By Patrick McDonnell
Two parallel paths recently converged into a vision of success for the UNLV Boyd School of Law’s Center for Law and Leadership. It’s a convergence that featured two prominent Nevadans: former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (now president of the University of Nevada, Reno) and Greg Brower, Wynn Resorts’ chief global compliance officer.
Both executives grew up in Nevada, served in the Legislature, rose to important positions in federal law adjudication and enforcement, respectively, and profoundly influenced Nevada gaming and higher education.
Now, Sandoval, the law school’s first Distinguished Fellow in Law and Leadership, and Brower, a member of the center’s advisory board, are helping law students understand how public service and government involvement can play an important role in building their careers. Specifically, Brower says the Center for Law and Leadership aims to help students recognize the inherent value of applying their legal education to careers in public service.
“Public service as a lawyer can take many forms, all of which are critically important to making our federal, state, and local governments work,” Brower says.
Sandoval kicked off a Law and Leadership symposium series in September 2019, attracting several Western governors, U.S. senators and former and sitting judges. Two weeks after the symposium series debuted, former FBI Director James Comey spoke at the center’s keynote event.
“These initial events were very well-attended attended and very well-received,” says Brower, who has been an adjunct professor at the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law for more than three years. “I know how passionate Governor Sandoval is about Nevada and public policy. The creation of the center was all about that passion and his vision for the future.”
Brower, who was once Nevada’s top federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI deputy general counsel under Comey, has helped public policy-minded law students connect with government leaders and elected officials. Retired U.S. Senator Harry Reid, former Nevada Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchinson, and school namesake Bill Boyd also have helped maintain the Law and Leadership Program’s momentum.
Reid’s involvement includes lending his name and prestige to the center, while Boyd has generated stability for the center’s programs through generous financial support. Meanwhile, as a member of the advisory board, Hutchinson has consistently offered advice on strategies to ensure the center provides value to the community.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily short-circuited some of the in-person connections that big events provide. However, Brower says he remains hopeful that the center remains on track to achieve its goals and fulfill the founding vision. “The relationships and opportunities that the center can create for law students are key parts of its mission,” he says.
When it comes to law and leadership and the success of the center, Brower says he follows a simple philosophy of encouraging input from others around him, which also has been one of Sandoval’s management hallmarks.
“We were very fortunate, under the leadership of Governor Sandoval and former law school Dean Dan Hamilton, to assemble an outstanding advisory board,” he says. “But we are also open to ideas that others may have for making the center a success.”