Laura Thalacker

Laura Thalacker has been practicing employment law in Nevada for over 21 years.  Prior to founding Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. with her longtime friend and colleague, Doreen Spears Hartwell, Laura worked for over 17 years at Nevada’s then-largest law firm, where she was a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department.   Laura focuses on representing employers in Nevada, throughout the U.S., and worldwide in employment law and litigation matters.

For two consecutive years, Laura has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® as a Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year.”  In the 2016 edition of Best Lawyers®, Laura was named as the “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation-Labor and Employment.  In 2015, she received the Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” award for Employment Law-Management.  Mountain States Super Lawyers® also recognized Laura as one of its “Top 50 Women Attorneys” in 2013, and she is rated AV-Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell.®

In additional to her credentials as a respected lawyer, Laura has been certified by the Society for Human Resources Management and Human Resources Certification Institute as a SHRM-Certified Senior Professional (SHRM-CSP) and as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), respectively.  Using her unique combination of practical human resources experience and in-depth legal knowledge, Laura takes a pro-active, preventative and strategic approach to employment issues.  She helps clients comply with a myriad of complex, and sometimes contradictory, federal and state employment and labor laws.  Laura takes great pride in her accessible and down-to-earth approach with clients, which is characterized by her ability to explain complex legal issues in practical and understandable terms and to listen to clients to understand and achieve their organizational and legal objectives for representation.

In the area of human resources compliance and counseling, Laura advises employers on a wide array of workplace issues including discipline and termination, reductions in force, leaves of absence, prevention of discrimination and harassment, social media use, workplace investigations, wage and hour compliance, drug testing, confidentiality and non-competes. Laura also drafts employee handbooks, policies, and employment contracts. She further provides training to employees, managers and executives on various human resources topics.

In addition to working with employers on legal compliance and litigation prevention, Laura defends employers in employment-related litigation in Nevada state and federal courts. Laura has represented employers in a variety of cases, including claims for discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, violation of leave of absence laws, wage and hour violations, breach of contract, and non-compete and trade secret violations. In her administrative practice, she defends employers before federal and state agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, the United States Department of Labor, and the Office of the Nevada Labor Commissioner.

Laura is a past Chairperson of the State Bar of Nevada’s Labor and Employment Section, and is former Chairperson of the State Bar of Nevada’s Publications Committee.  Laura has been a frequent speaker and writer on a variety of employment law topics for Bar Association, client and community events.  She serves as a Practical Law® contributor for Nevada on the topics of Non-Compete Laws, Background Check Laws, Anti-Discrimination Laws, Hiring Requirements, and Wage and Hour Laws.  In recent years, she has taken a particular interest in the far-reaching legal consequences of employee use of social media inside and outside the workplace (tweeting on the issue @Fired4Facebook).  Laura also provides pro bono legal services for non-profit organizations, including serving as legal counsel for the Nevada Land Trust and the Rape Crisis Center of Southern Nevada.

Education
•B.A. (summa cum laude), Political Science and Women’s Studies, Wartburg College (1991)
•J.D. (with high distinction), University of Iowa College of Law (1994)
•Senior Note & Comment Editor, Iowa Law Review (1993-1994)
•Best Advocate and Best Brief Awards, Iowa Competitive Appellate Advocacy II (1994)
•Chicago Moot Court Team (1994)

Admissions & Certifications
•State Bar of Nevada (1994)
•United States District Court, District of Nevada (1994)
•United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1997)
•Society for Human Resources Management – Senior Certified Professional (SCP)
•Human Resources Certification Institute – Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

Memberships
•Labor and Employment Section, State Bar of Nevada (past Chairperson)
•Litigation Section, State Bar of Nevada
•Labor and Employment Section, American Bar Association
•Society for Human Resources Management
•Southern Nevada Human Resources Association
•Former Regional Vice-Chair (North America), Lex Mundi Global Labor and Employment Practice Group

