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William E. Peterson

William E. Peterson

Partner| Reno


Bill Peterson has been a commercial, administrative and personal injury litigator for over 30 years. His practice encompasses energy law, utilities, complex torts and all facets of commercial litigation in state and federal court. Bill has considerable trial experience, having obtained the largest jury verdict in Lassen County, California; Carson City, Nevada (both since superseded), and a $3 million judgment in a wrongful death case in Lyon County, Nevada. He has also succeeded in reversing regulatory decisions disallowing over $40 million in investment and/or expense. Bill has tried over 40 cases to jury verdict and approximately 50 bench trials to judgment, many of several weeks duration. He has over 20 reported decisions in the Federal Supplement, Federal Reporter, Nevada Supreme Court Reports and the California Appellate Reports. Bill has successfully defended numerous clients in cases of significant exposure.

Bill also spent ten years as the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Sierra Resources (now NV Energy), Nevada Power Company and Sierra Pacific Power Company. In his position as general counsel for Sierra Pacific and Nevada Power Company Bill supervised, participated in or personally led over 30 public utility proceedings in Nevada and California and at the FERC dealing with general rate cases, energy cases, merger and acquisition matters, contract disputes and asset dispositions. He has continued his public utility practice and expertise by serving as general counsel to the 14th largest telephone company in the United States with ILEC, CLEC, televidio and broadband data lines of business in California and Kansas, and is outside counsel to several large power suppliers in the Sierra Nevada area.  Bill is also general counsel for a water sanitation utility in Northern Nevada.

  • University of Southern California, Gould School of Law (J.D., 1975)
    • Order of the Coif
    • Law Review
  • College of Holy Cross, University of California Berkeley, and North Carolina State University (B.A., cum laude, 1969)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, State Chairman (2010-2011)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates, Advocate
  • Washoe County Bar Association
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association
  • "Constitutional Right to Preliminary Hearing for Pretrial Detainees," 48 Southern California Law Review, 158 (1975)
  • Legal Elite - Top Northern Nevada Attorneys, Nevada Business Magazine (2013-2017)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, Energy Law, Land Use & Zoning Litigation, Real Estate Litigation (2008-2018); Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), Trusts and Estates Litigation (2015-2018); Administrative/Regulatory Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Trusts and Estates Litigation (2016-2018); Securities Litigation (2008-2013)
    • Reno Lawyer of the Year, Bet-the-Company Litigation (2017)
    • Reno Lawyer of the Year, Trusts and Estates Litigation (2016, 2018)
  • Mountain States Super Lawyers®, Civil Litigation: Defense (2013-2017), Commercial Litigation, Utilities (2008-2012)
    • Top 100 Lawyers (2013)
  • Special Counsel to Quadriplegia Medicaid Recipients, Washoe County, Nevada (2009-present)
  • Morris Peterson, Partner (2004-2012)
  • Sierra Resources, Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power (now NV Energy), Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary (1994-2003)
  • Woodburn and Wedge, Senior Litigator, Partner, Associate (1977-1993)
  • Gray Cary Ames & Frye (DLA Piper), Associate (1976-1977)
  • Supreme Court of Nevada, Law Clerk to the Honorable John Mowbray (dec.) (1975-1976)
  • United States Army, First Lieutenant (1969-1972)
  • Nevada
  • California
  • Supreme Court of Nevada
  • Supreme Court of California
  • United States District Court, District of Nevada
  • United States District Court, All Districts of California
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit