During Nevada’s earliest years, before other municipalities followed suit and loosened their marriage laws, many local attorneys carved out very comfortable livings handling uncontested divorces (Clark Gable and Ria Langham’s 1939 split helped Las Vegas eclipse Reno as the nation’s divorce capital).
As the casino industry took hold of the state, gaming law became the practice du jour. Attorneys cashed in on the growing field, creating niche practices and trying to land work with major gaming companies.
With time, however, many casino companies turned to in-house lawyers for counsel, and computers replaced attorneys in handling uncontested divorces.
More recently, the sour economy dictated the largest sector of growth in Las Vegas’ legal industry. After the economy tanked, firms hired bankruptcy lawyers in spades, said Walt Cannon, an attorney at Olson, Cannon, Gormley, Angulo and Stoberski.
Now, with the market showing signs of renewed vigor — new projects are popping up on the Strip and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is working hard to revitalize downtown,
in large part by funding technology startups — it’s likely Nevada’s legal landscape will see another shift.
Intellectual property and commercial real estate law are being touted as the new frontiers.