Updated: Oct 14, 2019
If you have not had the pleasure of meeting Rena McDonald, whether at a networking event or out and about supporting the many charitable organizations she works with, you have been missing out. Rena, as a life-long resident of Las Vegas, she epitomizes the vision of how Las Vegas used to be. Before the many tourists and expansions of Las Vegas to the outskirts of Red Rock mountains to the emerging northside, Rena has seen it all in her community. With her history growing up in Las Vegas, she strives to work hard to make her community a better place. As a strong legal presence advocating for justice for her clients, to the many charities she freely gives her time too, we felt having her on the cover as a strong businesswoman and role model was not only warranted but long overdue.
Q: How long have you been practicing law, and have you always owned your own firm?
I have been practicing for 15 years and started my career in a large firm. I hated the way the firm treated our clients and I knew I could do better. I founded the McDonald Law Group over 12 years ago and continue to grow.
Q: What fields of law you do you specialize?
The specialization question always make me smile. In a nutshell we specialize in helping people. Our clients' needs have grown and our practice areas have grown with them. Mainly we practice in Business, Real Estate, Estate Planning and Family Law. I think it is a huge benefit to our clients that we practice in different areas. An issue in a business matter can affect a family law case. Understanding the effects of these relationships is invaluable to our clients.
Q: In your experience, what has been one of your most challenging cases?
I always advocate aggressively for my clients and get personally invested in the results, so it's not surprising that I consider the cases when an opposing party uses the legal process to harass my clients the most challenging. The Court system gives a lot of leeway for questioning opposing parties and looking into their finances, etc. during the discovery process. When this is done, in my opinion, to harass, it can be incredibly difficult. But it gives me an opportunity to be creative with their responses for the betterment of my clients.
Q: Being this is our Real Estate issue, what advice can you give our readers that you think would be most beneficial when buying or selling real estate?
Ask questions. Agents and attorneys often use abbreviations and terms that most people are not aware of. Don't be afraid to ask what it means. The consequences of not asking can be huge.
Q: If a Real Estate transaction does go bad, what proactive advice can you give someone?
If you have concerns that something isn't going right, get expert advice quickly. Real estate purchases are incredibly restrictive in terms of time periods. If you miss a deadline it could really cost you. If you have a problem today, get help today, don't wait.
Q: Even when using a Realtor do you advise a client to still have the contract reviewed by their attorney?
Some states require that you use an attorney for ever transaction. While Nevada does not require it, there are definitely times it would benefit you to discuss the matter with a licensed attorney. Again, be proactive and get an attorney before you sign things. Consider the value of the purchase, I am constantly surprised by the value of the contracts that people enter into without any legal representation. A lot of people spend more time shopping online than they do when buying a house.
Q: It seems over time we have become a litigious society, do you ever find a time when a potential clients case seems so outrageous that you have turned it down, and can you tell us what that was?
This happens all the time. Potential clients think they have a case because their friend, hair dresser, mailman or delivery guy advised them they should sue. The Courts should be a last resort for cases where a person has been wronged and is injured as a result of that action. Even for clients with legitimate cases, we do a cost benefit analysis with them prior to accepting their case. It doesn't make sense to sue someone with no assets or to spend $10,000 to get $1,000.
Q: With the explosion of new online legal sites to create your own contracts, what advice would you give to someone who is thinking of using these sites versus working with an attorney?
You get what you pay for. Online sites can be ok for some situations but most contracts or agreements need to be very specific for that individual or issue. You may be able to diagnose yourself from an online medical site, but chances are that won't fix whatever is ailing you. The same can be said for form legal documents. I once had a case where the parties used an online legal contract creator. While my client eventually prevailed, it cost both parties thousand of dollars and the judge advised them both he wasn't awarding attorneys' fees because they both should have known better. Spending a little money up front can save you a lot of heartache and money in the future.
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