David is the CEO of Lawline, an online education platform for attorneys.
While David was in law school, two things happened that would later define the direction of his career: he read Rich Dad Poor Dad, and was introduced to the EO community. In the process of trying to decide the direction of his career, and was reluctant to go down the traditional legal career path and spend his career working for a law office.
Sensing that his path was business, David began to explore entry points into entrepreneurship. In David’s words, “I loved Rich Dad Poor Dad, but it didn’t say anything about how to start a company. So I started interviewing CEO’s”. With a video camera he was given as a wedding gift and determined to build a network, he began interviewing entrepreneurs at their offices to learn how they started their companies. He then applied to start a public access TV show and featured the interviews on the show. This activity became David’s first company, TrueNYC. He used what he learned from these entrepreneurs as the basis to start and grow his next business.
While working on TrueNYC, David quickly realized that a similar model would apply to the legal industry, and began interviewing lawyers and judges to learn their views on emerging legal matters. He realized legal professionals were eager to get exposure as thought leaders and teachers in the legal community.
In 2006, he met a web development company, took a $9 bus fare from NYC to Boston to meet them, and realized they were the right partners to build a website serving the legal industry. The model was to interview legal experts and convert the content into educational courses which would be sold online, a company that became David’s current business Lawline. Notably, this was an idea that predated the current wave of MOOCs and online education companies.
The first 50 courses for Lawline were shot on the same camera David got as a wedding gift. The team of 6 people could not afford to pay rent for the first few years, and so based themselves in the kitchen of David’s father’s law offices. David said “In Silicon Valley companies are started in garages. In Silicon Alley, you start them in kitchens”. While they were building Lawline, other lawyers would come and clean their dishes in the kitchen that doubled as their office.
Lawline also predated the convenience of Amazon Web Services, and so David had to patch together a low-cost server solution to host the site. Instead of paying the prevailing price of $1,500/month per server, David found a shared server solution for $9/month.
To get high quality content together to draw an audience on his site, David reached out to a previous law professor and convinced him (after several tries) to add some content. This powered the first 200 courses featured on the site and was a key trigger that led to the growth of his initial audience.
The company began to grow exponentially. To deal with the growth, David leveraged the value of coaches and has hired 5 coaches in the past 5 years. To accommodate a growing team, he secured a large office that could accommodate his growth, while renting unused space to smaller companies. Instead of paying a studio to shoot their video at a cost of $250,000 per year, David found a way to build a studio for $25,000 and they shoot their video in-house.
Today, Lawline features 1,500 courses and they produce up to 5 new courses each day, 500,000 completion certificates are given each year, and the company has grown to multi-million dollar revenues.
David has distinguished himself by demonstrating exemplary resourcefulness by continuously finding ways to leverage limited resources to power the rapid growth of his company.