By Patrick McDonnell
Just like rolling in a 25-foot putt on the first hole of a round can generate momentum for a weekend duffer, success on the golf course has created a lot of financial momentum for the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law’s Alumni Chapter.
For the first time in two years, the chapter hosted its alumni golf tournament—the group’s largest annual fundraiser—at Bear’s Best Las Vegas on September 17. Golfers and guests gathered on the Jack Nicklaus-designed course to raise money for endowed scholarships for UNLV Boyd Law students, while also reconnecting with one another.
The sixth edition of the important event attracted 80 golfers and raised more than $14,000, down a bit because of the COVID-19 pandemic but undoubtedly a success and invigorating for alums, says Alumni Chapter president Amanda Stevens, a 2015 UNLV Boyd alum.
“It’s the first event that brought the alumni back together [since the pandemic],” says Stevens, who is president of Las Vegas-based Battle Born Capital, a hard-money lender that works with private investors to fund loans for local developers.
Part of the proceeds from this year’s golf tournament will help fund the Law Alumni Chapter Scholarship, a $1,500 award given annually to a law school scholar at the beginning of the school year. Madeleine Coles, a 3L and editor-in-chief of the Nevada Law Journal, is this year’s recipient.
Another grant Stevens is quick to laud is the Strive Grant, a new Alumni Chapter initiative that will award $1,200 to an individual who is retaking the bar exam. Stevens says students navigating the financial challenges of additional bar-exam preparation could use the Strive Grant to pay for tutors or support materials.
Stevens, who moved to Las Vegas in 1999 and has earned all four of her degrees from UNLV, is excited about both the law school’s progress since its opening in 1998 and its future.
She notes that U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler, who delivered this year’s UNLV Boyd Law commencement address on May 14, is among the law school’s 2,748 alums (as of December). So too are Nevada Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro and Speaker of the Nevada Assembly Jason Frierson—not to mention hundreds of members of the Nevada Bar.
“Boyd is still young, and there are a lot of [practicing] attorneys in Nevada who didn’t even have the opportunity to attend the school,” says Stevens, a native of Storm Lake, Iowa. “So it says a lot that 20 percent of the Nevada Bar is [comprised of] Boyd grads.”
Stevens, who helped found Battle Born Capital in 2017, received her undergraduate degree in finance and international business from UNLV in 2002. She attended UNLV Boyd Law’s night program at a time when she also worked. The fact that night classes were offered was a big factor in her decision to return to her alma mater for law school.
“I wanted to stay local,” she says. “The night school program is great for working professionals. It took me four years to get through it, and there were a lot of students just like me.”