Jason D. Guinasso is the Managing Partner of the Firm’s Northern Nevada offices in Reno. Licensed in Nevada (2003) and California (2004), Jason is a solutions-driven attorney committed to adding value to the clients and communities he serves. Jason delivers outstanding, high-quality, and comprehensive legal services. He collaborates with his clients to develop and implement sound strategies that address each unique issue and situation presented. Jason always strives to help his clients resolve their legal issues quickly and economically without litigation, while concurrently positioning them for success in the event that litigation becomes necessary. Jason’s law practice includes:
- Employment and Labor Law
- Human Resources Support
- Workers’ Compensation
- Civil Litigation
- Products Liability
- Education Law (emphasis on private schools and charter schools)
- Government Affairs and Legislative Advocacy
- Public Entity Law
- Public Interest and Nonprofit Organization Law
- Churches and Ministries
- Pro-life Advocacy
- First Amendment Free Exercise
Additionally, Jason has maintained a significant appellate practice, which includes petitions for judicial review of administrative decisions, extraordinary writs, and appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Jason is also regularly engaged as a speaker and provides training on a broad range of subjects, including:
- Prevailing Wage Law
- Employment Law Annual Update
- Employment Law Legislative Update
- Employment Law Basics
- Fundamentals of Employment Law
- Nevada Workers’ Compensation Law Overview
- Workers Compensation Update in Nevada
- Workplace Investigations
- Gender Identity and Expression in the Workplace
- Training for Law Enforcement Regarding Internal Affairs Investigations
- Recruitment, Hiring, Development, and Termination
- Substance Abuse in the Workplace
- Church Law: Lecture on Developments in Law, Emerging Legal Risks and Threats, Best Practices for Churches and Ministries
- Moot Court Seminars for HR professionals
- Role Play Training for HR Professionals
- Religious Liberty
- Nevada Open Meeting Law Training
- Trustee and Board Member Training
- Nevada Bar, 2003
- Federal District Court of Nevada, 2004
- California Bar, 2005
- 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2019
Jason is dedicated to serving our community by providing pro bono legal services to faith-based organizations, non-profits, and civic organizations. Jason recognizes that community-based nonprofits, charitable organizations, and churches have an important role to play in delivering education, serving the needy, and protecting the vulnerable. Jason is a part of Hutchison & Steffen’s “Public Interest & Nonprofit Organizations” practice group. He provides a range of services to public interest groups and nonprofit organizations, including creation and legal establishment, direct service and legal advice, litigation support, crisis management, and proactively keeping entities in compliance with government regulations and pursuing legal action, when necessary.
ENDING COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION IN NEVADA
For more than ten years, Jason has served as legal counsel for a Nevada non-profit, Awaken. Awaken’s mission is to increase awareness and education surrounding the issue of commercial sexual exploitation and to provide housing and restoration for its victims. Awaken engages in outreach and provides direct services to women and girls to help them transition out of commercial sexual exploitation.
Since joining Hutchison & Steffen in November 2017, Jason has provided roughly 1,500 hours of pro bono service to Awaken and the survivors Awaken serves, valued at over $500,000. The pro bono services rendered include, but are not limited to the following:
- Legal compliance and excellence with respect to the internal and external practices and procedures of Awaken;
- Criminal and civil justice for victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking;
- Legal and personal restoration for victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking;
- Advocacy resulting in access to jobs, housing, health services and other basic live needs; and
- Law and policy changes through legislative advocacy at local and state level.
Jason and his legal support team provide direct legal services to survivors of sex trafficking. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Assisting with vacating and sealing criminal convictions/records;
- Removing porn off of websites;
- Cleaning up credit histories;
- Assisting with housing issues;
- Assisting with recovering property and money owed;
- Receiving calls from survivors looking to leave the life and connecting them with appropriate services;
- Helping with child custody issues;
- Reviewing contracts and advising women of their rights under contract and law;
- Emergency responses to various threats; and
- Responding to calls with random legal questions and guidance on how to self-advocate.
Building on these experiences, Jason is currently collaborating with Awaken to establish a law and advocacy center called “The Rebekah Charleston Law and Advocacy Center for Survivors” to coordinate and focus collective efforts to end sex trafficking, prostitution, and all forms of sexual exploitation.
In addition to the foregoing efforts, Jason has also worked with a coalition of people and organizations in our State to help strengthen laws and regulations. Some examples of work we have done together includes:
- Successfully advocated for stronger regulations and restrictions on strip clubs in Reno (conducted investigation that included interview with dozen women – a few agreed to provide sworn statements or testified in the presence of a court reporter).
