Scott Carlson and Francisco (“Frank”) Nicholas met in 2003 after Frank, on behalf of a corporate client, hired Scott to help negotiate and draft a multi-million dollar lease. Frank's client was in the midst of a large real estate development. Scott and Frank in turn worked on the development for the next four years. It was a successful endeavor. In 2011, Scott and Frank decided to form a partnership.

In 2014, Richard A. McDonald joined the firm as Of Counsel. From 2012 to 2014, Richard and Scott were co-counsel on several business and real estate cases. Richard and Scott prevailed in all those cases and the clients obtained all relief which was being sought. Richard is experienced in complex business litigation, real estate litigation, land use, environmental and administrative law matters.

Scott W. Carlson



Scott has been representing individuals and businesses in real estate and business matters for over thirty years. In both litigation and transactions, Scott works to complete transactions and to resolve disputes in an economical manner while protecting his clients’ interests.


UCLA School of Law, J.D., 1982

UCLA, B.A., 1979
Honors: Phi Beta Kappa

Professional Associations, Honors & Service

AV rated (preeminent standing) by Martindale-Hubbell

Top Attorney in Real Estate Law, Pasadena Magazine

Member, Los Angeles County and Pasadena Bar Associations

Trustee, Board of Trustees, Los Angeles County Bar Association, 2002-2004

President, Pasadena Bar Association, 2000-2001


Office: 626-796-6161

Email: [email protected]

Francisco J. Nicholas



Frank Nicholas has represented a broad variety of companies for over thirty-four years. For many, Frank performs the tasks of outside General Counsel. Frank has also litigated every type of employment claim, as well as many business-related claims -- representing both companies and individuals. Within the last several years, Frank (1) after filing a motion for summary adjudication, and prior to the hearing, obtained an outright dismissal of an employment discrimination case; (2) represented, at trial, an importer of construction products, sued by an exporter based in China, resulting in a very favorable verdict for the importer and its owner, who was unsuccessfully sued under an alter ego theory -- as for the importer, the verdict was far below a settlement offer which was made one day before the first day of trial; (3) successfully represented several companies in a three week jury trial, involving wage and hour and discrimination claims; (4) successfully defended a real estate broker in a bench trial, in a case which included claims for breach of fiduciary duty and fraud; (5) successfully represented, at trial, four elderly persons, wrongfully expelled from membership in a non-profit, cultural association (resulting in monetary damages, a reinstatement order, and expulsion of the association president); (6) prevailed on a writ of mandate, representing a church group in litigation over control of church operations; (7) obtained a three year injunction against a person who had threatened and harassed members of a non-profit organization; and (8) defended a class action in a housing habitability case. As to the latter, a settlement was reached. Frank has numerous jury and bench trials to his credit and has, on six occasions, argued before the California Courts of Appeal.

For over twenty years, Frank has also represented the regulatory and corporate interests of numerous State licensed drug and alcohol treatment programs.


Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, J.D., 1982
Honors: Joseph Scott Moot Court Honors Program

Univ. of California at Santa Barbara, B.A., 1978
Honors: Dean's List Scholar

Professional Associations, Honors & Service

AV rated [preeminent standing] by Martindale-Hubbell, since 1998.

Top Attorney in Labor/Employment Law, Civil Litigation, and Business Law/Litigation, per Pasadena Magazine

President, Rotary Club of Pasadena [2014-15]

Past Chairman and Board Member of Bienvenidos Children’s Center

Past Board Member of Pasadena Police Foundation

Past Board Member of Pasadena Rotary Foundation

Past Chairman and Board Member of Southwest Chamber Music

Past Board Member of Foothill Family Service

Member, Pasadena and Los Angeles Bar Associations


Direct: 626-356-0240

Email: [email protected]

Richard A. McDonald, Of Counsel



Richard specializes in land-use, zoning, real estate, commercial, environmental, and appellate law, including complex business litigation and class actions. He represents property owners, developers, neighborhood associations, midsize and large U.S. companies throughout Southern California on numerous hotel, medical office, and multi-family residential projects. He serves as lead trial and appellate counsel in traditional/administrative writ of mandamus proceedings, arbitrations, and private attorney general actions. As part of his land use practice, Richard manages all of the CEQA, planning, zoning, and other entitlements required by state, county, and city governments. In Pasadena, Richard’s projects include the restoration of the Constance Hotel and the YWCA Julia Morgan Building, the Colorado at Hill Hotel, the Marriott Residence Inn, the Paseo Colorado, the Crown City Medical Building, and the former Pasadena Athletic Club site.

