Reaching out to a global data company like Sportradar and finding out the dream job you’re hoping to land doesn’t exist might be discouraging to some people. That’s exactly what happened to John Pauley ’17 in August, just a couple months after he graduated from St. Thomas School of Law.

Pauley had a strong suspicion his passion and experience at the intersection of sports and politics could still be his ticket, though. And when Sportradar called back in February 2018, that dream job not only existed, but would soon be his.

“I wanted to have a career in politics or sports, and here it is working out that I could do both,” Pauley said. “It’s the best case scenario for me.”

John Pauley

John Pauley

Sportradar is a global leader for providing data and statistics for sports leagues, and Pauley’s work with them involves the legal framework of that data. The entire ecosystem around sports has been going a bit crazy since May, when the Supreme Court declared it OK for states to legalize sports gambling, setting off a chain of ongoing legal events across the nation.

“We work with leagues, operators, law enforcement, governments,” Pauley said. “We have a lot to say and view ourselves as a thought leader. There’s a lot of education to be done, so essentially that’s what we’re doing.”

Pauley’s role recently brought him back to Minneapolis, near the law school where all the preparation for this began. Pauley sought out St. Thomas in large part because of the outstanding externship program, he said, and found a perfect partnership in his 3L mentor of Thomas Hanson, whose firm lobbied on behalf of FanDuel, a large sports gambling company based in New York.

“We could talk extensively about his interest in this [kind of work],” Hanson said. “When I was in law school out in D.C. at George Mason, I never had mentors. As much as I tried, it’s hard to find on your own. St. Thomas doing this is such a great idea. I look at it as a pay-it-forward-type of thing, and hopefully they benefit and do the same thing.”

There has been plenty of benefit for Pauley as he was well prepared to step into a suddenly pressing need for a company like Sportradar. He connected to the company through Monica Gould, the School of Law’s director of career and professional development, who knew Sportradar’s human resources director. Coupled with his experiences through the externship program, he could provide a strong background when he reached out to inquire about a position.

“I truly believe the experience I gained through the mentor program made all of this possible,” Pauley said.

“If there’s one thing they hear in the orientation process we give them, it should be to take advantage of this program,” said program director Judith Rush. “It’s an opportunity, not an obligation.”

Although Pauley is now based in New York, he and Hanson have taken full advantage of their opportunity and remain close, building on the professional and personal bond they formed in Pauley’s final year at St. Thomas.

“I never really had to ask; he was always just willing to offer anything he could do to help me,” Pauley said. “That speaks volumes to his character. If that’s the type of person the mentor program attracts, they’re on the right track and doing something right.”

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