Kathryn N. Nester
Kathy Nester has practiced law since 1992. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law, Kathy moved to Jackson, Mississippi, and went into private practice focusing on defending individuals charged with federal and state crimes and on representing individuals seeking money damages in state and federal civil cases. Kathy spent most of her time in the courtroom and tried a wide variety of felony cases including capital murder, murder, complex fraud, drug and weapons offenses. She also tried civil cases including wrongful death, employment discrimination, civil rights violations, and serious personal injury cases. In 2001, Kathy was named Mississippi Trial Lawyer of the Year.
In 2005, Kathy left private practice to join the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Jackson, where she worked exclusively on defending federal criminal charges including high profile cases and lengthy, complex trials. She also argued cases before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, Louisiana.
In 2011, Kathy was appointed to be the Federal Public Defender for the District of Utah. She managed an office of 25 Assistant Federal Public Defenders and a staff of over 25 paralegals, investigators and administrative employees. She also appeared as second-chair counsel before the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2015, the Utah Federal Bar Association awarded Kathy their Distinguished Service Award and her office also received the Jimi Mitsunaga Excellence in Criminal Law award from the Utah Minority Bar Association in recognition of their commitment to diversity and equal representation. During her time as the head of the office, Kathy also handled a caseload, including a capital murder case, a capital habeas case and several high profile complex fraud cases and sex offenses.
During the Obama administration, Kathy served as a representative of the Federal Public Defenders on the national Steering Committee for the historic Clemency Project 2014, which managed nearly 4,000 lawyers as they provided free legal services to more than 36,000 applicants for presidential clemency. Chief Justice John Roberts also appointed Kathy to serve on the Advisory Committee responsible for advising the United States Supreme Court on the Federal Rules of Evidence.
In 2018, Kathy was hired to be the Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of San Diego, California. She managed an office of over 60 attorneys and over 100 staff in a practice focused mainly on border and immigration-related crimes.
Kathy returned to Salt Lake City in 2022 to start Nester Lewis, PLLC, with her friend and former co-worker, Wendy Lewis.
Kathy is licensed to practice in Utah federal and state courts, California federal and state courts, Mississippi federal and state courts (although currently inactive with the State Bar), the Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
Kathy is a fellow of both the International Society of Barristers and the American College of Trial Lawyers. She is also active in the Inns of Court, the Federal Bar Association, the Utah Women Lawyers Association, and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She has trained lawyers across the country and her cases have appeared in national and international press coverage.
Wendy M. Lewis
Wendy Lewis graduated from the University of Utah College of Law in 1991, where she was a William H. Leary Scholar and a member and editor of the Utah Law Review. Upon graduation she moved to Denver, Colorado, where she clerked for the Honorable Robert H. MacWilliams of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. While clerking for Judge MacWilliams she worked on both Federal civil and criminal cases of all varieties. It was during this clerkship that she developed her love of criminal law.
In 1992, Wendy returned to Utah and worked as an associate for a private law firm where she handled complex criminal cases, and a variety of civil matters including personal injury, domestic and contract law. Wendy took numerous state and federal cases to trial while in private practice, including homicide, rape and fraud cases, and achieved a number of acquittals for her clients. Of particular note were the cases of State of Utah v. Valentino Colorow, in which Mr. Colorow was found not guilty of first degree murder, and State of Utah v. John Blanchard, in which Mr. Blanchard was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. Wendy also argued matters before the Utah Court of Appeals, the Utah Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
In 1997 Wendy returned to clerking and spent the following three and a half years as a law clerk to the Honorable Dale A. Kimball, Federal District Judge for the District of Utah. She again worked on cases in all areas of the law and became familiar with the inner workings of the federal bench in Utah.
In January of 2001 Wendy became an Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Utah, where she spent the next 21 years representing indigent defendants in Federal Court. During this time, she developed a focus on federal sex offenses and she is well-known for obtaining extremely favorable outcomes for her clients. Wendy also developed a reputation for outstanding representation of offenders under age 25 and has successfully argued for probation for serious felonies based on the brain development of young offenders. She also worked on many high profile and complex cases including United States v. Brian David Mitchell. Wendy served as the representative of the Utah Federal Public Defender’s Office in the District of Utah’s Tribal Reentry Court, where she traveled to tribal lands and worked with members of the tribal nations on successfully reentering society following federal convictions. For the past nine years, Wendy served as a senior-level supervisor in the FPD office and was assigned responsibility for case assignment, hiring and diversity recruitment efforts.
Wendy is active in the Federal Bar Association, the Utah Women Lawyers Association, and the Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She also serves as a mentor to law students and has worked as a volunteer in educational institutions.
In 2022 Wendy joined her good friend and former colleague Kathy Nester to start Nester Lewis PLLC.
Wendy is licensed to practice in Utah federal and state courts and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Wendy is a fifth generation Utahn and the mother of twin sons.
Alexa started her legal career assisting a family law attorney at the age of 14. She then went on to attend The University of Las Vegas where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Psychology. Throughout college, Alexa worked in personal injury and insurance defense firms as a paralegal throughout the Las Vegas valley.
In 2018, Alexa moved to San Diego to work as a paralegal for the Federal Defenders of San Diego where she gained extensive knowledge on immigration and criminal crimes.
Throughout her career, Alexa has assisted on cases that span from family law, medical malpractice, personal injury, corporate litigation, border crimes, wrongful death, defective products and much more.
In 2022, Alexa joined the dynamic duo of Kathy Nester and Wendy Lewis at Nester Lewis PLLC as a Paralegal. Alexa is a proud military wife to Sergeant James R. Drury and they both currently reside in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Edward graduated from the University of Utah studying Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science. He has worked on a wide range of projects, including work in data analytics, automation engineering, and designing process improvements for small and start-up businesses. In 2022, Edward helped Kathy and Wendy in managing the technical needs of starting Nester Lewis PLLC. In addition to now providing his services as a Paralegal, he continues to help in all things tech-related.