A Nevada bankruptcy judge was found dead Monday at a federal court building in downtown Las Vegas, officials said.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurel Babero was appointed in 2013 as Laurel Davis. She and her husband, local attorney Andras Babero, married in New York City on April 8.
“Judge Babero was a friend and respected colleague who took her work seriously and was a joy to be around,” Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro and Chief Bankruptcy Judge Bruce Beesley said in a joint statement Monday. “We are grateful for her public service and she will be dearly missed by the Court family.”
The cause and manner of her death have not been determined, according to the Clark County coroner’s office. She was 62.
Before taking the bench, Babero practiced law for 26 years in Nevada and Arizona.
Benchmark Litigation, a publication that covers American law firms and attorneys, recognized her as a “rising star” in 2012 and named her one of the country’s top 250 women in litigation in 2012 and 2013, according to the bankruptcy court’s website.
She was a native of Utah and received her bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from UNLV. She graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1987.
In September, she approved a motion to shutter the Lucky Dragon hotel and clear a way for its foreclosure sale.
Local attorney Ryan Andersen told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the bankruptcy community was shocked and saddened to hear of her death.
“It was a tough day,” said Andersen, who appeared before Babero for well over a dozen cases in his career. “When she was on the bench, she listened to everyone’s position. Even if you knew you weren’t going to win, you knew you were at least going to get a fair shake with her.”
Andersen said Babero had a happy demeanor and was always thoughtful with counsel.
“Even in the cases that weren’t high-profile, you had the same attention to detail,” Andersen said. “It was clear that every case was important to her.”
A call to Babero’s chambers was not answered Monday.