Nevada Defense Group

We are dedicated to protecting your rights while representing you with the highest level of honesty, integrity, and honor possible. We are passionate about what we do, and will not rest until your best interests are served.

Damian Sheets Founding Partner

Born in Reno in 1982, Damian R. Sheets has been a native Nevadan his entire life. Having grown up in a law-oriented family, his father was general counsel for Southwest Gas Corporation, chairman of the Nevada State Ethics Commission, chairman of the Nevada State Tax Commission, and general counsel of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mr. Sheets developed an early passion for pursuing a career in law. After graduating magna cum laude from the Ohio State University, Mr. Sheets attended law school at the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV, where he graduated with his Juris Doctor in 2007.

During his time as a law student, Mr. Sheets clerked for the Honorable Judge Elizabeth Gonzales, worked as a law clerk for Kamer Zucker & Abbot, and externed for the Clark County Public Defender's office. After obtaining his license to practice law, Mr. Sheets opened his own successful practice, DAMIAN R. SHEETS, CHTD., where he represented a multitude of clients, with great success, regarding their criminal and family law issues.

During this same time period, Mr. Sheets served as a primary legal writer for seven local attorneys, drafting appeals and serving as co-counsel at trials. Mr. Sheets also served on the Clark County Indigent Defense panel, representing low income clients on behalf of the State of Nevada. After only two years in private practice, Damian was recognized as a "Nevada Elite: Top 20 Up and Coming Attorney" for the State of Nevada in Nevada Lawyer Magazine, a distinction based solely upon the vote of fellow attorneys and judges.

Mr. Sheets was then hired as a prosecutor for the City of Henderson. During this time, he prosecuted hundreds, if not thousands, of DUI and Domestic Battery cases, and acted as lead attorney for the criminal appeals department. In 2010, Mr. Sheets accepted a position as a partner at Mayfield Gruber & Sheets. Shortly thereafter, Nevada Defense Group was established, where it has experienced steady growth with minimal advertising, relying primarily on word of mouth and positive client feedback.

Mr. Sheets has also acted as lead counsel on many high profile cases and has been trusted by many high profile defendants, including:

  • Wealthy Entrepreneurs
  • Social Media Influencers
  • Police Officers, State Troopers
  • Prison Guards
  • Corrections Officers
  • Court Clerks
  • Attorneys
  • Teachers
  • Court Counselors.

In addition to handling all cases ranging from DUI to Murder to Sexual Assault on a Minor, Mr. Sheets often acts as the “go to” Criminal Defense Attorney for KVBC Channel 3 News in Las Vegas. Mr. Sheets has also appeared on NBC, FOX, CBS, and ABC affiliates in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. As a business owner, Mr. Sheets’ businesses have been featured on Entertainment Tonight, CBS Sports National, and in television shows in Japan, Europe, and Netflix in the United States.

Recently, Mr. Sheets was appointed to the State of Nevada Commission on Ethics. There, Mr. Sheets hopes to continue his dedication to ethical and honorable conduct in both government and the private sector. Through his service, Mr. Sheets hopes to ensure that all operations of government continue to conduct themselves under the highest standard, and to be held accountable when they fall below that standard.

Having represented defendants in almost 10,000 cases, Mr. Sheets' track record establishes that he has the skills and experience necessary to provide all criminal defendants with the most vigorous and aggressive defense available. No matter how big or small, Mr. Sheets stands ready and available to provide the best representation possible.

Professional Licenses:

  • State Bar of Nevada
  • United States District Court–District of Nevada
  • United States Court of Appeals–Ninth Circuit

Other jurisdictions where Mr. Sheets has practiced or consulted:

  • United States District Court–Southern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court–Central District of California
  • United States Court of Appeals – Seventh Circuit

Professional Affiliations (Past and Present);

  • State of Nevada Commission on Ethics–Board Member
  • Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice–Member
  • Nevada Association of Criminal Defense Layers–President’s Club
  • Clark County Office of Appointed Counsel–Indigent Defense Counsel
  • United States Criminal Justice Act–Indigent Panel Defense Counsel

AWARDS

Since founding Nevada Defense Group, Mr. Sheets has received recognition for and numerous nominations, invitations, selections for membership, and awards, for the following:

  • Newsweek Magazine – October 2012 – Leading Lawyers in Criminal Defense Showcase
  • Nevada Business Magazine 2014 – Nevada Elite: Top Up and Coming Attorney
  • Nevada Business Magazine 2014 – Nevada Elite: Top Attorney
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys 2014 – Top 10 Under 40
  • Nevada Business Magazine 2015 – Nevada Elite: Top Attorney
  • SuperLawyers Magazine 2015 – Mountain States Rising Star
  • American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys 2015 – 10 Best Attorneys: Client Satisfaction
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 2015 – 10 Best Attorneys: Client Satisfaction
  • The National Trial Lawyers 2015 – Top 40 Under 40
  • The National Trial Lawyers 2015 – Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys 2015 – Top 10 Under 40
  • American Society of Legal Advocates 2015 – Top 40 Under 40
  • National Association of Distinguished Counsel – 2015 – Top One Percent
  • Nevada Business Magazine 2016 – Nevada Elite: Top Attorney
  • SuperLawyers Magazine – 2016 – Mountain States Rising Star
  • American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys 2016 – 10 Best Attorneys: Client Satisfaction
  • American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys 2016 – 10 Best Under 40
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 2016 – Top 10 Under 40
  • The National Trial Lawyers 2016 – Top 40 Under 40
  • The National Trial Lawyers 2016 – Top 100 Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys 2016 – Top 10 Under 40
  • SuperLawyers Magazine 2017 – Mountain States Rising Star
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 2017 – 10 Best Attorneys: Client Satisfaction
  • American Jurist Institute 2017 – Top 10 Criminal Law Attorney
  • The National Trial Lawyers 2017 – Top 40 Under 40
  • Americas Top 100 2017 – Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorney
  • American Society of Legal Advocates 2017 – Top 40 Under 40
  • National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys 2017 – Top 10 Under 40
  • Americas Top 100 2018 – Top 100 Criminal Defense Attorneys
  • SuperLawyers Magazine 2018 – Mountain States Rising Star
  • Lawyers of Distinction 2018 – Lawyer of Distinction
  • SuperLawyers Magazine 2019 – Mountain States Rising Star
  • Lawyers of Distinction 2019 – Lawyer of Distinction
  • SuperLawyers Magazine 2020 – Mountain States Rising Star
  • Lawyers of Distinction 2020 – Lawyer of Distinction

