Reno attorney Joey Gilbert is being recruited to be the Douglas County School District’s new legal counsel.
During a special meeting scheduled 10 a.m. Wednesday at Douglas High School Media Center, Trustees will consider terminating the contract with Maupin, Cox & LeGoy Law Firm, the district’s current legal counsel. The agenda includes discussion and possible action whether to hire Joey Gilbert Law Firm as the district’s legal counsel.
According to joeygilbert.com, Joey Gilbert Law is a firm in Reno specializing in criminal defense, personal injury, family law, immigration law, estate planning and business law. Gilbert graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he was a collegiate fighter and earned his law degree from Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego, with a focus on criminal and civil trial practice and specific areas of sports and entertainment law.
The proposal to seek new legal counsel was brought forward by Susan Jansen during the June 13 School Board meeting after expressing a lack of trust in Maupin, Cox & LeGoy Law Firm, regarding open meeting laws, FOIA requests, and guidance on making motions.
Attorney Rick Hsu presented the history and relationship with the Douglas County School District during the meeting.
“We have a reputation of being a school and education law firm and have had the distinction of representing every school district in the state at one point in time during our history,” said Hsu.
The firm has represented school districts since 1980 and the Douglas County School District since 1995. During that time, the firm has represented the district in employee terminations, labor disputes, and miscellaneous litigations, such as the sale of Kingsbury Middle School and the realignment of DHS Football within NIAA, in addition to various matters.
Hsu pointed out that under the Nevada Role of Professional Conduct, the client represented was the school district.
“The authorized constituents depend on the situation or circumstances, but generally the law firms deal with the superintendent because he is considered the CEO of the organization and deals with the day-to-day operation of DCSD,” he said.
The firm also works with the delegates of the superintendent, including Human Resources and Special Education, as well as the Board of Trustees and individual members if the circumstance calls for it.
Hsu highlighted the requirements to represent school districts include familiarity with complex federal and state laws, special education laws, IDEA, Section 504, ADA, Family Educational Rights Privacy Act, Title 9, Chapters 386-393, Open Meeting Law, Public Records Act, ethics laws, Local Government Employee Management Reactions Act and more.
“The lawyers deal with risk management and avoidance and how not to expend public resources unduly in cases that involve potential liability and extraordinary expenses in dealing with matters that come across the district,” he said.
Hsu said the firm discounts the price of service for the Douglas County School district out of loyalty, but if their contract is terminated and they reapply to represent the district, that price would change.
If the contract is terminated, legal counsel Carolyn Renner, also of Maupin, Cox & LeGoy Law Firm, stated that the firm would have to consider whether they would submit an RFP to reapply with the district, but if the contract is not terminated, there could be modifications added to it instead.
“Education is a specialized area of law, and the new legal counsel would have a learning curve and will most likely ask for a higher billing rate,” said Hsu. “Sitting through five plus hour meetings, which they are going to bill for and with respect to potential lawsuits here, there is a lot of litigation and research required and there is no doubt that new legal counsel will cost more.”
The Board of Trustees will consider the current contract of legal service with Maupin, Cox & LeGoy and discuss and take possible action on whether to terminate the contract and move forward with considering other potential legal counsel during the June 19 meeting.
Gilbert ran for governor in 2022, but was defeated by Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who went on to win the state house.