental health issues or poverty contributed to their criminal acts. The holistic approach leads to a reduction of recidivism and hopefully puts Kendra’s clients on the path to being productive members of society. While that is the role Kendra has been used to, over the last few months she has stepped into a completely new setting.
Currently, Kendra serves as a lobbyist at the Nevada legislature representing the Washoe County Public Defender’s Office. The lobbyist position is a special assignment in her office to address the many issues that affect the criminal justice system. After an internal selection process, Kendra was selected to represent her office.
As a lobbyist, Kendra’s role is to work with legislators on issues pertaining to the criminal justice system. She aims to provide a voice to those who normally do not have access to the legislative process. In this position, Kendra has been working to ensure that all viewpoints are considered when creating legislation that will have a direct impact on our community. She works with legislators to create community resources with an eye towards ensuring people never enter the criminal justice system in the first place.
Kendra has found that although she enjoys working as a Deputy Public Defender, she would be happy if our society was able find solutions that would reduce crime to a point where her job is no longer necessary. That has been her focus this legislative session, and Kendra has enjoyed developing a working knowledge of what really goes on during the legislative bill making process. Kendra believes that in order to be an effective advocate she has to have a firm grasp on the law. In order to interpret and explain the law, it is important to understand the intent behind the law and how it was crafted, and ultimately that resulted in Kendra accepting this position.
As a first-time lobbyist, Kendra has found this to be an exciting year to be involved because Nevada has the first ever majority women legislature. It has been humbling for her to be surrounded by so many influential and experienced women. Kendra has enjoyed having the opportunity to analyze and interpret important legal issues with some of the most talented advocates from across Nevada.
Kendra notes that some of the important issues this year include equal pay, mental health and substance abuse treatment, voting rights, education, and gun regulation. Most pertinent to Kendra has been the bills that have a potential impact on the criminal justice system. This includes every bill that has a criminal penalty, impacts criminal law, dependency laws, juvenile justice laws, civil involuntary commitment, evidentiary privileges, prisoner reentry, and trial practice. Specifically, Kendra is focusing on criminal justice reform bills.
In evaluating her time thus far as a lobbyist, Kendra notes that there is really no way to describe what it is like or how to prepare to be a lobbyist. She indicated that all of those involved devote a lot of time and energy into their work. Some days everyone is at the legislative building from sunrise to sunset. Kendra is very impressed with the atmosphere of respect and collaboration that is paramount to this process. Throughout this session, she has had the privilege to work on legislation with individuals having different perspectives, and parties who may normally be considered adversaries in court proceedings, but in this setting, she has noticed everyone working together with the common goal of crafting legislation that works towards solutions. Kendra notes that “Even if in the end we end up having opposing viewpoints, we are all working towards the same goal of trying to create legislation that will make our community and state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.”
Legislative Wrap Up Luncheon: June 11, 2019
Please join NNWLA for a legislative wrap up luncheon on June 11, 2019 at the UNR Innevation Center, located at 450 Sinclair Street, Reno NV 89501. Jodi Stephens, Senior Policy Advisor at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, and Kendra Bertschy, Washoe County Public Defender and first-time lobbyist, will discuss the bills passed during the 2019 legislative session and the impact they will have on our community.
We will be serving lunch starting at 11:45 a.m., so please feel free to arrive early to ensure that we can start promptly at noon. The cost of the event is $20 for members, $25 for non-members, and $40 for a member plus one guest. Please RSVP here.
Article of the Month
American women of working age are the most educated ever. Yet, it’s the most educated women who face the biggest gender gaps in seniority and pay. At the top of their fields, women represent just 5 percent of big company chief executives and a quarter of the top 10 percent of earners in the United States. There are many causes of the gap, like discrimination and a lack of family-friendly policies. But recently, mounting evidence has led economists and sociologists to converge on a major driver — one that ostensibly has nothing to do with gender. Claire Cain Miller explores how America’s obsession with long hours has widened the gender gap. Read her New York Times article here.
Congratulations to Member Tamatha Schreinert
Governor Steve Sisolak appointed Tamatha Schreinert of Reno to the Second Judicial District Court, Department 14. Schreinert is a partner at Silverman Kattelman Springgate, Chtd., where she practices family law, including divorce, custody, paternity, and guardianship.
Schreinert was admitted to the Nevada Bar in 2007 and to the California Bar in 1998. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA and her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, MA.
WASHOE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY seeks full-time Deputy District Attorneys in Criminal Division. Ideal candidate will have courtroom experience, strong writing skills, and excellent references. Please submit cover letter, resume, and references to Lori Fralick at LFralick@da.washoecounty.us by June 7th, 2019.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada seeks a Legal Director to lead its litigation and legal advocacy programs. Please see here for more information.