Spotlight on Business
by Ev Chase
"When I was a kid, sports was my overriding interest," says the popular Boulder City resident, attorney, and Clark County Commissioner.
Born and raised in Las Vegas, Bruce Woodbury, the son of an oral surgeon, with a grandfather and three uncles who were doctors, and a star in his senior year on the Las Vegas High School state champion basketball team, always thought, if he wasn't going to be involved in sports, he would probably be a doctor.
"When I was in college at the University of Utah in pre-med, I found out being a doctor wasn't for me," says Woodbury. "I didn't really enjoy Chemistry and Zoology, but I did enjoy Philosophy, Literature, History, and Political Science."
With all those classes of overwhelming enjoyment stuck to his report card, all Bruce had to do was figure out what he wanted to do as a profession.
"Well, there was always law school," Bruce says.
Woodbury took his own advise, graduated from Stanford Law School, passed the bar exam in 1970, worked as a law clerk for a year with a judge and went into practice with an attorney named Jim Rogers (who was recently appointed Chancellor of the University of Nevada system). One could say, "the rest is history."
But Bruce didn't see his history exactly that way. Although in his childhood he had an "overriding interest in sports," he developed a broader view for his career in law.
"I have always been interested in politics and government," Woodbury says. "I had an uncle who was on the school board for many years and another uncle who was in the State Assembly. And my parents, although not directly involved, were always interested in politics."
Even though Woodbury considered politics while developing his law career in Las Vegas where he was "somewhat known," it wasn't until after the family moved to Boulder City in 1978 he was presented with an opportunity.
"I thought I might not be able to go into politics after our move to Boulder City," says Woodbury. "But in 1980 Bob Broadbent was reelected to County Commissioner to what would have been his fourth term.
However, he (Broadbent) was asked by the Reagan administration to go to Washington DC to be in charge of the Bureau of Reclamation."
That vacancy in Washington left it up to Governor Robert List to appoint a replacement to the Clark County Commission position until the next election.
Woodbury's contention for the position of County Commissioner came as a surprise, but what are friends for?
"I didn't throw my name in the hat for County Commissioner. I didn't even consider it," says a modest Woodbury. "Some of my friends, high school classmates who were somewhat close to the Governor, did however - without even asking me."
When people started asking Bruce about being considered for County Commissioner, he thought he'd better start asking questions and find out what was going on.
"That got my competitive juices flowing," Woodbury says. "After talking to my wife, Rose, and getting her blessing, I indicated I was willing to serve."
And serve he has. Bruce took office in March of 1981, 24 years ago. That's a bunch of hash mark on his election sleeve.
Woodbury has had an office in Boulder City serving local clients since he moved here in 1978, which was before he partnered with his present law firm of Jolley Urga Wirth Woodbury & Standish.
"Since I live in Boulder City and know so many people here we maintain an office in Boulder City," Woodbury says. "I'd say 80 - 90 percent of my clients are Boulder City residents even though our main office is in Las Vegas."
Woodbury's main office for the Las Vegas law firm is in the Wells Fargo Tower on Howard Hughes Parkway. They have a total of 15 lawyers and a staff of 50 people.
"Every Friday (in Boulder City) we have a dozen appointments and some who just drop in. It works out great and I love it. I hope in the future I can expand my time here," says Woodbury.