For Nick Ault, “side hustle” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
The 2017 graduate of New England Law | Boston is pursuing his dream of becoming a sports agent. But much like playing in the big leagues, the competition is fierce. So Ault is paying his dues—and essentially working two full-time jobs—to make his dream a reality.
Keep reading to follow his journey from law student to sports agent.
Always a fan
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ault was heavily involved in sports growing up. “You name it, I played it,” he says. In fact, a career as a professional athlete felt within reach. Then, as so often happens, an injury brought those plans to a halt, as Ault tore his ACL playing basketball his freshman year at The Catholic University of America.
Even though becoming a career athlete wasn’t in the cards, Ault wanted to stay as close to that world as possible. With a longtime interest in going to law school, sports law seemed like the best way to marry his interests.
He chose New England Law because it felt like a place where he could succeed in an area of law he really loved, he says. The school also gave him the same good vibes he felt as an undergrad.
“I did my due diligence,” he says of his law school search. “I could see myself there.” Plus, he knew he wanted to be in Boston, “a fresh new place.” So it was a slam dunk (except, of course, when he tore his ACL again while playing in his law school basketball league).
While at New England Law, Ault took sports and entertainment law classes as soon as he could, including a life-changing course with adjunct professor Patti Jones, an accomplished practitioner in the field.
“If it weren’t for her being such an inspiring teacher, being so open to helping her students...I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Ault says. He strongly recommends law students take her classes—even if they’re not interested in sports or entertainment law—because of Jones’ willingness to connect students with opportunities. “She opens the door,” he says. “You have to step through and make your own way.”
Accordingly, when Professor Jones introduced Ault to Kristen Kuliga, principal at K Sports & Entertainment management firm, he jumped at the opportunity to become an intern. While at K Sports he met Nate Richman, who would ultimately leave to start his own representation agency: 3XL. And when Richman needed someone to lead 3XL’s new basketball division, he asked his old colleague to step in…
Getting the gig
Ault joined 3XL as their first basketball agent and new Director of Basketball Operations in April of 2019. Though the firm primarily represents NFL players (including Nick Allegretti of the Kansas City Chiefs, Anthony Firkser of the Tennessee Titans, and Aaron Monteiro of the Miami Dolphins), Ault is hustling to get this new arm of the business off the ground.
Now Ault essentially has two full-time jobs, as he also serves as Assistant Vice President of Compliance for Bank of America/Merrill Lynch in New York City, where he handles trusts, wills, estates, and business organizations. Ault says it’s a great job, and he gives it 100%—but he’s not going to put sports representation on the backburner.
“I’m chasing a dream,” he says.
Breaking into sports management
Ault doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that pursuing his dream takes hard work and sacrifice. Sports representation is extremely competitive, with interest growing all the time. (Ault says sports agent certifications are up 300% in recent years.) But even though larger agencies might dominate the market, overall growth in professional athletics means more opportunities for smaller organizations—and people like him who are trying to make their mark.
In addition to his JD, Ault needs to have multiple certifications to sign agents for respective sports, and he is pursuing yet another certification (in addition to his existing workload) to make himself the most effective agent he can be. “All that costs time, money, and another test,” he notes.
Then there’s the reality of his daily routine, completely shifting gears between his “day job” in New York City and his work for 3XL, which includes travel all over the country and world for recruitment. (He currently has three international clients.)
“It’s incredibly hard,” he says. “I try to get as much done with basketball before the morning commute.” Then he works from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. before taking a train back to his home in New Jersey...where he does more work for 3XL.
As for his advice for other law students or anyone interested in becoming a sports agent?
Despite the difficulties, Ault says it’s important to remember that “failing” is really just a steppingstone to success, especially in the daunting role of a sports recruiter out on the road. “Don’t be afraid of failure,” he says. “I may be batting 200 at this point, but it still counts.”
Ault is also emphatic about networking. “You really have to know somebody,” he says. “You can’t be afraid to approach anybody.” A legal education is a great foundation, but like any degree, it will only get you so far. “The JD will open the door for you. It’s up to you to push your way through,” he says.
“It’s not an easy path, but if you’re able to combine sports and law, it’s worth it.”
Meet more law school alumni to see what nontraditional careers they pursued with a JD.