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Attorneys urged to evaluate local judges

More than 500 attorneys in Southern Nevada have completed evaluations of judges in the 2010 Judicial Performance Evaluation, sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. All State Bar of Nevada members, if headquartered in Clark County, are eligible to participate until the completion deadline of March 8.

For various reasons such as addresses that changed after the Review-Journal obtained a mailing list from the Bar, some lawyers have not received letters containing instructions and passwords to access the site for the online evaluation. The Review-Journal has forwarded letters when possible, but attorneys who have not received the letters by now may get one by contacting Downey Research Associates at (702) 461-9571, or, preferably, sending an e-mail request to nancy@downeyresearch.com.

Nancy Downey, the researcher who conducts the survey on behalf of the newspaper, noted during the 2008 survey that a few older attorneys did not use computers, yet wished to participate. She has made arrangements to provide a paper version of the survey, similar to those used for years before the online version became possible. They can get one by calling the above telephone number.

Review-Journal editor Thomas Mitchell established the poll in 1992 to provide voters with meaningful information about which judges to re-elect. The Clark County Bar Association, which co-sponsored the survey for several years, delegated lawyers and recruited judges to devise questions providing the most meaningful performance evaluations for voters and the judges themselves as well. Lawyers rate the judges anonymously.

The most important results are covered in newspaper stories and complete results are published on the Review-Journal Web site. Besides rating the judges “less than adequate,” “adequate,” or “more than adequate” on job-related qualities, the lawyers are invited to add short anonymous comments in essay format. A few of the latter are published, but the newspaper forwards most to the judge about whom they are made, and to nobody else.

Many judges take the comments to heart and try to remedy any negative behavior attributed to them; some take the evaluations into consideration when deciding whether to seek re-election.

Contact A.D. Hopkins at adhopkins@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0270.

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