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Wayback Wednesday: Laxalt’s Legal Staff Took Six-Figure Taxpayer-Funded Salaries While Unlicensed in Nevada

Apparently, Laxalt’s “poor judgment” from his private practice didn’t improve when he started his new job as a state employee.

One year ago today, Republican Attorney General Adam Laxalt finally announced that members of his senior legal staff were “legitimately licensed Nevada lawyers” after earning six-figure taxpayer-funded salaries as officials who made legal decisions on behalf of the state while being unlicensed to practice law in Nevada. At a legislative hearing on the budget for Laxalt’s office, lawmakers grilled Laxalt’s staff — because the attorney general himself was at a press conference instead — about why senior members of the Office of the Attorney General had been working for two years without having taken or passed the Nevada bar exam.

 

Las Vegas Sun: Assemblyman wants answers about staff of attorney general

“The chairman of the Assembly Judiciary Committee wants to know why two top members of the staff of Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt are not admitted to practice law in Nevada.

“Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, said taxpayers have a right to know why these high-placed officials can’t practice in Nevada.

“During a committee meeting today, Yeager asked Chief of Staff Nicholas Trutanich if he had passed the Nevada bar examination to allow him to practice before the courts. Trutanich, who came from California, said he had received a two-year exemption allowed in the rules of the Nevada Supreme Court.

“Yeager said that exemption had expired.

“After the hearing, Yeager included Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke as not licensed to practice law in Nevada.

“Trutanich earns $140,662 and VanDyke, who came from Montana, is paid $132,600 a year.”

 

Nevada Appeal: Status of AG lawyers probed by legislators

“Lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the Attorney General’s office over the group of mostly senior legal staff who still haven’t passed the Nevada Bar after up to two years in office.

“Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, himself a lawyer, said he’s troubled by the fact these lawyers, including three top people, who are in positions where they’re guiding and mentoring junior staff.

[…]

“Assistant Attorney General Wes Duncan, who’s licensed in Nevada, told a subcommittee of the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees there are seven lawyers plus Trutanich who haven’t yet been licensed in Nevada — five in senior/supervisory positions.”

 

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Laxalt’s absence, staff bar exams dominate budget hearing for Nevada AG office

“[…]

“During the hearing, Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson, an attorney who formerly worked in the attorney general’s office, wanted details on the seven attorneys who work for the office but have not passed the state bar. A state bar rule allows for limited practice for a two-year period.

“Frierson, D-Las Vegas, said the attorneys, who have salaries ranging from $108,000 to $132,000, are having to rely on other attorneys in the office for supervision, which impacts the agency’s budget.”

 

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