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Choosing integrity over comfort: starting a law firm to stand up for reproductive rights (opinion)


Submitted by Alex Velto

I used to work at one of Nevada’s largest law firms. It provided me with financial security and a path to partnership. But when my boss made it his mission to challenge a person’s right to choose, I resigned.

It was a tough choice for my wife and me, sacrificing our financial stability so that our life could align with our values, but it was the right choice. Here’s my story.

My journey in law has always been more than a job; it’s been a vehicle for positive change in my community. As a young attorney committed to advocating for unions and defending the underserved, I’ve dedicated thousands of hours to ensuring that workers receive fair wages. I’ve led civil rights litigation that removed egregious restrictions on international students in Nevada.

And I’ve served as an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada to inspire the next generation of change-makers. Like many young attorneys, I dreamt of someday becoming a partner at a prestigious firm.

It seemed to be the true measure of success, and I was almost there: working at one of Nevada’s top firms, with some of the best legal minds in the state, where I found both professional growth and mentors.

A law firm is like any company—your colleagues often fall on an ideological spectrum. There were partners who were high profile Democrats, Republicans, and everything in between. People rarely brought their ideology to work and never forced a particular viewpoint on each other. 

But that changed when one of the former lead partners began to take on cases and causes that challenged the very core of my values. What I prayed would be a one-off case turned into a trend. I realized that staying silent was not an option, and I began to reassess my position in the firm.

These cases were in blatant conflict with my moral compass. The final straw was when this colleague challenged Nevadans for Reproductive Freedom’s proposed constitutional amendment that would protect the right to an abortion until fetal viability.

Alex Velto
Alex Velto

I find this advocacy morally repugnant, and this colleague hid the cases from nearly everyone at the firm. It was no longer just two people having different opinions; the office became an ideological battleground where a colleague was weaponizing his position of power to attack a fundamental human right.

This had not been the firm’s identity. Either way, I could no longer work where someone was using the law to attack what I believed in: a fundamental right to reproductive choice. 

Partnership at this firm was no longer my dream. So, I left to start my own. This choice has come with significant sacrifices. But I believe in doing the right thing, not just the easy thing.

Alex Velto is with the new law firm, Reese, Ring and Velto.

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