The legal landscape can be filled with landmines, but the attorneys of Hutchison & Steffen have shown experience, compassion and expertise for their clients.
Founded in 1996 by Mark A. Hutchison and John T. Steffen, the AV-rated, full-service law firm has continued its reputation of achieving outstanding results. Patricia Lee was the first woman to be hired at the firm and is now a partner practicing primarily in business and commercial litigation.
Her career path started when she obtained a dual degree in psychology and communications from the University of Southern California with a desire to work in the media. Lee was part of the California Science Center in Los Angeles and assisted in the establishment of the Rosa Parks Community Computer and Learning Center for inner city youth. Then Lee changed paths and entered George Washington University Law School, with plans to become a children’s advocacy attorney. After graduation, she focused on commercial litigation with pro-bono work as a children’s advocate.
“This was my first interview out of law school,” Lee explained. “I have worked here ever since.”
“The entire culture of our firm is to do the best for our clients and achieve the results they want,” she explained. “I want to protect the little guy from being bullied by big firms with big legal departments. I believe in small business owners, especially since my husband is a small business owner. They are the backbone of our community.”
Christina Alexander is a partner with the firm who practices primarily as counsel for medical providers in defense of claims of malpractice. As an attorney for medical and dental providers, Alexander works on behalf of doctors, dentists, physician-assistants, nurses and their related medical practices in all areas of law involving patient care. This includes not only claims made regarding treatment by a patient, but also matters before licensing boards, as well as the general operation of medical and dental practices.
Alexander admits that she was inspired to enter the field of law after seeing a blue Mercedes. “When I was 12 years old, I saw what I thought was the most beautiful car in my life. An attorney owned the car and I knew what I wanted to do.”
As she grew up, Alexander realized she truly loved the law and pursued her career. She became interested in her area of expertise to help assertive and aggressive personalities.
“I believe the misunderstanding that people have is that while they know bad things can happen, they don’t really think it can happen to them. When something happens, they want to blame someone. But then it doesn’t mean the doctors did anything wrong. I am here to bridge that gap and give clarity and closure to the situation.
In her experience, Southern Nevada offers a great quality of heath care and physicians and their staff work very hard. “These people are dedicated. It is humbling to me how much they care.”
A native Floridian, Alexander has degrees in business administration and political science from the University of West Florida. She attended Emory University School of Law, later graduating from Pepperdine University School of Law after relocating to California.
According to Alexander, Southern Nevada is a smaller jurisdiction where the attorneys know each other and everyone is more polite and respectful. Alexander is licensed to practice law in the states of California and Nevada, as well as in the District of Columbia.
“Having practiced in other locations, Hutchison & Steffen is a very family-oriented firm starting with the top. John Steffen is a wonderful person and Mark Hutchison is amazing. It is a wonderful place to work and practice law.”
Shannon Wilson is a partner with the firm, practicing in its litigation department, focusing on family law. Originally from Maine, Wilson obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine, then graduated magna cum laude with a Juris Doctorate degree from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
She worked for several years in the political arena before entering law school in her 30s. Planning to practice in environmental law, specifically laws pertaining to water. She met her significant other, who is a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy, and they moved to Las Vegas.“While I expected opportunities in water laws in Las Vegas, the demand was not there. I landed at Hutchison & Steffen. I didn’t know anyone in Las Vegas and, at the time, Patty [Lee] was not yet a partner. However, I was never made to feel that my gender was an issue. I was an attorney working here and my progress is based on my capabilities.”
Hutchison & Steffen embodies and demonstrates the philosophy of passionate and experienced attorneys who are strong women.
As an Of Counsel member of the firm, Kimberly Marsh Guinasso focuses primarily on government affairs. A native Nevadan, she was drawn to practicing law using her talents of logical thinking and communication.
“My field is extremely interesting. I have the opportunity to be informed about many issues. The political aspect makes it exciting,” she said and added that even with the ups-and-downs of politics, the type of work in this field does not change.
Marsh Guinasso received her law degree from Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina and her Bachelor of Arts degree from Pepperdine University.Sandra Robertson is an associate practicing primarily in the area of real estate law. Originally from Chicago, Robertson graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and attended DePaul University College of Law and obtained her Juris Doctorate. She also studied international law at University College Dublin, in Dublin, Ireland.
