By Lisa Jacob
Jeremy Aguero has some simple words of advice for prospective students of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law: Be flexible. A 2004 graduate of the law school, Aguero speaks from experience, as his own educational journey was a study in flexibility.
As an undergraduate in what was then known as the UNLV William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration, Aguero says his future took a fortuitous turn when he met Shannon Bybee. The renowned gaming attorney and gaming and law professor recognized Aguero’s talent for analytics and helped him curate a curriculum that Aguero says developed the skills he needed to become successful in his field.
“I took a fair amount of independent study, classes in economics and finance that wouldn’t necessarily have been part of the core curriculum for a Hotel Administration major,” Aguero says. “That was remarkably helpful for me, and I am indebted to [Bybee] for that.”
Aguero’s agility certainly paid off. During his final year of undergraduate studies, he served as an intern/analyst with Coopers and Lybrand’s (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) Financial Advisory Services group. After graduating with honors in 1997, Aguero launched Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based economic and fiscal policy consultancy.
Aguero was a couple of years into building his startup when Bybee hit him with another challenge: Get yourself a law degree.
“He sat me down and said, ‘You know I’ve helped you get this far; this is what you need to do next. I want you to promise me that you will go to law school,’” Aguero says of his mentor, who died in 2003. “So I went to law school to fulfill that promise.”
Taking flexibility to a new level, Aguero attended law classes in the evening while he ran Applied Analysis and began raising a family. Additionally, Aguero was selected to chair former Governor Kenny Guinn’s Task Force on Tax Policy Technical Working Group (2001-02) and serve as its principal analyst. He co-authored its 1,200-page report, which has been called the most comprehensive study of Nevada’s fiscal system in the state’s history.
Over the years, Applied Analysis has represented a broad range of public and private sector clients and industries, including mining, tourism, education, transportation, local and state governments, and gaming. With an expertise in economic analysis, operational model development, and fiscal impact analysis, Aguero’s work has been influential in several significant Silver State projects, including the development of the commerce tax in support of former Governor Brian Sandoval’s Education Reform Bill, the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and the construction of Allegiant Stadium.
He credits his law school professors for helping him grasp how analytics and the law integrate (and why that integration is important from a business perspective). Aguero has used that knowledge to help his clients improve their bottom line, which in turn has made Applied Analysis successful.
“Law school was arguably the most important experience that I had relative to what I do for a living today,” Aguero says. “Shannon Bybee knew that I was pretty comfortable with the mathematics, but my ability to understand not only the law but how things become law is critical to everything I do, whether it’s working with state or local governments or working with private sector industries relative to public policies.
“The legal side of our business is very important and has developed principally because of my education at the Boyd School of Law.”
As his business has flourished, Aguero has remained engaged with his alma mater. Besides serving as a Greenspun Distinguished Professor of Practice, he was honored as the 2011 Boyd School of Law Alumnus of the Year and the 2018 UNLV Alumni Association’s Fred C. Albrecht Outstanding Alumnus. Aguero remains grateful to the many UNLV professors who influenced his education and is eager to pass along the lessons he learned to current and aspiring students.
“The greatest skill set that Boyd offers is the ability to think. And in today’s world—particularly today’s business world—the ability to be flexible is arguably the most important asset that any graduate can have,” he says. “The Boyd School of Law prepared me in that way. If [students] do their part, if they meet their professors halfway and are receptive to their advice, it will serve them remarkably well in their careers.”