Select Honors
•2016 Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year” (Litigation-Labor and Employment) – The Best Lawyers in America®
•2015 Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year” (Employment Law-Management) – The Best Lawyers in America®
•”Top 50 Women Lawyers,” Mountain States Super Lawyers® (2013)
•Las Vegas “Top Employment Lawyer-Management,” Vegas, Inc. (2012)
•Ranked by Chambers & Partners in the field of Labor and Employment Law (since 2010)
•The Best Lawyers in America®– Employment Law (Management); Labor Law (Management); and Litigation–Labor and Employment (since 2010)
•“AV-Preeminent,” Martindale-Hubbell®
•Mountain States Super Lawyers® in the categories of “Employment & Labor” and “Employment Litigation: Defense” (since 2012)
•”Top Lawyers,” Desert Companion Magazine (2014)

FIRM DESCRIPTION

About Us

Laura Thalacker and Doreen Spears Hartwell joined together in 2014 to form the employment law and business litigation law firm of Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. after working together for nearly 15 years, first as associates and then as partners, in the litigation department of Nevada’s then-largest law firm.  A strong foundation built on friendship and trust, coupled with more than 35 years of combined legal experience, give Laura and Doreen a solid base from which to serve their clients in Southern Nevada and beyond.

Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. provides high-quality, cost-effective legal services to businesses of all sizes in the practice areas of:

Human Resources Compliance and Strategic Counseling; Employment and Labor Law Litigation; and Business and Commercial Litigation

“We love what we do. You’ll love what we can do for your business.”

As a boutique employment law and business litigation firm, Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. is able to provide its clients with the individualized attention and care their matters deserve.  Laura and Doreen take a hands-on, personal approach to their work, getting to know their clients and understanding the ins and outs of their businesses.  Ask their clients, and you will learn that Laura and Doreen are trusted, invaluable advisors and advocates.  They take a pragmatic, common sense approach to legal representation and work side-by-side with clients to allow them to focus on growing and running their business instead of costly legal matters.

Community Leadership

Laura and Doreen have served in leadership positions in various Bar and community organizations and are well-known and respected in the legal community.  They share a philosophy of fostering a firm culture that values diversity and the unique traits and skills that purpose-driven attorneys possess in providing clients with excellent representation, while also making a difference in their community.  In December 2014, Doreen was named “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” by The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada–a well deserved honor recognizing her for her tireless efforts and advocacy providing free legal services to disadvantaged individuals in the community.

Doreen Hartwell

Doreen Spears Hartwell formed Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. in 2014 with Laura Thalacker, a friend and accomplished attorney with whom she worked for over 14 years at Nevada’s then-largest law firm.  Doreen has practiced in the area of business and commercial litigation in Nevada since 2000. Her litigation practice includes employment law, trade secret, non-compete claims, real estate, trust-probate matters and a wide range of other business-related disputes. Doreen has successfully defended employers in cases involving wrongful termination, breach of contract, discrimination and/or harassment in violation of Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA and state employment statutes. She also has substantial experience in successfully bringing breach of contract, trade secret, non-compete and trust and probate claims on behalf of her clients.

Doreen is listed in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation (Las Vegas)®.  Doreen, who has an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, has been recognized by her peers as one of Nevada’s Legal Elite® every year since 2012.

One of Doreen’s first appearances in court as a new attorney was representing an 18 month old child through the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s (previously known as the Clark County Legal Aid Center) Children’s Attorney Project (“CAP”). This experience, which demonstrated to her the dire need for children to have a voice in the legal system, cemented her commitment to providing pro bono services.  Since taking that first pro bono case in 2000, Doreen has continued to provide pro bono legal services to deserving individuals who otherwise would not have access to our legal system.  It’s her policy to always be working on at least one active pro bono case at all times.  She often exceeds this and, in 2014, she had six active pro bono cases.

