People will always remember how hard Sam Lionel worked for his casino clients in Nevada.

People will always remember how hard Sam Lionel worked for his casino clients in Nevada.

Home > People will always remember how hard Sam Lionel worked for his casino clients in Nevada.

People will always remember how hard Sam Lionel worked for his casino clients in Nevada.

Samuel “Sam” Lionel, a well-known lawyer in Nevada, died on Friday at the age of 103. He was known as the dean of the Nevada bar this week.
Lionel was a lawyer until he quit around the age of 100. He and his fellow lawyers at the law firm he worked at represented many of Las Vegas’s casinos and hotels for many years.

Del Webb, who built the Flamingo, and Paradise Development were two of his clients. Moe Dalitz was one of the first people to join that real estate company. Howard Hughes and Kirk Kerkorian, who was a partner in the MGM hotels, were two other clients.

In 2019, Sen. Jacky Rosen paid tribute to Sam Lionel on the floor of the US Senate by saying that he “played a key role in the conception and development of many of the hotels and casinos on the Las Vegas Strip,” which led to Nevada’s rapid growth and booming entertainment scene.

In 1967, Sam Lionel also opened the law firm of Lionel, Sawyer, and Collins. Grant Sawyer, who used to be governor, and Jon Collins, who used to be the head of the Nevada Supreme Court, were also partners.

“If there was one person who made practicing law in Nevada better after World War II, it was Samuel Lionel,” John Mowbray, managing partner of Spencer Fane’s Las Vegas office and former president of the Nevada Bar Association, told “One of Nevada’s legends, the dean of our Nevada bar, has just died.

How Important Gaming Law Is

Richard Morgan, the founding dean of UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law, told that Lionel, Sawyer, and Collins became known for their work in gaming law and regulation in Nevada and elsewhere.

Sam focused his practice on litigation and appeals, including cases involving his casino and hotel clients. His partner and close friend, Bob Faiss, was in charge of the regulatory department and represented major gaming clients in regulatory matters,” Morgan said.

When Morgan moved to Las Vegas in 1997 to start the Boyd School of Law, he said, “I quickly found out that Sam was the most respected lawyer in Nevada.”

“Almost every major Las Vegas casino company listed Sam as their attorney on any major piece of legislation and Grant Sawyer as their attorney on any major gaming application,” said Anthony Cabot, who began his own legal career at Sam Lionel’s firm.

“You could point to almost any Strip casino on a map from 50 years ago, and chances are they were Sam Lionel Sawyer’s clients,” Cabot, who is now a distinguished fellow in gaming law at UNLV’s law school, told

He thinks of Lionel as “the perfect lawyer and a very smart person.” As young lawyers, we were scared by how much Sam knew about the law.

He went to the offices of the younger lawyers often. He liked hearing about what they were doing.

“Because of his knowledge and interest, everyone became better lawyers,” Cabot said.

The business community in Las Vegas also knew about his skills.

Sam was the lawyer that people in Las Vegas went to when they had big problems. Some people call these issues “bet the company” issues,” Cabot said.

He was also one of the people who gave money to start the law school at UNLV. He also helped the Jewish people in Nevada.

Serve in the military

Sam Lionel was born in the Bronx, New York, on April 7, 1919, and went to St. John’s University School of Law.

During World War II, he was in the US Army. After working as an attorney in New York City, he joined the office of the Army Judge Advocate General. He also taught at West Point, which is part of the United States Military Academy.

In 1953, he made the decision to move to Nevada. Soon, he began his famous career as a lawyer.

Lionel’s daughter, Dana, and his wife, Lexy, are all still alive.

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