In His Own Words: Fennemore Craig attorney Steven Silva
Name/Title/Company: Steven Silva, Associate Attorney, Fennemore Craig, P.C.
Number of years with company: 4 months
Number of years in the profession: 7 years as an attorney, 12 years total.
Education: J.D. California Western School of Law; B.A. UMass, Boston
Last book read: Bleak House by Charles Dickens
Favorite movie: A Knight’s Tale.
Favorite musical group or genre: Miles Davis – who I think counts as both an artist and a genre.
Spouse, kids or pets: I am married to my wonderful wife, Katie Silva. We have three young kids, two dogs, and a cat.
Northern Nevada Business Weekly: Tell us about your company and the duties of your position.
Steven Silva: Fennemore Craig, is a full-service business law firm with offices in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix, Tucson and Nogales, Arizona; and Denver, Colorado. Whether it’s a business start-up, a particularly difficult transaction, or a complex dispute, Fennemore Craig, one of the 250 largest law firms in the country, provides a full range of legal services to businesses and individuals.
Our substantial business practice covers real estate, finance, public offerings, private placements, corporate reorganizations, mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, entity formation, intellectual property, estate planning, government relations and numerous other practice areas. Our litigation skills extend to virtually every area important to business, including product liability, business torts, insurance coverage and bad faith, environment and natural resources, employment, medical negligence defense, professional liability, real estate, securities, intellectual property, and tax controversies.
I primarily focus my practice in the areas of eminent domain and real property, as well as civil appellate practice. I represent government entities and private citizens in matters relating to real estate, especially government acquisitions and dispositions of land. Most of our work is done in written pleadings, motions and briefs, so I do a fair amount of reading and writing. I also appear in court frequently to advocate on behalf of my clients.
NNBW: How did you get into this profession?
Silva: I actually entered the legal profession as a paralegal in San Diego. I always had an interest in the law, and thought I might like it. So I went to paralegal school and got a job at a law office. It turned out that I did like law, so I went to law school.
NNBW: What do you enjoy most about working in your field?
Silva: I like helping people, and I like solving puzzles. Problem solving is very satisfying.
NNBW: What is the most challenging part about your job?
Silva: Law can be very stressful. It is very detail oriented, and very time sensitive. And, our system of law is inherently adversarial. For all the good work you’re doing, there is someone on the opposite side of the aisle doing equal and opposite work against you.
NNBW: What do you foresee in the future of your profession?
Silva: I foresee increasing automation as artificial intelligence improves over time. Traditional tasks like document review, checking quotations for accuracy against source material, and other mechanical tasks will probably be consigned to the digital realm. I think, however, that the human touch will continue to be indispensable, as the law is a fundamentally human enterprise. I think that creative problem solvers who are effective advocates will continue to be in demand.
NNBW: What advice would you give someone who wants to get into your profession?
Silva: Be clear-eyed about the nature of the profession. The practice of law is not an episode of “Law & Order.” I personally love law, and enjoy practicing. But I knew that going in because I worked at a law office before going on to law school. I would recommend that anyone interested in the law spend some time around real attorneys. If you can intern while in school, that can be invaluable.
NNBW: What was the best advice anyone ever gave you either professionally or personally?
Silva: “Get on the bus.” When there is an opportunity, take it. Don’t wait around, just get on the bus. I think it’s been useful advice professionally and personally.
NNBW: Do you belong to any professional/networking organizations? How has membership benefitted your career?
Silva: I’ve been involved with YPN and the American Inns of Court. Both of which have been great for meeting other motivated young professionals and attorneys. One of the great things about the Northern Nevada community in general, and the legal profession here in particular, is that with a little effort it is very easy to become involved in the community.
NNBW: How do you manage your time between the responsibilities of your profession and your personal life?
Silva: I try very hard to carve out uninterrupted family time. It can be difficult in a demanding profession, but nothing can replace time spent with family.
NNBW: Why did you choose a career in northern Nevada? What do you like about living/working here?
Silva: The Bar and Bench in Northern Nevada is very collegial and professional. There are a lot of very good attorneys here (most of them at Fennemore Craig), so there’s a great opportunity to work on challenging and interesting cases with high caliber counterparts.
NNBW: What was your first job?
Silva: I worked at an aircraft foundry turning 1,500 degree molten aluminum into airplane parts.
NNBW: What did you dream of becoming as a kid?
Silva: As a little kid, I wanted to work as a garbage collector because the trucks were awesome. Funnily enough, my oldest son is in absolute love with garbage trucks.
NNBW: Is there a nonprofit or charitable organization that you like to donate your time to?
Silva: I strongly support the Children’s Cancer Classic, a charity basketball game that raises funds for Northern Nevada children who are battling cancer.
Reno-based design firm MBA Architecture and Design is assisting on the $47 million Caesars Entertainment project in downtown Reno.