Justin Carley

’06 J.D., Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Las Vegas Raiders

Justin Carley
Justin Carley

By: Matt Jacob

Like many of today’s students at the Boyd School of Law, Justin Carley was a big sports fan when he attended the school in the mid-2000s. 

Unlike many of today’s Boyd students, though, Carley didn’t aspire to practice law in the professional sports industry in Las Vegas. Because there really wasn’t much of an industry at the time.

In fact, it wasn’t until Carley was more than a decade into his professional career that Las Vegas’ first major professional sports franchise — the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights — began play.

So during his 13-year tenure with the Las Vegas-based law firm of Snell & Wilmer, Carley honed his legal skills litigating in a variety of settings and taking on clients from a variety of industries. Then, as the professional sports scene started to percolate in Southern Nevada, Carley finally got the chance to dabble in sports law.

First, he did some work for Snell & Wilmer clients who were lenders involved in the financing of Allegiant Stadium. Then he took a job as in-house counsel for The Howard Hughes Corporation, a real estate development and management firm that also owns the Las Vegas Aviators’ Triple-A baseball club and the team’s home, Las Vegas Ballpark, which opened in 2019.

Carley was with The Hughes Corp. in spring 2022 when he was contacted by colleague and fellow Boyd alum Sandra Douglass Morgan, who was contemplating accepting an offer to become president of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The two stayed in touch throughout her interview process, and shortly after Morgan accepted the post in July, a position opened up within the organization: senior vice president and general counsel. Morgan encouraged Carley to apply, he did, and was hired in October 2022.

“It’s been the greatest experience and best part of my legal career,” says Carley, who oversees the Raiders’ legal department and advises each of the organization’s business units. “I prioritize the owner’s, president’s, and general manager’s initiatives first, but am involved in just about every aspect of the business.”

While Carley had to take a near two-decade-long detour to reach the C-suite of a legendary NFL franchise, he insists that every stop along the way — and every legal matter he was charged with handling — was vital in getting him to this point.

His advice to current Boyd students, whether they desire a career in sports law or another legal field: “Work hard, act with integrity, be flexible and open to change, nurture your relationships — not because of any opportunity they might afford, but because it’s the right thing to do — and always give back.”