A chief attorney for the Nevada State Bar and a private practice attorney will square off for the newly created District Court Department 32 judgeship.

Rob Bare, legal counsel for the Nevada State Bar for the past 17 years, will face Ellen Stoebling, a civil attorney specializing in bankruptcy and personal injury law in Las Vegas over the past 23 years.

The judgeship is one of seven new positions created by a legislative directive to focus on civil cases, which have overwhelmed Clark County’s justice system in recent years.

Bare said his experience with the State Bar has exposed him to all aspects of the law. He said that in 17 years he has prosecuted 180 formal disciplinary hearings and almost 700 informal hearings.

He has also presented to the Nevada Supreme Court 15 times, he said.

“If somebody files a complaint against a lawyer that practices in civil, family, bankruptcy or criminal law, I have to be very well-versed in that area,” he said. “I’ve dealt with civil law concepts and have dissected cases to put a prosecution together hundreds of times, and I’m very comfortable with all aspects of civil practice.”

Stoebling said she has practiced only civil law, but that she has been in the “real world,” where Bare has not.

“He’s at the State Bar, and has not had clients or practiced to the extent I have in the federal courts, state courts, bankruptcy courts,” she said. “I think experience should count for something, and I think mine far outweighs my opponent.”

Bare said that after graduating from law school in 1988 he turned down a position at a big law firm in Pittsburgh, instead enlisting in the U.S. Army, where he served four years as a criminal lawyer with the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.

“There’s nothing more formal than a military court proceeding,” he said.

He also was appointed to preside over Las Vegas Municipal Court Department 6 for six months in 2007, taking leave from the State Bar.

“I gained solid judicial experience and left knowing it was just a matter of time before I wanted to change my professional career and devote it to the judiciary for the next 20 to 25 years,” he said.

As the only candidate with full-time experience running a courtroom, Bare said his qualifications exceed those of his opponent, whose private practice advertisements focus solely on bankruptcy law.

“I don’t think that’s what this judgeship is about,” he said.

Since 2007, Stoebling has been a part-time small claims court referee. She also claims an impeccable reputation for being fair and dependable to her clients.

“If I say I’m going to do it, I’ll do it correctly without problems,” she said.

Bare said that in his six months running a courtroom, those who appeared before him left court understanding why he made his decisions.

No matter how small a case, every person in his court was treated with importance, he said.

“I didn’t want people leaving court with mystery,” he said. “It might be the most important thing they’ve dealt with in their life, and you have to respect that.”

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283.

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