John Seelmeyer

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July 9, 2012
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Phoenix-based law firm now home to Jones Vargas attorneys

The shareholders of the Jones Vargas law firm last winter started recruiting talent to join the firm after a series of high-profile defections.

Instead, they got recruited themselves.

Eight Jones Vargas attorneys in Reno, along with 15 more in Las Vegas, left the firm last week to join Phoenix-based Fennemore Craig.

The firm will operate in Nevada as Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas.

But little else will change, said Ann Morgan, a former Jones Vargas shareholder who now will serve as managing partner of the Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas office in Reno.

The company will continue to maintain its Reno office at 300 E. Second St. Anyone working for Jones Vargas who wanted to make the transition was offered a position, Morgan said.

Shareholder attorneys who left Jones Vargas to join the new firm in Reno include William "Dave" Davis, Elizabeth Fielder, John P. Sande III and Morgan.

Associate attorneys who made the switch include Wayne Klomp, Miranda Mahe and John P. Sande IV. Albert Pagni, who serves in an of-counsel role, also joined Fennemore Craig Jones Vargas.

Fennemore Craig didn't previously have a presence in Reno. With the addition of the 15 former Jones Vargas attorneys in Las Vegas, the firm's presence in southern Nevada now includes 28 attorneys.

Morgan noted that major law firms increasingly have a regional footprint serving multiple states in the Mountain West, for instance as their business clients often have interests that stretch across numerous state lines.

A regional approach also provides a measure of diversification to law firms that otherwise ride the economic strengths and weaknesses of a single city or a single state.

Morgan said the practice areas of the two firms were compatible both are heavily business-law and government-relations firms and the two firms share community-oriented, client-focused philosophies.

Fennemore Craig numbers nearly 200 attorneys in offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Nogales, Denver, Las Vegas and Reno. The firm was launched in 1885 as a two-lawyer office.

Jones Vargas traced its roots in Reno to 1928, when Milton Reinhart and Morley Griswold launched an office in Reno after years of practicing in rural Nevada.

The firm's history extended down two branches. In Reno, the firm launched by Reinhart and Griswold later became Vargas and Bartlett. Starting in the 1940s, meanwhile, the firm of Jones, Jones Close & Brown began growing in Las Vegas.

The two firms combined into Jones Vargas in 1997.

In northern Nevada, the firm's leaders included State Sen. William Raggio, the longtime legislative leader who died in February.

Jones Vargas also experienced other significant departures last winter.

Shareholder Michael Alonso left the Reno office of Jones Vargas to join the gaming practice group of Lewis and Roca.

Jones Vargas shareholders John Desmond, Brian Irvine, Molly Rezac and Brett Scolari left to create a new Reno office for Las Vegas-based Gordon Silver.

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Northern Nevada Business Weekly Updated Jul 9, 2012 12:00AM Published Jul 9, 2012 12:00AM Copyright 2012 Northern Nevada Business Weekly. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.