Kelsey Bernstein Partner

After graduating in the top 1% of her high school, Kelsey Bernstein received a full scholarship to Boise State University, where she graduated with highest honors and was ranked #1 after completing her 4-year degree in just 3 years. While a student, she worked as a laboratory assistant for the advanced Biology program and as an assistant to the Vice Provost of the University, where she pioneered a tuition assistance program for students entering into STEM fields. In only her second year, Ms. Bernstein was also recruited to be a paid university tutor for the advanced Logic and Syllogism courses offered to upper level students. For her Honor’s Thesis, she drafted an original 75-page multiple regression analysis to determine the existence of a correlation between systems of government and freedom of the press.

After graduation, Ms. Bernstein was subsequently offered a full scholarship to the William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas. She was invited to participate in the Nevada Law Journal in her second year and graduated with honors in 2015.

While in law school, Ms. Bernstein developed an interest in criminal appellate work, finding appellate law to be a unique blend of intellectualism, creativity and real-world practicality. After obtaining her license to practice law, she went on to write and win multiple appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court and Nevada Court of Appeals. Before her third year of practice, she won an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and successfully overturned a murder conviction after a 60-witness federal trial. She also recently won another murder appeal in the Nevada Supreme Court which overturned a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Kelsey then established Nevada Appeal Group, a law firm dedicated to legal writing, appeals, and post-conviction relief. She has quickly become the de facto consultant for other attorneys with unique appeal and post-conviction projects, who often approach her for advice on topics ranging from proper appellate procedure to presenting novel legal issues. Ms. Bernstein is also regularly hired by other attorneys to draft motions and appeals on behalf of their clients, especially when there are unique legal questions presented.

In 2018, Nevada Appeal Group was acquired by Nevada Defense Group. In 2020, Ms. Bernstein was made a full partner at Nevada Defense Group, where she continues to provide intelligent and zealous advocacy in both criminal and appellate law.

Baylie Hellman Senior Criminal Litigator

Baylie Hellman has extensive experience in criminal defense throughout the state of Nevada. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature from the Metropolitan State University of Denver before obtaining her Juris Doctor from William S. Boyd School of Law in Las Vegas, Nevada.

While in law school, Ms. Hellman was an editor on the Nevada Law Journal and received top honors in Trial Advocacy. She also completed work with both the Clark County Public Defender’s Office and Special Public Defender’s Office, which exclusively handles only the highest level felonies in the state.

Prior to joining Nevada Defense Group, Ms. Hellman clerked for the Honorable James E. Wilson Jr. in the First Judicial District Court, overseeing many diverse matters and cases.

Ms. Hellman has handled criminal matters throughout Nevada, including but not limited to Clark County, Carson City, Storey County, Washoe County, Nye County, Mineral County, Douglas County, and Lyon County.

She has a strong passion for the legal process and every case she oversees. Outside of the courtroom, Ms. Hellman spends her free time cooking, reading, and enjoying time with her dogs.

Lesley Cohen Senior Family Litigator

Lesley Cohen was raised in Southern Nevada, and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno, and DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Cohen is licensed to practice in both Nevada and Utah, and she has practiced law in Southern Nevada for more than twenty years. 

During that time, Ms. Cohen has worked almost exclusively in the family law field because she understands that going to court can be intimidating, and she wants to give families the necessary guidance to navigate the court system in what can be a very stressful time in their lives. Over the last twenty years, Ms. Cohen has developed strong relationships with the judges and staff of the Family Court.

Ms. Cohen is also a National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law Uniform Law Commissioner who has participated in drafting law that has been utilized by states throughout the country.  In Southern Nevada, Ms. Cohen received the Clark County Bar Association Circle of Support Award in recognition of her work on the Continuing Legal Education Committee, which educates attorneys on the latest trends in the law so that they can best represent their own clients.  Every year, Ms. Cohen volunteers with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada to ensure that all people have access to legal advice and representation, regardless of income. 

Ms. Cohen is a member of the Nevada State Assembly, serving in the Nevada Legislature's 2013, 2017, and 2019 sessions.  Currently, she serves as Chairperson of the Assembly Health and Human Services Committee and has also chaired the Common Interest Communities Subcommittee and Interim Committee for Senior Citizens, Veterans, and Adults with Special Needs.  For her work as a member of the Legislature, Ms. Cohen received the National Federation of the Blind Nevada Chapter Outstanding Legislator Award, Hillel of Northern Nevada Landon Rosen Memorial Award, and the Henderson Democratic Club Richard Bryan Award for Outstanding Community Service.

When she is not working, Ms. Cohen is active in pet rescue, volunteering with both retired racing greyhounds and cats.  She also volunteers as a guide with Achilles Running Group for the blind, guiding blind and visually impaired walkers for their weekly training.

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