First Asian-American and Black American justice appointed to the Supreme Court of Nevada



Las Vegas attorney Patricia Lee made history this week by becoming the first Asian American and first black woman to serve on the Nevada Supreme Court.

Governor Steve Sisolak (D-NV) named Lee in the empty Department F seat left by Judge Abbi Silver when she left office earlier this year. Lee would assume the position effective immediately.

I am proud and honored to nominate Patricia to the Supreme Court of Nevada,” Sisolak said in a statement after Monday’s announcement. “The breadth and depth of her skills and her personal and professional experience make her an incredible addition to the highest court in the state.”

Lee will serve on the Nevada Supreme Court until her term ends on January 6, 2025. If she wants to keep the position, she will have to run for office in 2024.

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A lawyer associated with the Hutchison and Steffen law firm in Las Vegas, Lee was one of the nominees nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission, along with Washoe County District Judge Scott Freeman and Clark County District Judge Tierra Jones.

Lee was born in South Korea to a Korean mother and a black military father. She earned a dual degree in psychology and communication from the University of Southern California and later attended law school at George Washington University (GWU), where she earned her JD in 2002.

While at GWU, Lee was elected Director of Community Services for the Student Bar Association, according to her biography Hutchison and Steffen. She has also helped small businesses in economically challenged communities with their legal needs while serving as the student director of the university’s small business clinic.

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After graduating from GWU, Lee worked at Hutchison and Steffen, where she was a partner for 20 years since 2002.

In addition to being the first black and Asian American to serve on the Nevada Supreme Court, Lee was also the nevada’s first attorney to receive the prestigious National Pro Bono Publico Award from the American Bar Association in 2013.

Lee has also received several honors and awards, including those from the Asian American Group (Outstanding Community Achievement), the Lili Clair Foundation (“Live your Passion” Award), and the Women’s Chamber of Commerce (Young Professionals Award and Humanitarian of the Year) .

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Image selected via Ken Lund (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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