Celebrating 75 Years of Serving Nevada’s Legal, Business, Government, and Civic Communities

Celebrating Our Past and Future

“McDonald Carano’s founders created an institution that is an integral part of Nevada’s modern history and continues to influence our State’s future. Our success is based on the culture of commitment established by our founders – a commitment to our clients, to our communities, and to each other. Our 75th anniversary celebrates all the people who built our firm, have sustained it over seven decades, and are leading its future,” said McDonald Carano Managing Partner, George F. Ogilvie III.

Continuing Our Impact

On January 1, 2024, we received a Certificate of Recognition and a Letter of Commendation from Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo expressing his “sincere gratitude for your significant contributions to the prosperity and well-being of our state. The residents of Nevada have benefitted from McDonald Carano’s countless contributions and dedicated service to the state’s government and its legal, business, and civic communities. The members of McDonald Carano embody the true spirit of Nevadans. I commend McDonald Carano for 75 years of excellence and I look forward to the continued positive impact McDonald Carano will have on Nevada.”

Introducing Our Founders

In 1949, Robert McDonald, a distinguished World War II fighter pilot, began his legal career as a Nevada Deputy Attorney General working with Nevada Attorney General Alan Bible. McDonald was subsequently appointed a United States Deputy Attorney General, and Bible served as Nevada Attorney General for eight years then a United States Senator from Nevada for 20 years. The two colleagues formed Bible & McDonald and remained law firm partners until the United States Senate adopted rules prohibiting lawyer members from maintaining private law practices. Donald Carano joined the firm in 1962 and became a partner in 1963. Carano established the Eldorado Hotel and Casino in 1973, which became the largest casino and entertainment company in the U.S. after acquiring Caesars Entertainment.

Honoring Our Alumni Judges

McDonald Carano’s commitment to public service is integral to our culture and is a fundamental principle in the founding of our firm. We are proud of the McDonald Carano attorneys whose commitment to public service leads them to serve as judges. To date, that includes the following alumni – U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Carla Baldwin, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Valerie P. Cooke, Second Judicial District Court Judge Kathleen M. Drakulich, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Miranda M. Du, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew P. Gordon, U.S. District Court Judge Larry R. Hicks, Eighth Judicial District Court Judge T. Arthur Ritchie, Jr., Second Judicial District Court Judge Deborah E. Schumacher, and Second Judicial District Court Judge Margaret Springgate. All but two are current judges.

Exploring Our Timeline

Please scroll through the timeline below to learn about the people and events that create McDonald Carano. McDonald Carano is the only full-service statewide law firm that remains from the pioneering Nevada-founded firms that established Nevada’s legal community. McDonald Carano embodies Nevada’s “Battle Born” character as the firm proudly continues to thrive as an independent Nevada law firm. We are multigenerational Nevadans with deep ties to our great State.

  • 1940

    • 1949

      Nevada Deputy Attorney General Robert McDonald and Nevada Attorney General Alan Bible formed Bible & McDonald.

  • 1960

    • 1962

      Don Carrano joined at the time the firm obtained a major client, the Crystal Bay Development Company, which was the developer of Incline Village. The firm formed the Incline Village General Improvement District to govern and levy taxes to pay for facilities and services for the communities of Incline Village and Crystal Bay, Nevada. Bob McDonald was an appointed member of the initial Board of Trustees. The firm also formed the improvement district of Stateline and represented the North Shore Club, Crystal Bay Club, Harolds Club, and the Primadonna Club.

    • 1964

      Thomas R.C. “Spike” Wilson II joined the firm in 1964. His clients included William Powell Lear, inventor and founder of Learjet, a manufacturer of business jets for civilian and military use. Spike served as a Nevada state Senator from 1970 to 1986.

  • 1970

    • 1970

      Leo P. Bergin III joined the firm in 1970. In addition to his practice, Leo served as the firm’s financial and operations manager, as well as Managing Partner from 1972-2002. Leo’s clients included many of the region’s founding Italian families, the southern Reno farming community, and numerous contractors and other local businesses.

