Updated April 22, 2022 - 2:06 pm
Former Nevada Gov. and U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan retired from law firm Fennemore Craig this month.
Bryan, who retired April 1, joined the firm’s Las Vegas office in 2015 as a director, after previously serving at Lionel Sawyer & Collins. His practice focused on goverment relations at the federal, state and local levels, particularly in the area of public land use issues.
Bryan did not immediately return a request for comment.
Fennemore CEO James Goodnow described the former senator as one of the firm’s finest attorneys.
“The word ‘legend’ is overused, but when it comes to describing our very own Senator Richard Bryan, the term doesn’t even come close to describing this man’s extraordinary life in politics and the legal profession,” Goodnow said in an emailed statement.
“Two terms as the Governor of Nevada; two terms in the U.S. Senate; and many years of service to our clients here at Fennemore; one of our finest attorneys will retire and begin the next chapter in his life,” he said. “We bid Senator Bryan a fond farewell, and give endless thanks for his service to our clients and the goodwill he inspired at our firm, and in the Nevada community.”
Bryan, a member of the Democratic Party, started his legal career in 1964 as a deputy district attorney for Clark County. He was then named the county’s first public defender two years later, at age 28, making him the youngest person in America to hold that title when he took the post.
He stepped out of the role to serve in the state Assembly from 1968 to 1972, helping to pass the Corporate Gaming Act, which cleared the way for publicly traded corporations to own casinos in Nevada. From 1972 to 1978 he served as a state senator and then was elected attorney general.
In 1982, Bryan was elected governor, defeating incumbent Robert List. Bryan served two terms, during which economic diversification and attracting businesses to Nevada were priorities.
He also served two terms in the U.S. Senate, first elected in 1988. One of his significant accomplishments included sponsoring the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act of 1998. The law did away with Bureau of Land Management swaps in favor of an auction system that generates more money for local governments and lets them acquire federal land for parks, trails and schools and other public uses.