Substance Abuse CLE: November 20, 2019
NNWLA will be hosting a Substance Abuse CLE on November 20, 2019 at the UNR Innevation Center, 450 Sinclair Street, with a presentation by Carol Schaye, a registered nurse and licensed drug and alcohol counselor.
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 will be $25 for members and $30 for non-members. Please register your attendance here.
Member Spotlight: Kristine Kuzemka
Kristine Kuzemka is a Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge and a Private Mediator with Advanced Resolution Management in Las Vegas, with a focus on Business/Commercial, Real Estate, Product Liability, and Personal Injury matters. Prior to entering the private sector, Ms. Kuzemka litigated complex civil matters on behalf of Nevada consumers as a Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Ms. Kuzemka is the Director of the Nevada Lawyers Assistance Program (NLAP) with the State Bar of Nevada, and a member of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers. She has been involved in the recovery field for more than 30 years with a commitment to helping judges, attorneys and other legal professionals. Ms. Kuzemka received her JD from Seattle University, where she also served as an Article Editor for the Seattle Journal for Social Justice. She received her BA from the University of Washington.
Ms. Kuzemka recently became a member of Northern Nevada Women Lawyers, and we were excited for the opportunity to discuss with Ms. Kuzemka her experiences in the legal profession and the efforts she has made to support other attorneys.
Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge
Ms. Kuzemka became interested in mediations and joined Advanced Resolution Management to conduct private mediations. Later Ms. Kuzemka took on the role of a Nevada Supreme Court Settlement Judge. Ms. Kuzemka has acted in this role for three years, and through this position Ms. Kuzemka has experienced a wide array of disputes where the parties will meet with her as the Settlement Judge. Ms. Kuzemka enjoys this opportunity and appreciates being able to resolve matters in a quicker manner than might otherwise occur.
Nevada Lawyers Assistance Program
Ms. Kuzemka became involved in the Nevada Lawyer Assistance Program (NLAP) through her own 35 years of recovery. Ms. Kuzemka indicated NLAP was created by the State Bar of Nevada in 2013 to formalize the clinical services available to attorneys suffering from abuse, addiction and/or mental health issues which may impair professional competence.
NLAP is confidential and headed by a treatment facility staffed with medical personnel who are separate from the State Bar. An attorney or judge may self-refer to the program or may be referred to the program in the event the Office of Bar Counsel is involved. The State Bar’s Character and Fitness Division may also refer new attorneys to NLAP who had issues prior to taking the Nevada Bar Exam.
Through NLAP, all Nevada lawyers and judges can obtain the benefit of therapy. The program will provide the name of therapists, and the first three sessions are free to the attorney or judge seeking treatment. Confidentiality is maintained by sending an invoice to the State Bar that only includes a client number, and there is no diagnosis on the invoice. As a result, no one is able to see what a what a client may have been seen for. Ms. Kuzemka finds this to be important, because stigma tends to be a barrier to lawyers and judges getting assistance. Ms. Kuzemka and NLAP are working to minimize the stigma surrounding addiction or mental health issues as much as possible. She explained this program is helpful to lawyers not comfortable using programs at their firm for fear of confidentiality being breached. Ms. Kuzemka and NLAP have a goal of eliminating any fear lawyers may have for the steps into recovery.
In sum, there are three ways in which lawyers may obtain the services from NLAP. First, lawyers may self-report to NLAP voluntarily, to obtain an assessment done at no cost. Second, lawyers may be referred by the State Bar’s Office of Bar Counsel for assessment, referral for treatment, and ongoing monitoring and support. Third, through character and fitness by those applying for the bar, there may be a requirement to obtain services from NLAP, including random drug tests or assessment, making sure applicants are fit to practice law.
Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers
Ms. Kuzemka is also actively involved in Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers (LCL). Any lawyer in need of confidential assistance with alcohol, drug, gambling problems, depression and stress may obtain the help from LCL. The purpose of LCL is to prevent a ruined career or reputation by providing help before the damage is done. Ms. Kuzemka describes LCL as peer support from other attorneys and judges in recovery. Attorneys or judges in recovery will reach out to struggling colleagues and offer assistance. LCL is unlike NLAP, which Ms. Kuzemka described as more clinical than LCL.
Ms. Kuzemka continues to run meetings and conduct CLE programs on the topic of substance abuse. Her mission, along with the State Bar, is to assist lawyers at being the best they can be, and protect the public. Ms. Kuzemka also participates in new drop in meetings in the south for lawyer support. These new meetings don not directly address the topic of addiction, but are a place for attorneys to support one another and discuss ideas. Ms. Kuzemka indicated the state bar and herself hope to have these meetings in the north in the future.
As we head into our substance abuse CLE this November, we greatly appreciate the information Ms. Kuzemka was able to provide.
Save the Date: December 14, 2019 for our Annual Shopping Event with Veterans Memorial Elementary School
Please save the date for our Annual Shopping Event. The event is a wonderful opportunity to provide underprivileged children attending Veterans Memorial Elementary School with warm clothes and presents for the holidays.
Each $100.00 we raise allows us to shop for an additional child. In previous years we have been able to shop for 50 or more children. Please donate here and help us achieve our goal!
We also hope you will consider joining us that morning as a volunteer shopper. Our volunteers are paired with a Veterans Memorial Elementary student and help the child pick out their warm clothes. Most volunteer shoppers are finished in about one hour. Every year we receive heartwarming feedback from our volunteers about how much they enjoyed their experience. Please email us at email@example.com if you are able to volunteer.
Save the Date: December 17, 2019 for the Annual NNWLA Holiday Party
Please join us on Tuesday, December 17th at 5:30 p.m. for our annual NNWLA Holiday Party. Judge Lynne Simons has graciously opened her wonderful home to us again this year. Come celebrate the holidays and the upcoming New Year with us as we welcome the new 2020 NNWLA Board Members. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 10th. After we receive your RSVP, we will reply with the party address. We look forward to seeing you!
2020 Membership Renewal
As 2019 comes to an end, please take a moment to renew your NNWLA membership for 2020. Dues will remain at last year’s levels. In particular, NNWLA would like to encourage our members to consider renewing their membership at the Sustaining Member level. We greatly appreciate the generous support our Sustaining Members provide and we thank all of the sustaining members in our January publication each year. Please click on this link to be directed to our membership page or print the attached form by clicking on this link. The form is also located below. You can email the form to email@example.com or mail it to Jenna Garcia, P.O. Box 40953, Reno, NV 89504.
New to NNWLA? Become a 2019 member now and your dues will include a 2019 and 2020 membership!
VARN is hiring! Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevadans (VARN), a nonprofit law firm in Carson City, is seeking a Staff Attorney to represent victims of domestic violence in family law matters. Prior family law or general civil law experience preferred, but not required. Travel required. Medical benefits. EOE. Full job description.
VARN is also seeking an Immigration Staff Attorney to represent immigrant victims of domestic violence in both immigration and family law matters. Prior immigration experience required. Prior family law or general civil law experience preferred, but not required. Travel required. Medical benefits. EOE. Full job description.
Open Application for Nevada District Court Vacancy
If you are interested in being considered for the current vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada in the Bruce R. Thompson Federal Courthouse in Reno, Nevada, please send your current CV, the application found here, and supporting materials to Judiciary@cortezmasto.senate.gov and Judiciary@rosen.senate.gov by November 8, 2019.