3 candidates enter ring for Family Court Department T

The incumbent in Department T is facing challenges from a former Family Court judge and a frequent Family Court candidate.

Gayle Nathan argued that she has the greatest amount of Family Court experience. But opponent Maria Maskall said, “It’s unfortunate that her Family Court experience has not translated well into her position on the bench.”

Maskall, a Las Vegas attorney who has lost three prior Family Court races, was referring to Nathan’s scores on the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s 2013 Judicial Performance Evaluation.

Of the lawyers who responded to the poll, 48 percent said Nathan should be retained, down from 59 percent in 2011.

Las Vegas attorney Lisa Brown, a former Family Court judge, also is running.

“Everything that I do is centered on protecting children and helping families,” said Brown, a former foster parent who adopted two boys. “I do that professionally and personally, and it’s what I’ve dedicated my life to for the past 25 years.

Brown was elected in Department J in 2000 and ran again in 2002 for a full six-year term. In the Review-Journal’s 2006 Judicial Performance Evaluation, lawyers rated Brown the worst judge. Only 29 percent said she should be retained.

Nathan said she practiced family law for 17 years and also has a master’s degree in special education. “That knowledge of child development is very helpful in the custody cases that come before me.”

Nathan contrasted her retention score on the 2013 performance evaluation with her rating summary scores, which showed 67 percent of the responding lawyers considered her “adequate” or “more than adequate” on the survey’s substantive questions.

She received her law degree in 1988 from Touro Law School in New York and has been licensed to practice law in Nevada since 1993.

Brown received her law degree in 1989 from Villanova University in Pennsylvania. She became licensed in Nevada in 1991 and began focusing on family law the following year. She has been working as a court-appointed attorney for parents whose children were removed from their care because of abuse or neglect.

Maskall graduated from California Western School of Law in 1990. She practiced telecommunications and criminal law in Washington, D.C., before moving to Nevada in 1997 and focused on family law.

Maskall said Department T needs a judge with a good temperament who also knows the law and civil procedure.

The top two vote-getters in the nonpartisan race will advance to the general election.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow her on Twitter: @CarriGeer.

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