Doreen Spears Hartwell formed Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. in 2014 with Laura Thalacker, a friend and accomplished attorney with whom she worked for over 14 years at Nevada’s largest local law firm. Doreen has practiced in the area of business and commercial litigation in Nevada since 2000. Her litigation practice includes employment law, trade secret, non-compete claims, real estate, trust-probate matters and a wide range of other business-related disputes. Doreen has successfully defended employers in cases involving wrongful termination, breach of contract, discrimination and/or harassment in violation of Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA and state employment statutes. She also has substantial experience in successfully bringing breach of contract, trade secret, non-compete and trust and probate claims on behalf of her clients.
Doreen is listed in the 2016 edition of The Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation (Las Vegas). Doreen, who has an AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell, has been recognized by her peers as one of Nevada’s Legal Elite every year since 2012. In December 2014, Doreen received the “Pro Bono Attorney of the Year” Award from the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
One of Doreen’s first appearances in court as a new attorney was representing an 18 month old child through the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada’s (previously known as the Clark County Legal Aid Center) Children’s Attorney Project (“CAP”). This experience, which demonstrated to her the dire need for children to have a voice in the legal system, cemented her commitment to providing pro bono services. Since taking that first pro bono case in 2000, Doreen has continued to provide pro bono legal services to deserving individuals who otherwise would not have access to our legal system. It’s her policy to always be working on at least one active pro bono case at all times. She often exceeds this and, in 2014, she had six active pro bono cases.
Doreen is a member of the Pro Bono Advisory Council for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and was appointed to the Nevada Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission in February 2014. As one of the founding members of Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd., Doreen remains committed to providing bono legal services to deserving individuals in conjunction with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada (https://www.lacsn.org/). Doreen has received various awards for her pro bono work, including 2008 Attorney of the Year, 2008 Bank of America Local Hero Award, 2005 Judge Sally Loehrer Pro Bono Service Award and 2001 Myrna Williams Children’s Pro Bono Award.
Since 2004, Doreen has served as a supervising attorney for the Clark County Law Foundation’s Trial By Peers Program (“TBP”). TBP is juvenile diversion program run where students prosecute or defend students accused of misdemeanor offenses in the courtroom before actual judges and juries of their peers. TBP is an excellent program that has been around for over 25 years and has served as a model for juvenile diversion programs around the country. (https://www.clarkcountylawfoundation.org/trial-by-peers/).
Doreen is a 2010 graduate of the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Las Vegas program, the immediate-past president of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association and the current chair of the LVNBA’s Attorneys in the Schools Program (www.lasvegasnba.org). In July 2014, Doreen was appointed for a three year term as a lawyer representative for the Nevada United States District Court.
Doreen, who is originally from Connecticut, attended Fairfield University where she earned a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation from Fairfield, Doreen backpacked through Europe for the summer before relocating to Sacramento, California. In 1990, Doreen began working in the advertising department at the Sacramento Bee Newspaper where she made life-long friends and developed a love for giving back to the community.
In 1997, Doreen decided to attend McGeorge School of Law where she studied, among other things, business law and employment and labor law. While at McGeorge, Doreen was the President of the Black Law Students Association and tutored first year law students in Real Property, Civil Procedure and Contracts. In 1999, she had the opportunity to take a course in Salzburg, Austria with United States Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy comparing the protections granted by the First Amendment with the free speech provisions contained in the European Union. In May 2000, Doreen obtained her J.D. from McGeorge with honors and moved to Las Vegas to begin her distinguished legal career.