The Eagle And The Prince
Partners Robert Eglet and Dennis Prince of Eglet Prince Embody Power, Class and Knowledge in Southern Nevada
By Charlotte Evans & Tyler Morgan
Have you ever thought about getting involved in politics in Southern Nevada? If so, have you spoken with longtime trial attorney Robert Eglet? Because more than being your typical trial attorney, as a staunch Democrat who is well respected by Republicans, Eglet is often at the top of candidates’ lists of “must-have” supporters.
Aside from deep pockets—think more than a billion dollars awarded in trials and settlements—Eglet has fundraising capabilities beyond the norm and a long history of political involvement. His friend and U.S. Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, was present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Eglet’s new state-of-the-art $18 million office building. While few other attorneys, even at the national level, can claim they had their state’s senator, members of the state’s delegation and their city’s mayor attend the opening of their law firm, many of Nevada’s politicians and judges have enjoyed Eglet’s support. Is he a “power broker?” Eglet doesn’t see it that way. “I’m a progressive….I believe in government and I believe the government can do a lot of good things [for people].”
EGLET ON POLITICS
Robert Eglet is a powerful negotiator, and occasionally, a lobbyist. This past legislative season, Eglet used his political prowess to lobby in Carson City against what he calls “anti-consumer bills.” As a strong advocate for consumer rights, he says he had no other choice but to personally bring the fight to our capitol.
“Some of the bills that were proposed would have harmed all consumers, including my clients, in their right to seek fair legal redress,” says Eglet. The result of his lobbying? Another stat for the win column, like the ones he garnered to earn the 2014 National Trial Attorney of the Year. Eglet’s work as a lobbyist is likely to continue, thanks (or no thanks, as the case may be) to term limits. “Term limits have destroyed our ability to sustain continuity,” he says. “We aren’t giving our legislators enough time to work, and we have great legislators who have been pushed out of office because of [12-year] limits.”
In addition to consumer rights, Eglet advocates for changing the Nevada Constitution protocol requiring that judges run for office. “I think it’s unfortunate that the judges have to go around with their hats in their hands asking for contributions,” says Eglet. “It’s a humiliating process, and the attorneys who contribute dread it too. I’ve been criticized in the past for contributing, but I feel it’s my civic responsibility and my responsibility to my clients to see qualified people become judges.”
Eglet says it’s important to note that the Nevada Constitution was established when the population was small and residents across the state were more familiar with the candidates. Today, he says, that is not the case.
Many wonder if Eglet will ever run for office, but for now says he has no plans to do so. “I believe I am more effective helping people in the courtroom,” he says.
EGLET THE LITIGATOR
Eglet holds the record for the largest verdicts and settlements in Nevada history as a trial attorney (in the last 10 years he’s shepherded more than $1.5 billion). His list of honors and accolades includes the previously mentioned National Trial Lawyer of the Year award from the National Trial Lawyers Association as well as being the only attorney from Nevada named one of the nation’s Elite Trial Lawyers by the National Law Journal. “We’ve had a lot of success and I credit that to the dedication and skill of all the people at the firm,” says Eglet. “Our clients have done well and I’m happy about that.”
Eglet’s impressive track record of verdicts and settlements has afforded him luxuries befitting a billion-dollar barrister, including what many recognize as the most luxurious office building in the state. The Eglet Advocacy Center is an elegant, eco-friendly office building featuring award-winning architecture fashioned from the early days of Las Vegas. Outside the building is a plaque honoring one of Las Vegas’ founding fathers, Pop Squires, whose home once stood at the site of the building across the street from the original Las Vegas High School. Inside the building is breathtaking décor that rivals the Palace Versailles, from its marble floors to crystal chandeliers. The office building is equipped with electric car charging stations, a full gym with showers and four conference rooms on each floor; but the building’s jewel is the lavish mock courtroom, which serves as a teaching space for both attorneys and students of the law. As a graduate of UNLV, Eglet wanted to provide a place near Downtown where students could interact with top legal professionals and from where webinars could be broadcasted.
