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UNLV Law Students Take Spring Break ... In Pahrump

By Ken Lund from Las Vegas, Nevada, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

College sounds like fun. Football. Parties. New knowledge. Girls. Boys.

In reality, it can be a high-stress job. Studying for hours on end, taking exams, listening to boring lectures.

To cut loose, many students this time of year head for Ft. Lauderdale or South Padre Island.

And some go to Pahrump and Amargosa, Nev.

At least, that’s where a handful of students from UNLV’s Boyd School of Law spent their spring break.

It’s called alternative spring break.

In its fourth year, it's a law school program to expose students to the rural court system in Nevada.  

Layke Martin, the law school’s assistant dean who oversees alternative spring break, said the hope is that some will return there, where legal services are in dire need, upon graduation.

“Alternative spring break gives Boyd Law students an opportunity to volunteering in different communities’ throughout the state,” she said.

Martin also said the program dovetails with the school's emphasis on community service. 

Law school student Scott Morris said that is why he decided to forgo a week off and work in rural Nevada. 

“One: I wanted to learn and two: I wanted to give back to the community,” he said. 

Morris said he was able to learn about the legal system from the successful people who are providing service to rural Nevada. 

John Tyler Mowbray told KNPR's State of Nevada he choose the program to learn more about his home state. 

“I really wanted to learn more about Northern Nevada and this seemed like an opportunity I wouldn’t otherwise gotten in law school,” he said. 

The program included a trip to the State Supreme Court and the State Legislature. 

Monica Martinez said she wouldn't have considered a legal career in the rural counties before the alternative spring break, but now she sees some advantages to a life outside the big city. 

“They have a bigger sense of community, of belonging, of responsibility for each other I felt,” she said.

Monica Martinez, Scott Morris, John Tyler Mowbray: Boyd School of Law students;  Layke Martin, assistant dean, Boyd School of Law 


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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.