- Worked with legislators to pass demand focused legislation, including stronger penalties for Johns and mandatory John school for first time offenders.
- Worked to enact revisions to vacature and sealing statute that allows women who have been trafficked to have their criminal record vacated and sealed.
- Lobbied and assisted with campaigns to repeal laws that permits legal brothels in the State.
- Assisted legislators with passing law that increased penalties for “advancing prostitution” so prosecutors can charge a business owner or manager who knowingly forces employees into involuntary servitude and sex trafficking with a Category C felony. Also, increases the penalties for individuals (pimps) living off the earnings of a prostitute to a Category C felony where force is used and a Category D felony where it is not.
As a part of our efforts to change law and policy, Jason formed a political action committee called "End Trafficking and Prostitution," which is used for educational efforts and political activity to end commercial sexual exploitation.
Jason has also helped two nonprofits form, Stand4Justice and Xquisite, with similar missions to Awaken, but they have different areas of focus.
ADVOCATE FOR THE DIGNITY AND SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE
Crisis Pregnancy Center (CPC)
Jason has been an advocate for the dignity and sanctity of human life from conception to the grave for over 30 years. He has been legal counsel for the Reno/Fernley Crisis Pregnancy Center (“CPC”) for over ten years. CPC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving women and men in Reno, Fernley and the surrounding communities since 1983. CPC centers are comprised of a compassionate and knowledgeable staff of trained advocates, instructors, and community leaders. All of CPC’s services are free of charge. CPC believes a woman's life should be valued as highly as the child she carries. CPC also believes men need support and encouragement to rise up to be men and fathers of courage. CPC provides a safe, 100% confidential, no pressure place for women and men to get the facts about pregnancy, parenting, abortion, and adoption. CPC provides the information to women and men so that they can make a decision that is right for them need with no spin, no coercion, and no judgement.
In the Matter of Guardianship of Elizabeth Elaine Bauer, Adult Ward, Case No. PRCV98-03405 (2012) and Case No. JV13-00229A (2013-2014), Jason intervened to prevent the District Court from ordering that a disabled women submit to an abortion procedure and be sterilized. This opportunity to use his legal training and experience to fight for the life of an unborn child, to vindicate the dignity of a disabled woman, and to give voice to the religious convictions of a family in a court of law was one of the most rewarding experiences of his legal career. Rarely will the result of the case mean life or death, but this case was a rare exception. As a result of Jason’s participation in this case, he now has the privilege of watching a smart, healthy, and beautiful little girl, who was facing the threat of being aborted, grow and thrive under the care of her grandparents.
Nevada Life (Issues Forum and Education) 2005 to 2019
DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Nevada Libertas (Non-Profit Organization Defending Religious Liberty) May 2011 to Present
- Legal Advisor and panel presenter.
- In 2014, hosted Nevada’s first “Nevada Religious Liberty Summit.”
Alliance Defending Freedom, 2012 to Present
- Allied attorney.
- Provide pro bono legal services in matters involving protecting human life from conception to the grave and protecting First Amendment Religious Expression and Free Exercise Rights.
- Specialized training regarding defending the preservation of human life.
- Denial of Medical Care Advanced Training.
- Specialized training regarding defending religious liberty.
- Honor Corps Member for providing and reporting more than 450 hours of pro bono legal services.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION
Nevada State Public Charter School Board, July 2016 to July 2019
- Appointed by the Honorable Governor Brian Sandoval.
- Chair of Board, 2017 to 2019.
- During Jason’s tenure on the SPCSA, state-sponsored charter schools led the State in providing high-quality seats for a majority-minority student population across the State of Nevada. In a state that consistently ranks among the worst for education outcomes in the nation, Jason has been an outspoken champion of all that state-sponsored charter schools have accomplished.
- Jason provided over 1,500 hours of service to Nevada’s Charter Authority, resulting in:
- Stronger accountability by using every regulatory tool at our disposal, including the use of the intervention ladder, school closure, receivership, etc.;
- Higher performing schools throughout the entire portfolio (SPCSA has more three-, four- and five-star schools than it has ever had, and the fewest one- and two-star schools ever);
- Greater diversity in student population served;
- Approval of a school that serves at-risk students to continue to operate and thrive under an alternative performance framework;
- A new academic, financial, and organizational performance framework developed and adopted;
- Commencement of site evaluations;
- Retaining a new Executive Director;
- Two legislative sessions where the charter sector and SPCSA came out stronger and more equipped to handle the challenges of a growing portfolio;
- Successful outcomes in every court challenge the SPCSA faced;
- Stronger working relationship with Nevada Department of Education, school districts, and Charter School Association of Nevada;
- Clear expectations, outreach, and initiatives that allowed educators to know what was expected of them;
- Monthly meetings that were managed and lead to allow the SPCSA to be productive, transparent, informative, and engaging;
- Bold and decisive action that protected the SPCSA and the charter sector from catastrophic legislative intervention and devastating public relations damage; and
- A virtual sector that was improving dramatically and new legislation that will provide additional tools to help virtual schools deliver better results for students.
