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.
•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)
•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
•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)
•Mountain States Super Lawyers® in the categories of “Employment & Labor” and “Employment Litigation: Defense” (since 2012)
•”Top Lawyers,” Desert Companion Magazine (2014)
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.
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.