Many years ago, I elected to
limit my practice to primarily family law. This was a conscious
decision on my part and not one born of necessity. At the
time we narrowed our practice to family law, Gary Silverman
and I enjoyed a thriving general practice. We handled a
diverse assortment of civil matters including personal injury,
medical malpractice, contracts, mechanic's liens, construction
law, collection law, wills, estates, guardianships and the
Family law, however, holds special
appeal and I find it to be the most personally satisfying
area of practice for two reasons. First, I enjoy working
closely with people. It is the one area of law where I may
be a positive influence at one of the most emotionally trying
events in a person's life: The end of a marriage.
A good lawyer will zealously
represent her client's interests without unnecessarily increasing
or engendering animosity. A poor lawyer will mistake aggression
for effective advocacy. Intelligent representation, thorough
understanding of the applicable law and of the facts of
the case, combined with common sense and compassion are
what make a good family lawyer. Those are the qualities
I strive for.
The second reason I chose family
practice is because of the diversity of issues presented.
My cases require of me a broad range of expertise and are
always interesting. In any given case, besides needing a
complete understanding of community property, custody and
support law, I must know accounting and valuation principles,
the law of real property, pensions, liens, notes and security,
tort, contract, collections, conflicts of laws, jurisdiction,
evidence, procedure, discovery and the like. I work with
a variety of professionals such as appraisers, accountants,
physicians, psychologists, and valuators.
I formerly served as Chair of
the State Bar of Nevada Northern Disciplinary Board overseeing
the discipline of attorneys in northern Nevada. I am an
arbitrator in the Court Appointed Arbitration program in
Washoe, Carson and Douglas Counties, hearing many types
of cases, and I previously served as a member of the State
Bar of Nevada Northern Fee Dispute Panel. I am a mediator.
My bar related efforts have focused
on improving the standards of family practice in this state.
For six years, I served on the Executive Council of the
State Bar of Nevada Family Law Section. I served as Course
Director of the Annual Family Law Seminar the section conducts
each spring. Under my tutelage, the seminar grew tremendously
and now enjoys a statewide and national reputation for providing
the highest quality family law education. On a smaller scale,
I have organized and moderated quarterly brown bag lunches
in Washoe County, offering continuing legal education and
interaction between bench and bar, all of which enhances
the services to the public provided by court and counsel.
I write a column for the Washoe
County Bar Association publication, the "Writ,"
educating the local bar as to the recent cases and developments
in family law. I have contributed articles to the State
Bar of Nevada publication, Nevada Lawyer@ and the "Nevada
Family Law Report" and have lectured on family law
issues. I act as mentor to lawyers, new and old, who have
family law questions.
Pro Bono work is a privilege,
not an obligation, so I routinely handle Pro Bono cases.
Volunteer Lawyers honored Silverman, Decaria & Kattelman
as the 1996, 1997 and 2005 firm of the year. I do what I
can to help Volunteer Lawyers, including dispensing legal
advise on "Make a Difference Day" and speaking
at training sessions. I served as President on the Board
of Directors of Volunteer Lawyers of Washoe County.
I served on the Nevada Supreme
Court Bench/Bar Committee and was also a member of the Supreme
Court NRCP 16.2 Committee, which rewrote the rules to conform
to family law. I was a member of the Family Court Rules
Committee and the 1992 and 1996 Child Support Statute Review
Committees. I am a fellow of the International Academy of
Matrimonial Lawyers and a fellow of the American Academy
of Matrimonial Lawyers, where I serve on the editorial board
of the AAML Journal.
I grew up in Ogden, Utah and
attended the University of Utah, where I graduated magna
cum laude with a B.A. in English. I went to law school at
Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington,
graduating cum laude in 1981. I moved to Reno, where I worked
as a law clerk for the Hon. John W. Barrett, a district
court judge in the Second Judicial District Court, Washoe
County, Nevada. Gary Silverman and I have practiced law
together since 1982.