CHURCHES AND MINISTRIES
Christian Management Association, 2013 to present
- Provide free annual training to churches and ministries regarding compliance with local, state, and federal laws.
Ministerio Palabra de Vida Ministries, July 2016 to present
- Associate Pastor.
- Sunday Morning English Speaking Gathering, Community Outreach, Small Group Pastor.
Warehouse Christian Ministries, 1992 to 2016
- Board Member.
- Tuesday Night Bible Study Leader.
- Past service: Youth Leader; Community Outreach; Mission Trip to Honduras.
Transformed International, 2012 to 2014
- Ex Officio Board Member.
- Kenya Mission Trip December 2011 to January 2012 (outreach to widows and orphans in Kitale Region; Served at Rehema/In-Step Orphanage).
Lighthouse Youth Ministry, 1990 to 1994
- Live-in mentor in a group home serving at-risk youth.
Other Churches and Ministries
- African American Clergy Association of Northern Nevada.
- Associacion de Ministros Evangelicos de Nevada
- Northern Nevada Pastor’s Association
- Pathfinders Children’s Ministry
- Reno Christian Fellowship
- Faith Alive Christian Center
- Faith Bible Church
- New Life Christian Center
- House of Legacy
- Outlook Christian Church
- Destiny Christian Center
- Reno Chinese Fellowship
- Sierra Bible Church
- Strong Tower Ministries
Other Non-profit Organizations
- Nevada Veterans Memorial Plaza
- Reno/Sparks Chamber of Commerce, 1998 to 2000, 2008 to 2012
- Public Affairs Committee.
- Reno/Sparks Leadership 2000 Program.
- Northern Nevada Sports and Recreation, 2014 to 2017
- Coach of girls’ basketball team 2014, 2015, and 2017
- Reno Continental Little League, 2004 to 2007
- President (2006-2007)
- Coach (2004-2007)
- Boy Scouts of America
- Cub Master, Pack 154, February 2005 to 2006.
- Den Leader, Den 7, Pack 154, 2003 to 2004.
- Washoe County Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program
- President of the Board of Trustees, 1999 to 2000.
- Advocate for Children in Family Courts, 1998 to 2000.
- Role Model Summit
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS
- Nevada State Bar – Administrative Law Section; Labor and Employment Law Section.
- California State Bar – Workers’ Compensation Section; Labor and Employment Law Section, Litigation Section.
- Alliance Defending Freedom – Alliance of attorneys who collaborate to fight for religious liberty, defend the sanctity of life, and protect marriage and the family.
- Northern Nevada Human Resources Association.
- Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak, 982 F.3d 1228, 1234 (9th Cir. 2020).
- City of Reno v. Jody Yturbide, 135 Nev. Adv. Op. 14 (May 2, 2019).
- Ross v. Washoe Cty., 461 P.3d 896 (Nev. App. 2020)(unpublished disposition).
Special Master Report
- Amethyst Payne, et al. v. State of Nevada, et al., Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada (Case No. CV20-00755)(July 2020)
Professional Articles re: Employment and Labor Law
- “Marijuana in the Workplace” (2018)
- “Answering Common Questions About Reasonable Accommodations Under the ADA” (2012)
- “This is a Test. (You will be rewarded) Do you have what it takes to navigate the Bermuda Triangle of Liability under the ADA, FMLA and State Workers' Compensation Laws?” (2012)
- "Does HIPAA Prevent Health Care Providers From Disclosing Protected Health Care Information In A Workers' Compensation Proceeding?” (2012)
- “A Year of Change Impacting Workers’ Compensation Law In Nevada” (2011)
- “Benefits And Risks To Gathering Information About An Employee's Past And Present Physical Condition” (2010)
- “Are Workers' Compensation Benefits Available to Volunteers at an Employer Sponsored Sporting Event In Nevada?” (2010)
- “Death Benefits Under the Nevada Industrial Insurance Act” (2010)
- "Best Practices for Managing Your Company's Workers' Compensation Program: Quality Claims Examiners" (2009)
- “Cost Saving Actions for Workers’ Comp” (2007)
University of Oregon School of Law, Doctor of Jurisprudence, 2003
- Moot Court: National Appellate Advocacy Competition – Western Regional Competition.
