Professional Poker Player Turns Law Student

Mon, 10/29/2012

This article is part of a series featuring the entering class of 2012.


Perry FriedmanDeciding to go to law school was no gamble for Perry Friedman.

“I have always been fascinated by the law and interested in going to law school,” he said.

Friedman, who started at Boyd this semester, won a 2002 bracelet at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in the $1,500 Limit Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better event. He took home a grand prize $176,860 for his efforts, and Friedman said that winning the bracelet was huge for him.

“It was an amazing experience. Two years before, I had made my first WSOP final table and ended up finishing third. I was concerned at the time that I might never be that close to winning a bracelet again,” Friedman said. “It was great vindication to win that bracelet. I am a very competitive person by nature, and poker is a great outlet for me in that regard.”

He added that poker translates well into what he’s studying in law school.

“Poker requires a lot of critical thinking, and the answers aren't always cut and dry, and the same is true of the law,” he said. “It hasn't come up yet in my short law school career, but I can see how being able to read other people and anticipate their moves will also play an important role should I end up practicing law.”

Friedman said that his retirement from the software industry gave him the opportunity to go to law school.

“With my retirement, I have had a lot of free time and I decided that if I didn't go to law school now, I didn't want to look back and feel like I had missed an opportunity,” he said.

Perry FriedmanHe added that he chose Boyd because, as a resident of Henderson, he loves the Las Vegas Valley and wanted to stay during the law school experience. That experience, he said, has been enjoyable so far. In particular, he said the support he gains from students and faculty has been important.

“I am very much enjoying my experience. It is a lot less stressful than I imagined, and everyone is very supportive. Everyone at Boyd seems very concerned with making the experience a good one for all of the students,” he said, going on to compliment the classes and instructors. “I really enjoy all of my classes. I have been impressed with the passion that the professors bring to the classroom, and I feel like they all thoroughly enjoy their subject matter.”

The classes do take up a bit of time, but he said that he has his fiancée to thank for decreasing his stress.

“I have a very supportive fiancée at home who helps balance the rest of my life. It's always a comfort to come home to her after a long day at school, and she helps offload a lot of my day-to-day responsibilities,” he said. “I wouldn't even be in school right now if it weren't for her encouragement.”

As for post-law-school plans, Friedman said he’d like to be a benefit to the community.

“My career goal is to stay retired. I would like to use my law degree for matters of public good. Ideally, I'd like to argue issues of public policy and various personal rights and freedoms,” he said. “On a more practical note, I also intend to use my law degree for personal use for any legal matters that may arise for my friends or me.” 


Read another entering class of 2012 profile: Balancing Law School, Work, and Life Not a Problem for Olympic Gymnast