As an experienced trial attorney, Richard successfully prosecuted a CEQA and land use trial against the City of Brea in Orange County, and successfully defended through trial a $45 million class action lawsuit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court. He previously was successful in defending a $75 million licensing arbitration, a $30 million unfair competition class action, a $40 million securities fraud and RICO class action in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, and a $20 million insurance coverage action in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, as well as numerous contract, real estate, and limited partnership actions. Richard has a number of appellate decisions in California to his credit, including Harper v. 24 Hour Fitness, 167 Cal. App. 4th 966 (2008), Mount Olympus Property Owners Association v. Shpirt, 59 Cal. App. 4th 885 (1997), Re-Open Rambla, Inc. v. County of Los Angeles, 39 Cal. App. 4th 1499 (1995), and Cole v. Sea Ray Boats, Inc., 32 Cal. Rptr. 2d 431 (1994) (de-published).


Richard is a 1986 graduate of Loyola Law School, where he externed for Justice Otto Kaus of the California Supreme Court, and was a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society, Scott Moot Court Honors Board, and the 1985 Best Oralist in Moot Court Competition.

Richard also has a Master's in Public Administration from the University of Southern California, where he was admitted to Pi Alpha Alpha, National Honorary Society for Public Affairs & Administration, received the SCAPA Praetor Scholarship Award, and worked for the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, D.C.

Richard earned his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1979, and studied at Worcester College, Oxford University, England.

Honors and Awards


Pasadena Weekly Reader Recommended

Best of Pasadena 2016 - Best Attorney/Law Firm

Specializing in land use, zoning, real estate, environmental, complex business litigation, and class actions.

Professional Associations

Pasadena Bar Association – Real Estate and Litigation Sections.

Los Angeles County Bar Association -- Real Estate, Environmental, Litigation Sections

Los Angeles County Municipal Court Judge Pro Tem Program (1996-2000)

Los Angeles County Superior Court Arbitration Program (1994-2001)

L.A.S.C. Court North Central Crash Settlement Program Referee (1994-1995)

Co-Chairman, American Bar Association Litigation Section's Subcommittee
on Recent Court Decisions and Procedural Developments (1994-1995)

Los Angeles County Bar Association Litigation Section's
Legislative Review Committee (1987-88)

Professional & Community Service

Board of Trustees, Pasadena Museum of History (February 2017 - Present)

Board of Directors, South Lake Business District Association (February 2017 - Present)

Executive Advisor & Advisory Board Member, InvestLA Regional Center &
EB-5 Immigration Visa Program

Board of Directors, Pasadena Center Operating Company (July 2013 – October 2017)

  • Chairman (2017)
  • Vice-Chairman (2016 – 2017)
  • Executive Committee (2014 – 2017)
  • Secretary (2014 -2015)
  • Chair, Governance Committee (2014 – 2017)

Vice Chairman, City of Pasadena Redistricting Task Force (2011-2012)

Chamber of Commerce, Legislative Affairs Committee (2010 - Present)

Board of Directors, South Lake Avenue Business District Association (2009 – 2014)

  • Treasurer (2013- 2014)

City of Pasadena Planning Commission

  • Chairman (2009-2010)
  • Vice Chairman (2008-2009)
  • Chairman, Board of Zoning Appeals (2008-2009)
  • Vice Chairman, Board of Zoning Appeals (2007-2008)

City of Pasadena Transportation Advisory Commission (2000-2002)

City of Pasadena Redistricting Task Force (2001-02)

Board of Directors, West Pasadena’s Residents’ Association (1992 – 2003; 2010 – 2013)

  • Vice President, West Pasadena Residents Association (1999-2000)
  • Treasurer, West Pasadena Residents Association (1998-1999)
  • Membership Director, West Pasadena Residents Association (1997-1999)

Board of Directors, Pasadena First (2005 – 2006)

Flintridge Foundation Planning Committee,
Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Program (2000)

Board of Directors, Jeffrey Foundation (1999-2000)

  • Vice Chairman (1999-2000)
  • Legal Committee (1999-2000)

Annandale Golf Club (2010 – Present)

Pasadena Twilight Club (2012 – Present)

Program Leader, St. Andrews Catholic Church Children's Liturgy Program (1996-98)

Publications and Speaking Engagements

2014     Guest Lecturer, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, “Entitlement Process II – Local Government Structure, Approval Process, and Legal Framework.”

2009     Speaker, Pasadena Bar Association Real Estate Section MCLE Program; “Get The Update on the Update: Pasadena’s General Plan Update.”

2006     Speaker, West Pasadena Residents Association Annual Meeting – “Gridlock and Growing Pains”

2004     Speaker, Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro LLP Litigation Department Continuing Education Program – “Recent Developments Under BP 17200”

2004     Speaker, West Pasadena Residents Association Annual Meeting –
“Congestion Indigestion”

2001     Panel Speaker, Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute --
"Civic Participation/Affecting Public Policy"

2001     Panel Member, Pasadena Leadership Program -- "Quality of Life in Our City"

2000     Panel Speaker, Pasadena Neighborhood Leadership Institute--
"The Role of Neighborhood Associations"


Direct: 626-356-4801

Email: [email protected]