Micaela Moore, Bethany Rudd Sanchez and Claudia Aguayo already had at least two things in common: working for the City of North Las Vegas and being mothers to young children. Now they can bond over being on Nevada Business Magazine’s 2017 Legal Elite list.
The list’s categories include Southern Nevada attorneys; Northern Nevada attorneys; best up-and-coming attorneys; and government attorneys, which is what North Las Vegas falls under. Moore, Sanchez, Aguayo and Jose Valenzuela — who also was honored — were four of the 27 people selected in this category. North Las Vegas had the most recipients from a single office on the list, City Attorney Moore said.
“Its really nice to be recognized, but also I think it’s extra special to be recognized by your peers,” said Sanchez, the city’s chief deputy city attorney.
Sanchez has been practicing law in Nevada for 12 years and working for the city for 11. Her focus for the city’s civil division is transactional affairs, including real estate, development, zoning, planning and licensing. The northwest Indiana native attended the University of Chicago, then law school at Valparaiso University in Indiana before moving to Las Vegas for work.
This is her fifth time being honored as one of the state’s top lawyers.
“We’ve tackled some really big issues in our office,” Sanchez said. “Even though we sometimes work in the shadows, I think other lawyers understand that a lot of the good things that have happened in North Las Vegas are at least in part a result of the hard work of all our team.”
Those accomplishments include a large amount of economic development and redevelopment through projects such as Lake Mead Village West being built and Apex Industrial Park coming to the city. The team of about 20 employees also has developed infrastructure by adding trails, flood control and sewer facilities, and water lines, which open more development and business opportunities for the city, Sanchez said.
One of the newest members of the team is Moore, who graduated from Southwestern Law School, worked in private practice in Los Angeles and joined the North Las Vegas team this year to become the city attorney. She has been practicing law for 12 years in Nevada and has been selected for the Legal Elite list seven times.
“It’s cool to be able to transition here and to be recognized still,” she said.
It is Aguayo’s first time being honored as a top attorney by Nevada Business Magazine. The Las Vegas native attended the University of California, Davis, School of Law and worked as a deputy district attorney for Sacramento County. She has been practicing law for 14 years.
Aguayo has been working for North Las Vegas since, moving up to become the senior deputy city attorney.
The attorneys said that teamwork and developing positive relationships are why they believe they were recognized.
“That’s part of why we’re able to be successful, is because we all work together — because we want to achieve the best we can for the residents.”
HOW SELECTION WORKS
Since June 2008, attorneys have selected peers whom they think should be honored as top attorneys — which includes only the top 4 percent. This year, 6,400 nominations were collected throughout the state, according to the Nevada Business Magazine’s website. There were 8,916 active member attorneys for 2016, although 267 new licensees have been added, according to the State Bar of Nevada’s Annual Report.
For a list of all the honorees, visit nevadabusiness.com.