Doreen is a member of the Pro Bono Advisory Council for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and was appointed to the Nevada Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission in February 2014.  As one of the founding members of Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd., Doreen remains committed to providing bono legal services to deserving individuals in conjunction with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada (HTTP://WWW.LACSN.ORG/). Doreen has received various awards for her pro bono work, including 2014 “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” Award from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, 2008 Attorney of the Year from the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association, 2008 Bank of America Local Hero Award, 2005 Judge Sally Loehrer Pro Bono Service Award and 2001 Myrna Williams Children’s Pro Bono Award.

Since 2004, Doreen has served as a supervising attorney for the Clark County Law Foundation’s Trial By Peers Program (“TBP”).   TBP is juvenile diversion program run where students prosecute or defend students accused of misdemeanor offenses in the courtroom before actual judges and juries of their peers. TBP is an excellent program that has been around for over 25 years and has served as a model for juvenile diversion programs around the country. 

(HTTP://WWW.CLARKCOUNTYLAWFOUNDATION.ORG/TRIAL-BY-PEERS/).

Doreen is a 2010 graduate of the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Las Vegas program, a past president of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association and the current chair of the LVNBA’s Attorneys in the Schools Program (WWW.LASVEGASNBA.ORG).  In July 2014, Doreen was appointed for a three year term as a lawyer representative for the Nevada United States District Court.

Doreen, who is originally from Connecticut, attended Fairfield University where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish.  Upon graduation from Fairfield, Doreen backpacked through Europe for the summer before relocating to Sacramento, California.  In 1990, Doreen began working in the advertising department at the Sacramento Bee Newspaper where she made life-long friends and developed a love for giving back to the community.

In 1997, Doreen decided to attend McGeorge School of Law where she studied, among other things, business law and employment and labor law.  While at McGeorge, Doreen was the President of the Black Law Students Association and tutored first year law students in Real Property, Civil Procedure and Contracts. In 1999, she had the opportunity to take a course in Salzburg, Austria with United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy comparing the protections granted by the First Amendment with the free speech provisions contained in the European Union.  In May 2000, Doreen obtained her J.D. from McGeorge with honors and moved to Las Vegas to begin her distinguished legal career.Nevada’s then-largest law firm

FIRM DESCRIPTION

About Us

Laura Thalacker and Doreen Spears Hartwell joined together in 2014 to form the employment law and business litigation law firm of Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. after working together for nearly 15 years, first as associates and then as partners, in the litigation department of Nevada’s then-largest law firm.  A strong foundation built on friendship and trust, coupled with more than 35 years of combined legal experience, give Laura and Doreen a solid base from which to serve their clients in Southern Nevada and beyond.

Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. provides high-quality, cost-effective legal services to businesses of all sizes in the practice areas of:

Human Resources Compliance and Strategic Counseling; Employment and Labor Law Litigation; and Business and Commercial Litigation

“We love what we do. You’ll love what we can do for your business.”

As a boutique employment law and business litigation firm, Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. is able to provide its clients with the individualized attention and care their matters deserve.  Laura and Doreen take a hands-on, personal approach to their work, getting to know their clients and understanding the ins and outs of their businesses.  Ask their clients, and you will learn that Laura and Doreen are trusted, invaluable advisors and advocates.  They take a pragmatic, common sense approach to legal representation and work side-by-side with clients to allow them to focus on growing and running their business instead of costly legal matters.

Community Leadership

Laura and Doreen have served in leadership positions in various Bar and community organizations and are well-known and respected in the legal community.  They share a philosophy of fostering a firm culture that values diversity and the unique traits and skills that purpose-driven attorneys possess in providing clients with excellent representation, while also making a difference in their community.  In December 2014, Doreen was named “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” by The Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada–a well deserved honor recognizing her for her tireless efforts and advocacy providing free legal services to disadvantaged individuals in the community.

Alan D. Freer

Alan D. Freer is a member of the Las Vegas law firm of Solomon Dwiggins & Freer, where he focuses his practice primarily on trust and estate litigation. Mr. Freer also handles all aspects of trust and estate administration, and routinely represents beneficiaries and fiduciaries in contested matters. He has substantial experience in challenging and defending the validity of estate planning documents, including wills, codicils, trusts and amendments. Mr. Freer also routinely prosecutes and defends claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, undue influence, breach of trust, accounting, fiduciary removal, competency, lack of capacity, unjust enrichment, closely held business disputes and elder abuse.