    • 1973

      John Frankovich joined the firm in 1973 from the Washoe County District Attorney’s office. Led by Leo Bergin, in 1973 the firm financed, built, and moved into its own four-story office building at 241 Ridge Street. Also in 1973, Don Carano demonstrated his pioneering status in the gaming industry by opening the Eldorado Hotel and Casino in Reno, which became the largest casino and entertainment company in the U.S. upon acquiring Caesars Entertainment Corporation in 2020.

    • 1978

      Senior Deputy Attorney General A.J. “Bud” Hicks joined the firm in December 1978 as a Partner and further expanded the firm’s gaming practice. The firm’s clients included the Pension Fund of the Teamsters Union in Nevada, which provided critical financing for casinos, and Bally Manufacturing, the first publicly traded gaming company licensed in Nevada. In January 1979, Bud’s brother, Washoe County District Attorney Larry Hicks, joined the firm as a Partner. Valerie Strandell also joined in 1978 and became the firm’s first female Partner.

  • 1980

    • 1980

      Washoe County Deputy District Attorney William A. S. Magrath II joined the firm in 1980 and expanded the litigation practice. Bill began his legal career in 1976 as a law clerk to the Honorable William N. Forman of Nevada’s Second Judicial District Court. Robert E. Armstrong (L.L.M. in Taxation from New York University School of Law, J.D. from Georgetown University) also joined the firm in 1980. Bob developed and grew the Trust & Estates Practice in Northern Nevada.

    • 1982

      James W. Bradshaw joined the firm in 1982 after a judicial clerkship in the Second Judicial District Court of the State of Nevada. In 1986, Jim moved from Reno to Las Vegas to open the firm’s Las Vegas office after merging Boyd & Huff into the firm. He served as Managing Partner of the Las Vegas office until he returned to Reno in 1992. Jim served with the Nevada Air National Guard during the First Gulf War (Persian Gulf War or Operation Desert Storm) and returned with a Distinguished Flying Cross.

    • 1987

      John J. McCune and Timothy E. Rowe joined the firm in 1987. John was known as the Dean of construction litigation in Nevada. John and Tim developed and grew the firm’s Construction Law & Litigation Practice.

    • 1989

      Matt Addison joined the firm as a law clerk in 1989. He became an Associate 1991, a Partner in 1998, and has been serving as Managing Partner of the Reno office since 2018. Matt is a life-long resident of Reno.

  • 1990

    • 1990

      Led by Leo Bergin, in 1990 McDonald Carano became a founding firm in Meritas for the state of Nevada. Meritas provides McDonald Carano with a virtual presence in over 90 countries through a certified network of over 185 law firms that provide our clients with the full range of business law services.

    • 1992

      George F. Ogilvie III joined the firm’s Las Vegas office in 1992 from the Clark County Public Defender's Office. George has served as the Managing Partner of the Las Vegas office since 1994, a member of the Executive Committee since 1994, and the Managing Partner of the firm since 2019.

    • 1993

      Scott Swain (LL.M. in Estate Planning from University of Miami School of Law, J.D. from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School) joined the firm in 1993 and expanded the Trust & Estates Practice in Southern Nevada.

    • 1994

      Pat Lundvall joined the firm in 1994 and expanded and deepened the Commercial & Complex Litigation Practice. Led by Pat and Jim Bradshaw, in 1998 the firm became counsel for the California Franchise Tax Board defending CFTB in a Nevada lawsuit brought by Gilbert P. Hyatt. After a complete defense victory, on April 6, 2022, the court awarded CFTB $2,262,815.56 in recoverable costs and concluded over 24 years of litigation that overturned U.S. Supreme Court precedent dating back to 1979.

    • 1999

      From 1999 to 2006, McDonald Carano increased the depth and breadth of our legal services with the following attorneys who joined our firm and continue to lead the firm as Partners in our Reno and Las Vegas offices, including Andrew Gabriel (1999), Aaron Shipley (2001), Leigh Goddard (2002), Ryan Works (2002), Cody Noble (2003), Kristen Gallagher (2005), and Amanda Yen (2006). In 2024, this team celebrates 18-25 years at McDonald Carano, with expertise in business transactions, real estate, employment and labor, bankruptcy, tax, trust and estates, commercial litigation, and appellate law.

  • 2000

    • 2002

      John Frankovich became Managing Partner in 2002 and served in that role until 2016.  In 2002, the firm name changed to McDonald Carano Wilson LLP. 

