New Arenas of Opportunity

By: Matt Jacob

For a quarter century, the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV has prided itself on preparing students for careers in their chosen legal field — whatever that field may be. However, for the longest time, Boyd students who dreamed of settling in Las Vegas and practicing law for a professional sports organization faced a major challenge: lack of opportunities.

Sure, Las Vegas has been home to a successful minor league baseball club since 1983 (initially christened the Stars, now known as the Aviators). And Las Vegas Motor Speedway in North Las Vegas has been hosting marquee motorsports events since 1996, while the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has called Southern Nevada home for years.

Other than that, though, the professional sports employment options had been limited to a handful of here-and-gone minor league hockey, soccer, football, and basketball teams. Which meant Boyd graduates who desired to work in pro sports essentially had two choices: Take their law degrees to a different state, or pick a new career path in Nevada. 

My, how times have changed — and quickly.

In less than a decade, Las Vegas has welcomed three major professional sports franchises (the NHL’s Golden Knights, the NFL’s Raiders, and the WNBA’s Aces); a handful of seemingly stable minor league teams (hockey, soccer, basketball, lacrosse); and multiple state-of-the-art venues (most notably, T-Mobile Arena and Allegiant Stadium).

And more are on the way. Major League Baseball’s Athletics are reportedly relocating from Oakland to a new baseball stadium slated for the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Also, a planned $10 billion resort located about four miles south of Mandalay Bay is expected to break ground next year and will be anchored by a 20,000-seat arena. 

The expected tenant for that arena: an NBA franchise. 

In other words, professional sports jobs that used to be few and far between in Southern Nevada are now plentiful — including for lawyers. As a result, Boyd Law in recent years has seen a spike in students interested in pursuing careers in sports law (and doing so not far from campus).

So, what might such a career look like? Four Boyd students recently found out, courtesy of internships with three sports organizations. Those students share their experiences in the ensuing pages — as do two alumni who are currently putting their Boyd Law degrees to use in the local professional sports industry.