Mandy Shavinsky '00: Invigorating the Las Vegas Skyline
For many, Las Vegas is the ultimate party town, the place to go for a brief, exciting vacation. But Mandy Shavinsky's family has been rooted in Las Vegas for nearly fifty years. She says, "It was a very normal, suburban existence, quite the opposite of many common perceptions associated with Las Vegas."
Mandy spent her college years at University of Nevada-Las Vegas and headed east to Ohio State for law school after hearing glowing recommendations about the college from alumnus Brian Sandoval '89, who serves on the U.S. District Court, District of Nevada. While at OSU, Mandy developed an affinity for real property law after taking both her first-year property class and real estate finance law class with Professor Michael Braunstein.
It was by "sheer coincidence" that she found she enjoyed those subjects. She ultimately landed a position in the transactional department at a local Las Vegas firm upon graduation.
After a few years, Mandy made the transition to her current firm, Snell & Wilmer, where she focuses on real estate development for various types of property including condominiums, hotels, mixed-use developments, and office buildings. She credits the culture of her firm with further sparking her interest in real estate law. "It is very entrepreneurial and they encourage associates to take on a great deal of responsibility. I was working with high-profile clients as a fourth-year associate," she says. Though the work was intimidating in the beginning, the supportive environment helped Mandy tremendously. She found it highly rewarding to be able to handle a project from inception through completion, and her early experiences gave her an excellent foundation.
The current version of the Las Vegas skyline is not the one Mandy remembers from her youth. "Fifteen years ago, the resort sector of Las Vegas was simply the "strip," filled with hotels, many of which have since been imploded and replaced with mega-resorts, and downtown, which was declining at that point." Now, numerous mixed-use developments offer many opportunities for development, as well as entertainment. These new developments offer high-end retail, luxury residential condominiums and condominium hotels, casinos and upscale restaurants – amenities that can be enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. Perhaps most importantly, she notes, these developments provide new employment opportunities.
Mandy enjoys her position because it constantly encourages her to think creatively. Mixed-use projects are the most challenging because each component must have synergy with the others for the development to come to fruition and function efficiently. Mandy explains that these developments offer an array of work because of the long life-cycle of a mixed-use development: "We get involved with development at the beginning and help clients design a legal framework for their project — from obtaining entitlements all the way through helping them sell or lease various portions of the project." She also assists developers in drafting cost-sharing and easement agreements, construction contracts, and assists with the legalities of financing.
Mandy's work is a testament to her connection with and love for her hometown. What she loves the most, she says, is that "at the end of the day, I can look at new portions of the skyline and say, 'I had a hand in helping that come to be.'"
Friends wishing to get in touch with Mandy can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.