VEGAS INC: 13 more attorneys leaving Gordon Silver’s Nevada offices.
June 8th, 2015


Another group of attorneys is leaving Gordon Silver, further shrinking the Las Vegas law firm’s roster of lawyers.

Thirteen attorneys — seven in Las Vegas and six in Reno — are joining rival Dickinson Wright, nearly doubling that firm’s lawyer headcount in Nevada, according to a news release.

Their first day there is Monday, with six of them coming in as the equivalent of partners.

The departures are wiping out Gordon Silver’s small presence in Reno and depleting its already-shrunken ranks in Las Vegas.

Gordon Silver’s namesakes — Gerald “Jerry” Gordon and Jeff Silver — are among many who have left in recent months. Rumors have swirled among local attorneys that the firm, which has represented numerous big-name clients and traces its roots to the 1960s, may shut down.

In general, departing attorneys, particularly partners, take clients with them.

Silver, a casino-industry lawyer, joined Dickinson Wright last month. Those now following him include Gordon Silver litigation group chairman Michael Feder; Jennifer Ko Craft, chairwoman of the intellectual property and entertainment and sports departments; and John Desmond, litigation group leader in Reno.

Detroit-based Dickinson Wright has 15 offices — including the new one in Reno, where it didn’t have a presence until it plucked Gordon Silver’s lawyers — and more than 400 attorneys.

With the latest additions, it has 30 lawyers in Nevada, 24 of them in Las Vegas.

“This all happened relatively quick,” Feder said Friday.

The bulk defection comes after roughly 15 Gordon Silver attorneys recently left to launch a new firm. The group included managing shareholder Greg Garman, litigator Erika Pike Turner and bankruptcy department founder Gordon.

They launched a new firm, Garman Turner Gordon.

Criminal-defense lawyer Dominic Gentile also left in recent months, launching a separate firm with other ex-Gordon Silver shareholders.

Feder said that with the latest departures, Gordon Silver no longer has attorneys in Reno. He declined to say in detail why he and others are quitting.

“It just got to a point where we all felt it was best to find a different platform,” he said.

Mark Dzarnoski, who was elected managing shareholder of Gordon Silver last month after Garman left, did not respond Friday to requests for comment.

Last month, Dzarnoski said the firm was “assessing the prospects of what to do” in light of the resignations.

Gordon Silver has been known for its bankruptcy practice, having worked on high-profile cases involving, among others, the mothballed Fontainebleau resort, Las Vegas Monorail and the now-shuttered Riviera.

The firm had 39 local attorneys in spring 2014, making it the sixth-largest in the valley at the time, according to VEGAS INC research.

One outside, veteran lawyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last month that he heard Gordon Silver shareholders voluntarily did not get paid at the beginning of the year “to keep things going.”

On Friday, Feder neither confirmed nor denied this, saying he’d “rather focus on going forward than what’s happened in the past.”

Meanwhile, he’s not the only departing lawyer who won’t say publicly why people are quitting.

Gordon, who had been with the firm since he graduated from law school in 1973, said last month that he’d “rather not answer that” when asked why he was leaving.

“It’s complex, obviously, for me,” he said.

The firm’s struggles come after powerhouse law firm Lionel Sawyer & Collins — the largest in Las Vegas as of last spring with 64 lawyers — closed in late December.

The closure came after nearly 20 attorneys, including co-founder Sam Lionel and some who had just made partner, left en masse for rival Fennemore Craig.

Dickinson Wright opened its Las Vegas office in 2010. Eight attorneys from Lionel Sawyer & Collins joined the firm in January.


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