Mary Phelps Dugan was named General Counsel for the University of Nevada by the Nevada System of Higher Education in October 2004. As general counsel, Dugan is responsible for overseeing all legal matters for the university, which include advising the university's president and senior administrators regarding legal issues, supervising university attorneys, representing the university in legal proceedings and negotiations, overseeing litigation management and assessing legal risks of university activities and formulating policy recommendations to reduce those risks.
Dugan left a successful career in private practice in 1995 to become a public lawyer with the State of Nevada Attorney General's office in the litigation division. In 1997, she joined the General Counsel's office of the University and Community College System of Nevada (now known as the Nevada System of Higher Education) as Assistant General Counsel. As Assistant General Counsel, she litigated on behalf of the System and its institutions, and also provided legal advice on the many issues institutions of higher education face.
Dugan received her J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1984. She became a member of the Nevada Bar in 1985. She served as law clerk to the Honorable William N. Forman in the Second Judicial District Court for the State of Nevada before entering private practice. She joined the litigation firm of Laxalt & Nomura in 1986, where she became a partner. Dugan also holds a B.A. in French and a B.F.A. in Modern Dance from Texas Christian University (1978), and an M. A. in French Literature from the University of Kansas (1981).