    • 2003

      The Reno office moved to 100 West Liberty Street from the firm’s own four-story office building which it built at 241 Ridge Street and where the firm had been since 1973.

  • 2010

    • 2010

      George Ogilvie and Bill Magrath became counsel to Perini Building Company, the general contractor that sued MGM to enforce a $492 million mechanic’s lien, and to defend against claims of construction defects arising from MGM’s construction of the 67-acre gaming and mixed-use urban CityCenter complex on the Las Vegas Strip. The highly publicized litigation successfully settled in 2015.

      2010-2021
      From 2010 to 2021, eighteen attorneys joined our Reno and Las Vegas offices, including Lisa Wiltshire-Alstead (2010), Rory Kay (2011), Amanda Perach (2011), Adam Hosmer-Henner (2012), Lucas Foletta (2013), Greg Giordano (2015), Mark Knobel (2015), Lance McKenzie (2015), Mike Whittaker (2015), Phil Mannelly (2016), Dennis Gutwald (2017), Chelsea Latino (2017), Brian Schusterman (2017), Sallie Armstrong (2017), John Galvin (2017), A.G. Burnett (2018), Dan Aquino (2021), and James Robertson (2021). This strong team of Partners increases the depth and breadth of our legal services in construction, gaming, business transactions, employment and labor, real estate, bankruptcy, energy, commercial litigation, appellate, tax, trust and estates, and government affairs.

    • 2015

      Greg Giordano joined the firm in 2015, having served earlier in his career as the first Chief of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Corporate Securities Division and as a Deputy Nevada Attorney General in its Gaming Division, representing the Nevada Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission.

    • 2016

      In 2016, the firm name changed to McDonald Carano LLP. In 2016, Joshua J. Hicks joined the firm to develop, expand, and lead the Government Affairs and Advocacy Group.

    • 2017

      Robert Armstrong co-drafted the bill that created NRS Chapter 669A-Family Trust Companies, which authorized the formation, operation, and regulation of both licensed and unlicensed family trust companies in Nevada, the first state to permit both forms of family trust companies. In 2016, Armstrong drafted NAC Chapter 669A-Family Trust Companies, which laid the regulatory framework for the examination of licensed family trust companies in Nevada. These laws and regulations fostered tremendous growth of fiduciary business in Nevada. McDonald Carano quickly became a leader in serving ultra-high-net-worth clients and also created a subsidiary named Sierra Fiduciary Support Services.

    • 2018

      In 2018, Matt Addison became Managing Partner of the Reno office. Also in 2018, A.G. Burnett, a former Chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, joined the firm. A.G. served as a gaming regulator for nearly 20 years before joining McDonald Carano.

    • 2019

      In 2019, George Ogilvie was elected Managing Partner of the firm. When George joined McDonald Carano in 1992, the firm was comprised of 20 attorneys and has grown to more than 60 attorneys and government affairs professionals serving clients throughout Nevada.

  • 2020

    • 2020

      On June 26, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission approved Eldorado Resorts, Inc.’s $17.3 billion acquisition of Caesars Entertainment Corporation, creating the largest casino and entertainment company in the U.S. Eldorado Resorts traces its history back to the Eldorado Hotel in Reno, which was opened on May 24, 1973, by a group of investors that included Don Carano and other members of the Carano family. McDonald Carano LLP assisted in obtaining all Nevada state gaming regulatory approvals for the acquisition.

    • 2021

      On December 13, 2021, Hard Rock International announced its agreement to acquire The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from MGM Resorts International for $1.075 billion. On December 16, 2022, HRI received regulatory approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission for the acquisition. In addition to serving as Special Nevada Gaming Counsel to Hard Rock International to assure compliance with Nevada’s gaming law licensing and regulatory approval procedures, McDonald Carano also served as local counsel on various real estate matters involved in the acquisition.

    • 2022

      Liberty Media Corporation, the commercial rights holder of Formula One racing, brought Formula One racing to the Las Vegas Strip in November 2023. In 2022, McDonald Carano represented Liberty Media Corporation in connection with numerous real estate matters, including the acquisition of land for its racecourse and location of the pit and paddock, as well as providing ongoing real estate and commercial leasing advice.