Laura J. Thalacker

Laura Thalacker has been practicing employment law in Nevada for over 26 years.  Prior to co-founding Hartwell Thalacker, Ltd. with her longtime friend and colleague, Doreen Spears Hartwell, Laura worked for over 17 years at Nevada’s largest law firm, where she was a partner in the firm’s Litigation Department.  Laura has been named by The Best Lawyers in America as the 2016 Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation (Labor and Employment) and the 2015 Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law (Management).  She is rated “AV Preeminent” by Martindale Hubbell  and, in 2013, was recognized as one of the “Top 50 Women Attorneys” in Mountain States Super Lawyers. 

Laura focuses on representing employers in Nevada, throughout the U.S., and worldwide in employment law matters. A certified Senior Professional in Human Resources, Laura takes a pro-active, preventative and strategic approach to helping clients comply with a myriad of complex, and sometimes contradictory, federal and state employment laws. Laura takes prides in her accessible and down-to-earth approach with clients, her ability to explain complex legal issues in practical and understandable terms, and her skills in listening to clients and understanding and achieving their objectives for legal representation.

In the area of human resources compliance and counseling, Laura advises employers on a wide array of workplace issues including discipline and termination, reductions in force, leaves of absence, prevention of discrimination and harassment, social media use, workplace investigations, wage and hour compliance, drug testing, confidentiality and non-competes. Laura also drafts employee handbooks, policies, and employment contracts. She further provides training to employees, managers and executives on various human resources topics.

In addition to working with employers on legal compliance and litigation prevention, Laura defends employers in employment-related litigation in Nevada state and federal courts. Laura has represented employers in a variety of cases, including litigation alleging discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, violation of leave of absence laws, wage and hour violations, breach of contract, and non-compete and trade secret violations. In her administrative practice, she defends employers before federal and state agencies such as the EEOC, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission, the United States Department of Labor, and the Office of the Nevada Labor Commissioner.

Laura is a past Chairperson of the State Bar of Nevada’s Labor and Employment Section, and is former Chairperson of the State Bar of Nevada’s Publications Committee. Laura is a frequent speaker and writer on a variety of employment law topics for Bar Association, client and community events.  In recent years, she has taken a particular interest in the far-reaching legal consequences of employee use of social media inside and outside the workplace.


B.A. (summa cum laude), Political Science and Women’s Studies, Wartburg College (1991)

J.D. (with high distinction), University of Iowa College of Law (1994)

  • Senior Note & Comment Editor, Iowa Law Review (1993-1994)
  • Best Advocate and Best Brief Awards, Iowa Competitive Appellate Advocacy II (1994)
  • Chicago Moot Court Team (1994)

Admissions & Certifications

  • State Bar of Nevada (1994)
  • United States District Court, District of Nevada (1994)
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1997)
  • Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (2014-present) (Human Resources Certification Institute)
  • Senior Certified Professional in Human Resources (2015-present) (Society for Human Resources Management)


  • Labor and Employment Section, State Bar of Nevada
  • Litigation Section, State Bar of Nevada
  • Labor and Employment Section, American Bar Association
  • Society for Human Resources Management
  • Southern Nevada Human Resources Association
  • Former Regional Vice-Chair (North America), Lex Mundi Global Labor and Employment Practice Group

Select Honors

  • 2016 Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation-Labor and Employment, The Best Lawyers in America
  • 2o15 Las Vegas “Lawyer of the Year” for Employment Law-Management, The Best Lawyers in America
  • “Notable Practitioner” – Chambers & Partners
  • Best Lawyers in America – Employment Law (Management); Labor Law (Management); and Litigation–Labor and Employment
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers, Mountain States Super Lawyers (2013)
  • Las Vegas Top Employment Lawyer-Management, Vegas, Inc. (2012)
  • AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell
Best Lawyers Award BadgeBest Lawyers Award Badge