Monday, April 16, 2012

Professor Rachel Anderson Studies Law, Lawmaking and the Legal Profession in Nevada


In the past few years, UNLV Boyd School of Law Professor Rachel Anderson has been researching Nevada law, lawmaking and the legal community.

Her most recent publication, “Timeline of African-American Legal History in Nevada (1861-2011)” in the February issue of the Nevada Lawyer weaves together cases, statutes, events, community activism and the lives of individuals.

The “Timeline” illustrates developments in civil rights and the African-American legal community in Nevada.

“The numbers of African-American attorneys and judges in the state are small. So far, I have documented approximately 150 lawyers and 11 judges over the last 48 years,” Anderson said. “In 2010, African Americans made up 8 percent of Nevada’s population. Currently, African-American attorneys make up approximately 1 percent of the practicing attorneys and 2 percent of the judges in Nevada.”

Anderson applies theories developed by sociologist W.E.B. DuBois to frame her analysis of the relationship between Nevada law and social and economic development.

She is currently writing a law review article on the African-American legal community in Nevada, using the narratives of individuals to explore how laws affect communities, and individuals can contribute to lawmaking and social change.

As part of her work as the Secretary of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association (LVNBA), Anderson was instrumental in creating the LVNBA Archive at the Wiener-Rogers Law Library in 2011.

The archive collects materials about the LVNBA and African-American attorneys in Nevada and is a resource for scholars, students and the general public. The archive houses a unique and growing collection of historically significant oral histories, documents and photographs relating to Nevada legal history.

In addition to her research on Nevada legal history, Anderson also writes in the areas of business and international law. She is currently writing a book review of Bishop and Zucker on Nevada Corporations and Limited Liability Companies and conducting research for an article examining the extent to which lawmaking can influence decision-making in corporate boardrooms.

Anderson’s research is integrated into her activities beyond the walls of the law school. In February 2012, she gave presentations at the law school and at Snell & Wilmer based on her research on the history of the African-American legal community in Nevada. She also moderated a Vegas PBS roundtable on the Early African-American Legal Community in Nevada.

Anderson is a member of the State Bar Law Related Education Consortium and serves as a person-at-large on the Executive Committee of the Business Section of the State Bar of Nevada.

In 2011, she was elected to the office of Vice President of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association.

Anderson will be speaking at the 2012 Nevada Judicial Leadership Summit.

A graduate of Reed High School in Sparks, Anderson returned to Nevada in 2007 after practicing in the London office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

“I’m excited to apply the knowledge and experience I’ve gained to the challenges and opportunities here at home,” she said of returning to Nevada.

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