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

Sylvia Harrison

Senior Counsel

Bar Admissions
  • Nevada
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education
  • J.D., University of Montana
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Montana
  • M.S., Earth Sciences, Montana State University
  • B.S., Montana State University
Bar Admissions
  • Nevada
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court, District of Nevada
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
Education
  • J.D., University of Montana
  • Ph.D., Geology, University of Montana
  • M.S., Earth Sciences, Montana State University
  • B.S., Montana State University

Professional Background

Ms. Harrison regularly assists clients with environmental compliance and permitting matters, environmental due diligence, water law, mining and mineral development, public land law, and NEPA compliance. Ms. Harrison also works extensively in the development of renewable energy resources, representing lenders, investors and developers, including due diligence for complex project financing, negotiation and drafting of power purchase agreements and related documents, facility siting, permitting, and public land law.

Ms. Harrison, together with other attorneys in the firm, frequently serves as Nevada counsel in connection with the financing and evaluation of the potential acquisition of significant energy projects. Her primary responsibility generally includes the review of environmental compliance, permitting, and property positions, and the review, negotiation, and preparation of legal opinions for both lenders and developers. Recent specific projects have included the representation of a developer in financing transactions for one of the world’s largest solar projects, representation of lenders and equity investors in numerous other solar projects, refinancing for the expansion of a large geothermal facility, and re-financing of a 150-megawatt wind farm. She has also represented potential investors in compliance and permitting reviews in evaluation of the possible investment in a major gold mine.

Ms. Harrison also assists clients in complex commercial transactions, including environmental due diligence, acquisition of water rights, and compliance reviews. She has represented clients in bankruptcy cases, particularly in relation to mining and energy projects and environmental claims.

In the Chambers USA ranking of leading lawyers in Nevada Environmental Law, client references highlight that Ms. Harrison is a “good operator whom we hold in very high regard. “We have engaged her on an array of environmental matters and have found her to be extremely knowledgeable and efficient.” “She is a very high-caliber, top-notch lawyer, especially on water rights and permitting issues as well as public utility work.” “Sylvia has deep knowledge of the subject matter and is able to deliver on complex project financings.” “Sylvia has brought a deep expertise in water law and a thoughtful approach to the litigation strategy.”

Publications

  • Geothermal Resources in The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables, Michael B. Gerrard editor, American Bar Association, 2011.
  • Disposition of the Mineral Estate on United States Public Lands: A Historical Perspective, 10 Public Land Law Review 131.
  • Environmental Due Diligence in Real Property Transactions: Practice Pointers, Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 5, No. 1, January 1997.
  • The Historical Development of Nevada Water Law, 5 University of Denver Water Law Review, 148.
  • Effective Use of Phase I Environmental Assessments, Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 16, No. 9, September 2008.
  • Geothermal Resources, Who Owns What?, Nevada Lawyer, Vol. 17, No. 7, July 2009

Awards and Recognition

  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business – Environmental Law (2005-2023, Band 2)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – “Lawyer of the Year” in Energy Law (2021, 2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Environmental Law (2013-2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Energy Law (2020-2024)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Natural Resources Law (2024)
  • Martindale-Hubbell – AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating (since 2006)

Community Engagement

  • Member, Board of Trustees, Reno Philharmonic Association (currently serving fourth term, has chaired the Educational and Artistic Committees and served on the Governance and Executive Committees)
  • President, Board of Directors, Toiyabe Chamber Music Society (previously named Tahoe Chamber Music Society), 2019-current

Attorney News

Women’s History Month: Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association Social Event

McDonald Carano proudly sponsors the Women’s History Month celebration on March 28, 2024, hosted by the Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association and Washoe County Bar Association. The social event held…

Best Lawyers in America Recognized 12 Women Lawyers from 9 Practice Groups

McDonald Carano proudly announces that 12 women lawyers from nine Practice Groups in our Reno and Las Vegas offices have been recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers in…

McDonald Carano Receives Highest Number of Rankings in Chambers 2023

Chambers produces the global legal profession’s most respected and comprehensive rankings of lawyers and practice areas. Chambers researched law firms with offices in Nevada for inclusion in the 2023 edition…

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