Robertson began her career at a large, litigation-based firm in Las Vegas in the 1990s, took an extended leave from the practice of law to travel around the world, and then to raise her two children. Returning to the practice of law in 2016, she realized the need for expertise in real estate.
“I am a single mom and so busy but I have been so fortunate to be home with my children. When I returned to practicing law, I wanted to set an example for my kids, especially my daughter. She can do anything she wants to do. She can do it all or not, it is up to her. I can contribute as a lawyer and I am empowered, which empowers my daughter,” she explained.
Angela Wall joined Hutchison & Steffen as an associate in September 2016 and is working with the public defenders for city of North Las Vegas in municipal court.
“I am helping people who can’t afford representation. Even with lower level crimes, there can be serious consequences without proper representation. It gives me great satisfaction to help.”
Wall received her degrees from the University of Utah, majoring in history and English literature with a creative writing emphasis while graduating summa cum laude and valedictorian of both classes. After working for two years as a paralegal with Hutchison & Steffen, Wall earned her Juris Doctorate from the S.J. Quinney College of Law, University of Utah in the top 20 percent of the class. Her father also works for the firm and Wall enjoys all aspects of her legal career.
Traci Cassity is an associate of the firm’s litigation department providing research for complex litigation trials. Cassity completed her undergraduate studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, receiving her Bachelor of Science in sociology with a minor in mathematics. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University.
“After law school, I enjoyed a few years as a full-time litigator, working primarily in complex litigation and medical malpractice matters. Eventually, I started a family, and chose to stay home with my children. I am now a mother of four, who keep me very busy,” she said. “When I decided to make the lifestyle adjustment with my career, Hutchison & Steffen made it possible for me to work part-time from home. I give this firm significant credit for being so forward thinking and standing behind women, who often face this type of challenge in their pursuit towards that elusive work/life balance. I currently work on many of the same types of cases as I did working full-time, but am able to accomplish those tasks while managing a busy household.”
Cynthia Milanowski is an associate attorney of the firm and practices primarily general litigation with an emphasis on construction defects.
Originally from California, she graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. Coming from a family of attorneys, she knew she would enter the field of law. Milanowski enjoys being a litigator in a courtroom. As for her field of expertise, she saw a need and filled it.
“I have the confidence to perform in this field and I have two daughters. My career has helped them to understand that they can do whatever they want to do in whatever profession they choose,” she stated.
Jennifer M.K. Willis is an associate with the firm practicing in trust and probate administration and litigation.
Originally from California, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Utah with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in political science and speech communications. She received her Juris Doctorate from Boston College Law School.
“I always planned on becoming a lawyer. I like the idea of justice and working everything out fairly. I believe this is possible,” she explained. Willis gravitated to the practice of trust and probate and believes women bring a voice to the legal profession that might not be heard otherwise. “We have a way of analyzing and thinking about problems that help to improve the community.” She is also the mother of two young daughters and is grateful to set an example for them.
But along with the attorneys, the legal support staff is also an integral part of the firm.
Teresa Tokumon-Phillips is the office manager and has been with the firm for 17 years. She supervises the non-attorney staff that is not part of the admin department. She also works with CIM Marketing Partners; the firm’s outsourced marketing partner. She managed the legal office of her ex-husband and then came to work for Hutchison & Steffen.
“I wanted to learn everything I could about the legal field and obtained my paralegal certificate and national certification. I have a sincere respect for the law and all of my work has been done in civil law,” she said. “I feel truly honored to be a part of this team. This is a unique law firm with knowledgeable attorneys and support staff.”
Janet Vinante, firm administrator, started her career as Lt. Governor Hutchison’s legal secretary before he began the firm. It was the three of them when the firm was created.
“I deal with the financial aspects including benefits, payroll and receivables.” The firm had developed a deep sense of teamwork and respect for everyone and Vinante is proud to be part of a respected and progressive legal firm.
Hutchison & Steffen is a diverse workplace, which reflects a broad range of socioeconomic, racial, ethnic and personal backgrounds. The women on its staff all showcase their personal dedication and philosophy for creating the best outcomes for their clients and the community as a whole. For more information, visit hutchlegal.com.