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

Bar Admissions
  • California
  • Nevada
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1998
  • B.A., Santa Clara University, History, 1995
Bar Admissions
  • California
  • Nevada
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • J.D., Santa Clara University School of Law, 1998
  • B.A., Santa Clara University, History, 1995

Professional Background

Josh Hicks leads McDonald Carano’s Government Affairs and Advocacy Group.  A veteran lawyer with deep roots in Nevada, Josh focuses his practice in four main areas.

Government Affairs

Josh leads a statewide team of lawyers and lobbyists representing clients before the Nevada Legislature, local governments, and state government agencies. The team’s clients include builders, contractors, developers, tech companies, trade associations, professional sports organizations, renewable energy providers, healthcare providers and professionals, education providers, and relocating and expanding businesses, among others.

State and Local Taxation

Josh represents clients on issues ranging from litigated tax disputes to advanced tax planning on a variety of state and local tax issues, including property tax, sales and use tax, live entertainment tax, transient lodging tax, gaming tax, commerce tax, modified business tax, tax abatements and incentives, and business license fees.

Real Estate and Land Use

Josh represents property owners, developers, and investors on all types of real estate projects, including residential and commercial/industrial projects, entitlements, and zoning issues. Josh’s background as a lawyer and a government affairs professional provides a unique skill set that focuses on a practical and pragmatic path to success for clients.

Election and Campaign Finance

As a former state attorney for the Secretary of State, Josh works with clients on a variety of issues in the electoral arena, including the drafting and defending of ballot petitions and advising on compliance with Nevada election and campaign finance laws.


Before joining McDonald Carano, Josh served as General Counsel and Chief of Staff to Governor Jim Gibbons. Prior to his work in the Governor’s Office, Josh was a Senior Deputy Attorney General for Attorney Generals Frankie Sue Del Papa, Brian Sandoval and George Chanos, representing the Nevada Department of Taxation, the Nevada Tax Commission, and the Nevada Secretary of State. Upon graduation from law school, Josh served as a law clerk to the Nevada Supreme Court and the United States District Court. Within the firm, Josh serves as the Co-Chair of the Marketing Committee and a member of the Compensation Committee. A fourth-generation Nevadan, Josh, and his family reside in Reno.

Representative Matters

Josh has argued cases in front of various Nevada District Courts, the Nevada Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He has been lead counsel on several published cases and numerous unpublished cases. Published cases include:

  • Malecon Tobacco v. Department of Taxation, 118 Nev. 837 (2002)
  • Meridian Gold v. Department of Taxation, 119 Nev. 630 (2003)
  • Department of Taxation v. DaimlerChrysler, 121 Nev. 541 (2005)
  • Herbst Gaming v. Heller, 122 Nev. 877 (2006)
  • Nevadans for the Protection of Property Rights v. Heller, 122 Nev. 894 (2006)
  • Nevadans for Nevada v. Beers, 122 Nev. 930 (2006)
  • The Education Initiative PAC v. Committee to Protect Nevada Jobs, 129 Nev.Adv.Op. 5 (Jan. 31, 2013)

Interviews – Nevada Newsmakers

Publications and Presentations

  • Author, “Nevada Legislative Update: Tax, Public Finance, Land Use & Zoning,” Communique’ magazine, Clark County Bar Association, September 2023
  • Quoted, “Homebuilders fared well in legislative session,” Las Vegas Review Journal, July 15, 2023
  • Presenter, “Nevada Legislature’s 2023 Session: New Laws and Regulations Impacting In-House Counsel,” Association of Corporate Counsel, June 29, 2023
  • Co-Author, 2022 Nevada Primary Election Results Guide, McDonald Carano Government Affairs & Advocacy Group publication
  • Co-Author, “Do’s and Don’ts for Employers Encouraging Employees to Vote,” Retail Association of Nevada newsletter, September 2021
  • Co-Author, “Nevada Legislative Session 2021: What You Need to Know,” McDonald Carano Government Affairs & Advocacy Group publication
  • Co-Author, American Bar Association Property Tax Deskbook – Nevada Chapter
  • Co-Author, American Bar Association Sales Tax Deskbook – Nevada Chapter

Awards and Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America – Government Relations (2018-2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Tax Litigation and Controversy (2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Real Estate Law (2024)
  • Northern Nevada Business Weekly, Best In Business awards – “Influential Leader” (2023)
  • Mountain States Super Lawyers Magazine – Rising Star (2012)
  • Nevada Business Magazine –“Legal Elite/Top Rank Attorneys” (2016)

Professional Affiliations and Community Engagement

  • Nevada Representative, American Property Tax Counsel
  • Member, 10+ years on Board of Directors and Executive Committee, Nevada Taxpayers Association, 2023 Chairman of the Board
  • President, Catamount Fund
  • Youth Mentor, Maison T. Ortiz Youth Outdoor Skills Camp
  • Manager, Reno National Little League

Attorney News

1st Place Law Firm and 1st Place Most Philanthropic Company in Best In Business Awards

Northern Nevada Business Weekly announced the results of its 2023 Best In Business Awards and McDonald Carano LLP received the highest number of votes in two categories – Law Firm…

Influential Leader Recognition in Best In Business Awards

McDonald Carano congratulates Matt Addison, Leigh Goddard, and Josh Hicks on being recognized in the “Influential Leader” category in the Best In Business 2023 Awards hosted by Northern Nevada Business…

Nevada Legislative Wrap-Up

The September 2023 edition of Communique’ magazine, published by the Clark County Bar Association, features brief summaries of select highlights of legislation passed during the 82nd Session of the Nevada…

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