Don is a successful businessman, entrepreneur, and member of the senior management team at BARBRI. During his career, Don successfully started and ran three profitable education-related businesses and, most recently, was a founder of the Pipeline to Practice Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) that focuses on improving diversity in the legal profession. One of his businesses became the largest independent legal education bookstore in the U.S., while the other two, Law Preview and AdmissionsDean.com, grew into recognized leaders in their respective markets and were acquired by BARBRI in 2012.
Don has a passion for the law and legal education, and has become known throughout the legal field for his dedication to helping law students succeed in law school, in their careers as practicing attorneys, and in life.
Before founding his companies, Don was an associate at Rogers & Wells in New York City (now Clifford Chance US LLP) where he specialized in antitrust and securities litigation. Don lives in Massachusetts with his wife Seanna (the First Lady of Law Preview), two daughters and son.
GET TO KNOW DON
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 21-year old self?
I would tell myself two things:
1) “If it’s not going to matter 5 years from now, don’t sweat it.”
When you’re young, you think the entire world is watching everything you do — like every success and misstep is being noticed and judged. As you get older, you’ll discover that most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to care about yours; moreover, there are very few things in your early 20’s that will have a lasting impact on your life — the key is figuring out those that will, and focusing your energy there!
2) “The world does not reward passive people.”
If you’re expecting for something GREAT to happen in your life, you better settle in for a long wait. If you want something, you need to put yourself out there and take active steps to make it happen. C’mon, even lottery winners have to get off the couch and go buy a ticket!
Excluding legal/academic accomplishments, what is your proudest achievement?
That’s simple: it’s my kids. I’m proudest to say that I’m raising three socially-conscious, empathetic human beings who understand that meaningful change rarely comes from large, sweeping actions; rather, it’s small, daily micro-improvements that will help them leave this world a better place than how they found it.
What is your favorite quote and what makes it so meaningful to you?
“A kick in the ass is a step forward.” I can credit my 80-year old mom with that beauty! As a perennial underachiever until I reached my first year of law school, it took a lot of prodding from loved ones in order for me to finally find my path.
Name one song you listened to “on repeat” in the past 12 months and provide some insights about why you couldn’t get enough of it?
It’s tough to pick just one. I guess I’d say, “The Ringer” by Eminem. I love how he calls out critics longing for “the old Eminem” and explains why they’ll never be happy with his new music if they can’t appreciate his evolution (or understand his genius).
If pressed for a second, I’d add: “This is America” by Childish Gambino. I’m not sure if its the “hook” or the impactful, symbol-packed music video that examines what it means to be a black person/rap artist in America today.
[Don’t let the grey hair fool you! My kids have schooled me well about the brilliance behind today’s rap music – I’m truly in awe of all the talent that’s out there!].