Mr. Freer’s litigation experience covers all aspects of contested matters from pre-litigation case assessment and dispute negotiation, to all stages of litigation, including motion practice, discovery, hearings, depositions, evidentiary hearings, trial practice, mediations and settlement conferences. Mr. Freer also engages in appellate practice in the areas of estates, trusts, guardianships and business litigation, having successfully prosecuted and defended appeals and writs before the Nevada Supreme Court.

Mr. Freer is a member of the State Bar of Nevada and serves on the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, where he recently finished serving a two year term as committee chair. Additionally, Mr. Freer presently serves as a Co-Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Probate and Trust Section of the Nevada State Bar. Mr. Freer is also a member of the Clark County Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the State of Nevada and United States District Court for the District of Nevada.

Solomon Dwiggins & Freer:

Located in Las Vegas, Solomon Dwiggins & Freer is an established law firm that is dedicated to representing clients throughout Nevada in estate and trust matters. We handle a wide range of legal issues involving trust and estate litigation, trust and estate administration (probate), estate planning, asset protection, business litigation and tax disputes.

Our firm is led by an experienced legal team, which is composed of estate and trust litigators, estate planning attorneys and tax attorneys. We have represented a wide range of clients and have handled some of the most complex estate and trust cases in the state of Nevada. Solomon Dwiggins & Freer, Ltd. is a trusted resource for effective legal counsel.

The lawyers at our firm have extensive litigation experience, making them uniquely qualified to handle matters involving asset and wealth protection. We understand how to utilize estate and tax planning to fully protect our clients’ interests and how to create a legal strategy that is likely to avoid the possibility of litigation in the future. We are a premier resource for legal guidance in the area of asset protection.

Scott M. Abbott

Kamer Zucker Abbott’s managing partner, Scott Abbott, has spent the majority of his legal career exclusively representing employers in all facets of labor and employment law. Prior to becoming an attorney, Scott worked as a human resources professional which allowed him to learn firsthand the issues which confront employers on a daily basis with respect to their employees. That experience has been enormously helpful in his practice to assist clients in achieving their human resources objectives in compliance with applicable laws.

Scott’s current practice involves advising employers on a multitude of employment issues, ranging from hiring criteria to discipline and discharge decisions. He also works with employers on preventive strategies including employee training and the development of internal policies and procedures. Because of the rise of employment-related litigation in recent years, a considerable portion of Scott’s practice also involves defending employers against claims of discrimination and other unlawful treatment before the state and federal courts and administrative agencies such as the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Nevada Labor Commissioner, and the Nevada State Employee-Management Relations Board. Scott is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer who has secured important victories for clients before the Eighth Judicial District Court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Scott has also been a frequent speaker and author on employment law topics. His publications include: A Psycholegal Perspective: The Lack of Neuropsychological Examination Following Significant Brain Trauma Can Be Costly, Advances in Medical Psychotherapy and Psychodiagnosis, Vol. 11 (2002-2003); The Benefits and Pitfalls of Employee Handbooks, Communique, July 1999; Temps, Contractors and Telecommuters: It’s Time to Face Up to the Legal Risks, Council on Education in Management Personnel Law Update (1996); Happy Birthday, You’re Fired!, Council on Education in Management Personnel Law Update (1995); How Much Can You Say at Work, ABA Human Rights, Vol. 22, No. 2, Spring 1995; Safe Handling of the Volatile Employee, Council on Education in Management Personnel Law Update (1994); To Produce or Not to Produce: The Dilemma Presented by the Production of Employment Records, Nevada Labor Letter (Vol. II, No. 4, April 1994); The New Legal Challenge to Employee Participation, 45 Labor Law Journal 41 (1994); and Focus on Age Discrimination: Reducing the High Risk Stakes, 1 Nevada Lawyer 14 (1993).