Eglet also enjoys teaching and holding seminars around the country. He says he’s passionate about trial law and mentoring young people who are motivated to help others. “I tell them, if you’re getting into the profession to become rich, you’re better off getting a job on Wall Street. You become a trial lawyer because you know it’s what you were born to do.”
ENTER THE PRINCE
Dennis Prince, like his partner Robert Eglet, is another heavyweight in the courtroom. Prince is on the list of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers Association and together with Eglet brings proverbial “shock and awe” to court when they try cases together.
Prince’s path began similarly to Eglet’s. While in law school in 1991, he began clerking at the firm of Beckley Singleton (and coincidentally, in 1985, Eglet, was a Beckley Singleton associate and had sat at the same desk).Through their Beckley Singleton connection, Eglet and Prince quickly became friends and formed a lasting bond that both describe as one of “brothers.”
Both attorneys were raised by hard-working single mothers in low-income southern Nevada homes. Both were the first in their families to go to college, relying, in part, on scholarships. They began their careers as trial attorneys, successfully representing defendants. In time, they struggled to separate from what they had established as defense attorneys to become plaintiff lawyers. At times the transition seemed near impossible, and when potential clients approached them for representation, they were almost always conflicted out of the case due to their current firm’s representing so many insurance carriers. It was inevitable they would have to jump ship if they were to ever represent plaintiffs.
WORKING AMID CRISIS
In 1997, Eglet and Prince decided to leave their respective firms to begin their first partnership with the goal of maintaining their current insurance clients until they retained enough new clients to forgo defense work; however, two weeks after partnering, Eglet was crushingly diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Months of surgery and rehabilitation followed for Eglet, who had to relearn how to speak after his tumor was removed. While Eglet was out of the office, Prince’s double-duty workload maintained the firm and its clients. Eglet eventually fully recovered, but once again the two found themselves consumed with insurance defense work. At that time, they decided to part ways professionally. “I think my illness was an epiphany [which] made me want to do full-time plaintiff [work]. I didn’t want to do work that I wasn’t happy to be doing.”
Prince continued on as a tremendous defense attorney and formed Prince and Keating, a highly regarded defense firm. Meanwhile, Eglet became one of the greatest plaintiff attorneys in the country. Over time, the two friends rejoined forces. Earlier this year they formed Eglet Prince to finish what they had once started.
PRINCE’S PERSONAL PASSIONS
Prince is often recognized for his commitment to Nevada’s young people. He currently serves on the board of directors for Substance Free Nevada, an organization dedicated to keeping children active and away from drugs.
A father of three, he instinctively understands that by keeping children active, there is a higher likelihood they will stay out of trouble while developing skills and self-esteem. “Dennis is an exceptional father,” says Eglet. “I’ve learned a great deal from him about raising kids. It was no surprise that they asked him to serve on the board.”
Prince offers his time and efforts to help support kids in after school activities such as sports and music. He also assists in raising money for sports equipment and other needs, and says he enjoys being of service. “It’s important to be respectful of your role in people’s lives,” says Prince. “If I’m involved, you will get my very best.”
Eglet and Prince are excited to be back together in partnership as battle-tested heavyweights who have each other’s back at all times. “We’re fearless,” says Prince. “No one works harder or smarter.” While their success has changed their circumstances, it has not steered them away from their values forged during hardship. They are fiercely committed to helping those in need. “Always be respectful of your role as an attorney because you may be your client’s only [experience] with the judicial system, and it is a privilege to be someone’s advocate,” says Prince. Adds Eglet: “Always make sure your practice is client-centered. Every day, try to improve and never stop educating yourself.”
The law firm of Eglet Prince keeps an open door policy for other attorneys. “We’re always happy to help another attorney with litigation,” adds Eglet. “And when another [attorney] decides to use us to handle a case, we allow that attorney to stay as active as they choose.” Eglet and Prince both say they hope to elevate the practice of all attorneys in any way they can. “There is always room to improve,” says Prince. “When you think you know it all, that’s when you need to get to the next level.”
Although work can be intense and the stakes seem high, both men say it’s important to maintain perspective. “The toughest closing argument I ever gave was my mother’s eulogy,” says Eglet.