Q&A with George Ogilvie: Managing Partner of Nevada’s Oldest Full-Service Law Firm

“…McDonald Carano has grown in breadth and sophistication of its practice areas,” says managing partner George Ogilvie.

By George F. Ogilvie III

Nevada’s landscape has changed dramatically since the founding of McDonald Carano. How have you kept pace with these changes and what would you recommend for other law firms?

As McDonald Carano celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2024, we look back at the evolution of the firm since it was founded by U.S. Senator Alan Bible and Bob McDonald. Over that period of time, Nevada’s population has grown from 160,000 residents to nearly 3 million, the regulatory agencies overseeing the gaming industry have become the leaders in the industry, and the legal profession has changed from small contracts and quick divorces to mergers and acquisitions of publicly-traded corporations; sophisticated estate planning for ultra-high-net-worth individuals; and complex commercial litigation. Through it all, McDonald Carano has grown in breadth and sophistication of its practice areas.

To keep pace with change, law firm leaders need to be closely networked to stay abreast of emerging indicators of change, share their understanding of the factors causing change, and exchange their experiences with responses to change. Managing partners must attend national conferences and local roundtables like those hosted by Nevada Business Magazine and the Association of Corporate Counsel, which bring in-house and outside counsel together to discuss challenges that impact change in our profession.

Law firm leaders also need to be open to change, and a good place to begin is to analyze potential change from the perspective of clients. If a meaningful long-term benefit to clients can be identified, then firm-wide buy-in and implementation will be achieved more efficiently. However, openness to change among firm leadership is insufficient; leaders also need to foster a firm-wide culture that can both adopt and adapt to change. Today’s changes impact all lawyers, practice groups, offices, and departments in a law firm. Implementation requires a team effort involving ideas, energy, and support from everyone.

McDonald Carano has seen generations of lawyers pass through its doors. How does the firm foster mentorship and ensure the transfer of knowledge and legal expertise?

Mentorship and transferring knowledge and legal expertise are critical to the long-term success of any law firm. McDonald Carano prioritizes succession planning in all practice groups by directed recruiting and mentoring of the next generation of attorneys. New associates are paired with a partner for professional development, as well as to navigate their roles within the firm and become involved in the community. Mentors provide insights into our culture, values, and expectations. Mentors help associates develop the legal skills and knowledge necessary for success in their practice areas. We encourage advanced legal training for young attorneys, such as LL.M. programs for our estate planning and tax associates. We also encourage participation in programs designed to advance industry expertise and leadership in the business community, including the Developing Leaders Institute of the Commercial Real Estate Development Association and the leadership programs sponsored and conducted by the Reno/Sparks, Las Vegas, and Henderson Chambers of Commerce.

How has membership in the Clark County Bar Association benefited your firm over the years?

The Clark County Bar Association has been a resource and partner in our firm’s involvement in Nevada’s legal community since the opening of our Las Vegas office in 1986. We benefit from CLEs that address the practice and business of law, events that create opportunities to connect with judges and other lawyers, programs that arrange networking meetings with law students, and activities that facilitate giving back to the community. Our attorneys’ leadership in the legal profession is also enhanced by participating on CCBA committees and authoring articles in the Communiqué. We greatly appreciate and rely on CCBA’s leadership in regularly bringing together all members of the legal community to celebrate achievements, address collective challenges, and advance our profession. The team that runs the CCBA dedicates extensive time and energy, and we all benefit from the camaraderie, collegiality, and civility that their dedication helps create.

About the author

George F. Ogilvie III is the Managing Partner of McDonald Carano LLP and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. He is a member of the Construction Law & Litigation Practice Group and Commercial & Complex Litigation Practice Group.

About the article

© 2024 Clark County Bar Association (CCBA). All rights reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher. Editorial policy available upon request.

This article was originally published in the Communiqué (June/July 2024), the official publication of the Clark County Bar Association. See https://clarkcountybar.org/about/member-benefits/communique-2024/communique-june-july-2024/.

The articles and advertisements appearing in Communiqué magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the CCBA, the CCBA Publications Committee, the editorial board, or the other authors. All legal and other issues discussed are not for the purpose of answering specific legal questions. Attorneys and others are strongly advised to independently research all issues.

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