Meet Nadia Hojjat: AAPI candidate seeks appointment for a Las Vegas judicial seat

Nadia Hojjat

My life is a duality. I am proud of my Iranian heritage and I am also a proud American.

For 33-year-old Nadia Hojjat, the combination of her personal background and professional passion makes her a unique asset to the Las Vegas Judicial community. For the past 10 years, she has worked in the Clark County Public Defender’s Office.

Now she’s one of the final candidates being vetted for the position of Las Vegas Justice of the Peace, Department 10. The position was left vacant when Judge Melanie Tobiasson resigned in the middle of her term back in May.

“This process started with more than a dozen applicants in the first round. Now we are down to the final 3 and I am very excited and humbled to be among them,” said Hojjat.

Hojjat is the daughter of first-generation Iranian immigrants who settled in Southern California. She said growing up it’s always been her dream to become a public defender. She received her undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley at the age of 19. Then at 22, she obtained her law degree at Georgetown University. While in school, she interned at the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant in Northern California, representing individuals fleeing violence and persecution and seeking asylum in the U.S.

“My parents were born and raised in Iran. They came here in their teens and early 20s hoping for a better life for their family,” said Hojjat. “I have seen their struggles and sacrifices as they provide for me and my sister, and we are so grateful to have the opportunities and rights that we have here in this country. It’s something that we wouldn’t have had if we were back in Iran. So all this just pushes me even more to help others who are working hard to stay in this country.”

In the last decade at the Clark County Public Defender’s Office, Hojjat took pride in representing indigent members of this community. As a trial attorney, she has been counsel in nearly 20 felony injury trials and dozens of misdemeanor bench trials. Hojjat has also conducted over 150 preliminary hearings in the justice court and has represented over 2000 clients in her career.

Hojjat moved from Washington, D.C. to Las Vegas right after law school and she said she’s really grown to love Southern Nevada. She is especially excited to see the growth of the Asian American community, the fastest-growing ethnic group in this state according to the latest census.

“There’s so much culture and diversity here and it’s really a great place to live,” said Hojjat. “I have really made it my home. I met my fiancée here. We are getting married next year. I bought a house here and my parents are looking forward to moving here soon as well. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

In addition to her legal career, Hojjat is also an adjunct professor at Nevada State College and volunteers at UNLV Boyd School of Law, teaching students the importance of courtroom advocacy skills. She also volunteers with Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, representing abused and neglected children in the family court.

The Clark County Commission is set to make a decision on who will replace Judge Tobiasson on October 19. That person will take on the position until the next election in November of 2022.

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