By Alexandra Cohen
Las Vegas Tribune
The defendant walks in the courtroom and sits in the gallery next to a well-dressed gray-haired man; the city attorney approached the man and asked him to accompany her to the conference room to talk about the case he was there for; the well-dressed gray-haired man followed the city attorney and the defendant; then the city attorney turned to the well-dressed gray-haired man and said: “You wait here and let me talk to your attorney first, then he will talk to you.”
The well-dressed gray-haired man must have forgotten that he was in a courtroom and raised his voice: “I am the attorney! Don’t you know who I am? I am Peter Flangas, the oldest attorney in this county. I was practicing law in this county before your father was born.”
The above incident was real, and it is one of many similar cases involving Las Vegas attorney Peter Flangas who in fact had been practicing law in Nevada since 1955, being the second attorney on record in our state.
Peter Leonidas Flangas, a proud member of the Greek community, has also been a member of the Nevada State Bar since 1955, with only one member before him, handling many high-profile cases of the era while Las Vegas was growing to become what it is today.
But everything in life has an end and Peter Flangas was no exception. “We all come to this world with an expiration date, but we do not know what that day is,” Flangas told the Las Vegas Tribune a long time ago and last Friday Peter Flangas learned when his expiration date was when he passed away at the age of ninety-seven.
Peter Flangas was an institution in the law community and was famous for his dry, sometimes rude, temper; many people considered themselves lucky to deal with attorney Flangas and others saw it as a privilege to have worked with him.
Our own Las Vegas Tribune’s founder, Rolando Larraz, has lots of stories to tell about Peter Flangas and even if it was before this
writer’s time at the newspaper, it is a fact that the publication office was next to the Flangas Law Office, and as the story goes, every day after working hours Larraz used to walk to Flangas’s office and both hot-tempered men would fight for the first ten minutes of
Larraz used to stand in the frame of his friend’s office, his attorney friend looking at him and said, “Who are you, what do you want? I am a very busy man and don’t have time for you.” After a few minutes of back-and-forth, Larraz sat in a very expensive chair in the attorney’s
private office and commented on the quality of the furniture. “I need a couple of chairs like this in my office so I can impress my clients,” Larraz would say. Flangas pulled a bottle of whiskey out from under his desk and poured a glass for him stating, “I don’t trust people who don’t drink, and if my chairs disappear from here, I will go to your place looking for them.”
Even if the two men were close in age, Larraz considered Peter Flangas not only his friend, but his mentor, and by the tone of his voice on
the telephone, when he got the news, we can feel and believe that he was legitimately sad. And we know he was honest when he said, “Pete
was my friend and I am going to miss him more than I miss my own father.” Larraz shared his comments in a telephone conversation from an unknown location.
The funeral for Peter Flangas will be in Salt Lake City, Utah where most of his family still live, but hopefully all his friends in Las Vegas can get together to celebrate Pete’s last birthday so we all can hear all the old stories.
By Alexandra Cohen