Letter from the President

Kimberly A. Buchanan, Esq. CCBA President 2014

Kimberly A. Buchanan, Esq.
CCBA President 2014

Celebrate Black History Month: Nevada Supreme Court Justice Michael Douglas

By Kimberly Buchanan, Esq.

In 1976, as part of the United States bicentennial, Black History Month was officially recognized by the United States Government and is celebrated in February. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” President Gerald R. Ford’s Message on the Observance of Black History Month. Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum. University of Texas

To this end, I, on behalf of the Clark County Bar Association, would like to recognize the accomplishments of Justice Michael L. Douglas, Nevada’s first African American Supreme Court Justice.

Supreme Court of Nevada Justice Michael L. Douglas in Carson City on July 23, 2008.

Supreme Court of Nevada Justice Michael L. Douglas in Carson City on July 23, 2008.

A native Californian, Justice Douglas had been working in private practice in Philadelphia prior to his moving to Las Vegas in 1982. He began his Nevada career as a legal aid attorney representing low income clients with Nevada Legal Services. Two years later, he accepted a position with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office and served in the Civil Division. In November 1995, he was appointed to the Eighth Judicial District Court. In January 1996, Justice Douglas was sworn in as a District Court Judge and was retained in an election later that year. In March 2004, Justice Douglas was appointed to the Supreme Court of Nevada.

On the District Court, Justice Douglas served as Chief Judge and Business Court Judge, and also served on District Court committees. Justice Douglas currently co-chairs the Supreme Court of Nevada Bench-Bar Committee, the Supreme Court of Nevada Access to Justice Commission, and the Supreme Court of Nevada Specialty Court Funding Committee. Justice Douglas served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada in 2011.

Justice Douglas would like to remind the bar that we have been given a special gift to practice law, which gives us a chance to help those less fortunate. He believes that an attorney’s day job is to be a zealous advocate for his clients. In performing that job, Justice Douglas reminds us to maintain a high level of civility as our practice is a profession. He encourages us, upon conclusion of our day job, to take advantage of opportunities to go the extra mile to help those in need. He explains that the goal to help the less fortunate may be accomplished in variety of forms from talking to groups about the law or taking a pro bono case. He cautions to never sell ourselves short by not using the gift we’ve been given to help the less fortunate or those in need.

Justice Douglas has been a longtime supporter of the Clark County Bar Association and often attends our annual Meet Your Judge’s Mixer. I would urge you to attend our next Meet Your Judge’s Mixer so that you are afforded the chance to meet Justice Douglas and the other esteemed members of the Supreme Court of Nevada.

Lastly, should you wish to become further involved in legal issues faced by African Americans in the Las Vegas area, a specialty bar, the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association may be of interest to you. It should be noted that Justice Douglas is a past President of the LVNBA (1987-1989). The primary focus of the LVNBA is to promote civil rights legal issues, particularly those that are faced by African Americans living in and around Las Vegas. Should you wish to become involved in the LVNBA, please contact Rachel Anderson, President of the LVNBA, P.O. Box. 1236, Las Vegas, NV 89125-1236 or at info@lasvegasnba.org.

Kimberly Buchanan is Senior Deputy Attorney General in the Public Safety Division at the Nevada Office of the Attorney General, representing the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Safety. She serves as President of the Clark County Bar Association through December 2014.

She encourages you to support our non-profit member organization. Inquiries about CCBA can be directed to CCBA Operations Manager Donna Wiessner at (702) 387-6011.