In his own words: John Desmond, Gordon Silver shareholder

Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.

John Desmond: I am the partner in charge of the Reno office of the Gordon Silver law firm. In addition to having a fulltime practice in the areas of commercial litigation and appellate practice, I also oversee the operations of the Reno office and manage the Reno practice. Our Reno office offers expertise in a number of diverse areas including commercial litigation, bankruptcy, employment law, corporate work, real estate transactions, government affairs and a state and local government practice.

NNBW: How did you get into this profession?

Desmond: Four of my older siblings pursued careers in the medical profession but I was always intrigued by the argument and persuasive aspects of being a lawyer.

NNBW: What's the most important thing you have learned in your career?

Desmond: Set the bar high and do not underestimate yourself.

NNBW: What's been the most challenging case in which you have been involved? Why was it difficult?

Desmond: It was a case involving fraud in a business transaction. The challenge was to distill down complex accounting and financial issues from the underlying transaction and present them in a way to satisfy the higher standard of proof for fraud claims.

NNBW: What was your first job?

Desmond: I assisted with the bookkeeping duties in my father's pharmacy and performed other odd jobs around the pharmacy; all of my siblings worked there at some point when we were growing up.

NNBW: Tell us about your dream job. Why aren't you working it?

Desmond: River guide in Queenstown, New Zealand. Perhaps it could be a second career.

NNBW: Have any advice for someone who wants to enter your profession?

Desmond: Be dogged, determined and persistent and don't forget that integrity is paramount.

NNBW: What's the most fun you have had on the job?

Desmond: Representing anonymous bloggers in a First Amendment free speech case that was argued to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the campus of UNLV. The constitutional issues at argument were interesting and the students in the auditorium brought a higher level of energy to the argument.

NNBW: What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?

Desmond: Take risks, persevere and trust your instincts.

NNBW: What are your favorite hobbies or pastimes? How do you spend your time away from work?

Desmond: Running and hiking. I try to spend weekends at Donner Lake with my family.

NNBW: If you could live your life over again, what one thing would you change?

Desmond: Travel more and appreciate earlier in life all the things my parents did for me when I was young.

NNBW: What has been your best professional accomplishment?

Desmond: My best professional accomplishment has been arguing cases of first impression to the Nevada Supreme Court at to what the policy of the state should be on certain issues.

NNBW: What did you dream of becoming when you were a kid?

Desmond: A professional water ski boat driver. (I wanted to be the boat driver for the water ski show at Marine World).

NNBW: What can you do that someone else can't?

Desmond: Think independently.

NNBW: If you had enough money to retire right now, would you? Why or why not?

Desmond: No. There are still things I would like to accomplish personally and professionally.

NNBW: What's the last concert or sporting event you attended?

Desmond: San Francisco Giants baseball.

NNBW: Where's your perfect vacation spot?

Desmond: New Zealand.

NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like most about working/living here?

Desmond: I was born and raised in Reno and enjoy all the natural attractions the area has to offer. I most enjoy the close knit nature of the local bar and that for the most part, local lawyers are willing to extend courtesies to each other based on the professional relationships that exist.

The basics:

Name: John Desmond, shareholder, Gordon Silver.

How long have you been in this job? One year.

How long in the profession? 18 years.

Education: I graduated from Bishop Manogue High School, the University of Nevada Reno, and attended law school in Michigan. I am licensed to practice law in Nevada and California.

Last book read? "Instant Survivor" by Jim Moorhead.

What's on your iPod? Beck.

The best movie ever? "Goldfinger"

Spouse, kids or pets? Wife Morgan, two children.

Know someone whose perspective you want to share with NNBW readers? Send contact information to: or call (775) 850-2146.


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