Scott is a member of the Defense Research Institute and the Nevada Bar Association. Scott has been listed in Best Lawyers and has been recognized as a leading Nevada labor and employment lawyer by Chambers USA every year since 2005. Most recently in 2017, Chambers stated that clients praise Scott for being “extremely hands-on, extremely dedicated, detailed and meticulous in the pursuit of the issues.” Chambers has previously commented that Scott “is loved by clients for his ‘excellent communication skills and business savvy.’” Scott has received praise for his “ability to be ‘smart and aggressive, while remaining soft-spoken and level headed,’” his “thorough, practical knowledge and personable, thoughtful approach,” and for his “ability to debate without ever offending anybody.” Scott has also been named a Super Lawyer by the Mountain States Super Lawyers magazine each year since 2007. Notably, Best Lawyers recently named Scott the 2018 Lawyer of the Year for Labor and Employment Law Litigation in the State of Nevada.

Having been raised and educated in the Boston area, Scott shook off the last snowflakes by moving to sunny Nevada in 1992, and has never looked back.

Kamer Zucker Abbott:

Nevada’s businesses turn to Kamer Zucker Abbott for its skillful approach to employment and labor law issues. From handling routine inquiries to engaging in strategic decision-making, the firm works to diligently and efficiently achieve each client’s particular objectives. Our clients run the gamut from small family-owned businesses to Fortune 500 corporations.

One of KZA’s core beliefs is that employers are best served through preventive efforts to minimize the potential for legal claims and litigation. Whenever possible, the firm’s attorneys provide information, training and advice to employers to help them address and resolve workplace issues before they escalate into formal, costly disputes. When litigation does occur, KZA defends its clients vigorously, drawing upon the comprehensive knowledge and experience honed over more than a quarter century of successful litigation and appellate practice.

By working directly with clients, the firm’s lawyers are able to pinpoint potential legal issues, gauge their impact on business operations, and offer straightforward, practical strategies and solutions. KZA’s emphasis on clarity allows business professionals to fully understand the extent of potential legal exposure, possible costs and the optimal way to resolve an issue.

Effectively resolving employment and labor law issues often requires decisive and deliberate action. If you are facing a labor or employment issue, please contact us as soon as possible.

Stacy

Asked her biggest challenge to date and Stacy will point to raising three teenage daughters.  Studying for bar exams, orchestrating divorce trials, handling depositions, or arguing with other lawyers pales in comparison to mediating disputes over daughters borrowing shoes or makeup without asking.

Stacy is the founder and managing partner of Right Lawyers in Las Vegas, Nevada. For over a decade Stacy has been one of the top divorce attorneys in the area. Her ability to negotiate disputes and knack for uncovering important issues has been key to her success as a divorce attorney and mother.

Stacy graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Whittier College in 1991. She went on to earn her law degree from the University Of San Diego School Of Law in 1996. Stacy is admitted to practice law in the State of Nevada. She is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Federal District Court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Personal Insights

Married for 22 years and mother of the girls; Jenna, Jordan and Jessica.

What would you do if not a lawyer? Be a park ranger. I love being in nature.

Favorite movie seen recently? The Hunger Games.

A proud moment from your childhood? Winning my 6th grade spelling bee with the word “coincidentally”.

Most Memorable Case?

When I was in law school, I was forced to sue my landlord in San Diego County Court.  He wouldn’t return my deposit.  It was the first time I had been in a real court as a new attorney.   I was fully prepared for every question the judge was going to ask and every answer the landlord was going to say.  I won.   15 years later,  after winning dozens of much bigger cases, it’s still my favorite case.

What Makes You a Good Divorce Attorney?

I am over prepared, maybe to a fault.  Like in the lawsuit involving my landlord in law school,  I prepare for every possible situation or scenario. I want to have thought out every question that can be asked, and every answer  that can be given.