- Advanced Appellate Advocacy.
- Litigation Practice and Procedure.
- Law School Dean Search Committee.
- Dean’s Student Advisory Committee.
- Christian Legal Society Member.
- Seminar on Race and Sentencing in Criminal Justice System. Examined the effects of institutional racism on the criminal justice system. Prepared term paper on need for “Quality Indigent Defense” as one way to effectively address institutional racism in the criminal justice system and to ensure fairness and equity in the system.
University of Nevada, Reno, Graduate Program – Public Administration, 1999 to 2000
- Political Science Teaching Assistantship for the Political Science Department and the Western Traditions Program.
- Prepared Formal Policy Recommendation to City of Reno titled, “Make the Problem of Poverty the Top Priority in Building Reno’s Vital Community.” In this twelve-page policy paper, Jason recommended that the City work with stakeholders throughout the community to develop a twenty-year “Master Plan” to address poverty and homelessness.
- Advocate for People with Disabilities. When the landmark case Olmstead v. L.C. & E.W. was being heard and decided by the US Supreme Court, Jason worked with disability rights advocates to promote the position that the ADA should require integrating individuals with disabilities into community-based homes rather than institutionalization. Jason also helped coordinate a grassroots effort to educate decision makers on benefits of home- and community-based care vs. institutionalization for people with disabilities during the 1999 Legislative Session. As a result of the efforts of disability advocates from across the State coming together to address this issue, in 2001, Governor Kenny Guinn advocated for doubling funding to help physically disabled Nevadans stay in their homes, rather than be institutionalized. He also advocated for the creation of the Office of Disability Resources to combine services and to develop a long-range plan to better provide services to individuals with disabilities. In support of these important initiatives, the Governor explained in his State of the State address, “I believe we must measure our success by how we are able to care for the most fragile of our citizens – our children, our elderly and those who are disabled. We can’t afford to do everything, but there are some things we can’t afford not to do.”
- Completed one year of graduate studies before beginning law school.
University of Nevada, Reno, Bachelor of Arts – Political Science cum laude, 1998
- Honors Program.
- Completed a Senior Thesis titled, “Analysis of U.S. Child Abuse and Neglect Policy,” wherein Jason argued for a comprehensive national strategy addressing the problem of child abuse and neglect. In this paper, Jason called for laws strengthening children’s rights, including the right to a safe home, the right to be protected from violence and acts of aggression, the right to be educated, and the right to be treated equally under the law. Jason also called for standardized data collection to help Child Protective Services develop short-term and long-term objectives for proactively addressing child abuse and neglect. Finally, Jason argued that the CPS strategic plan should include non-governmental, community based organizations, such as churches and non-profits, to comprehensively address the maltreatment of children
- Truman Scholarship Finalist.
- Nominated by the University of Nevada for the Truman Scholarship.
- National finalist for the award (one of only two Nevadans who were named finalists that year).
- Recipient of the Sidney W. Robinson Memorial Scholarship in 1997 for essay on “Law and Government,” wherein Jason argued that an impartial judiciary was an essential component for ensuring stability and legitimacy of government.
- Member, Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honors Society); Membership contingent on being recommended by the University and being in top 1/3 of my class.
- ASUN Senator
- During Jason’s term, he successfully passed legislation benefiting students and faculty who were parenting children while enrolled at or teaching at the University. In this regard, Jason passed legislation requiring that: (1) changing tables be installed in all university men’s and women’s bathrooms; (2) highchairs be made available at campus restaurants; and (3) a play area be installed for small children.
- Additionally, Jason worked with fellow ASUN Senators to recommend that the University standardize its architectural design to conform to the brick aesthetic that had characterized the University’s buildings when it was founded. Today, all new buildings on the campus conform to the brick aesthetic and have changing tables in all men’s and women’s bathrooms.
- Married for 28 years, with two children.
- Three dogs: Goatee, Mr. Jones, and Mico.
- Two Cats: Ricky and Annie.
- Four Alpacas: Ignacio, Pamplemousse, Napoleon, and Humphrey.
- Outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and camping.
- Bird watching.
- Participating in pick-up basketball games at the gym and park.
- Avid reader – generally nonfiction books, current events, biographies, theology, and politics.
- Writer and blogger.