For some students, law school isn’t a path to practicing law; it’s a path to knowledge that will help in other ventures. That’s the case for Lee Chang, a 2L at the Brigham Young University—J. Reuben Clark Law School in Provo, Utah.
Chang has extensive background in the real estate startup world, where he began investing in properties. Through the years, he’s built his portfolio, and in 2016, he founded Venga, a rental management software company. Earlier this year, Chang left Venga to found Homeslice, an exchange for fractional interests in real property.
Chang’s successful ventures are just the beginning. What’s his next step after school? “I’ll be pursuing other technology-based ventures,” he said. “I’m also very interested in the legalities surrounding blockchain, robotics, and energy innovations. I’m extremely interested in the progress made in machine learning. I’m planning to enter into those fields to explore the legal grey areas.”
Why law school?
Chang didn’t apply to law school without a mission in mind. “In every business venture, investment, innovation, war, or exploration, law is involved,” he opined. “Laws are the lynchpins of all interactions between species, people, and organizations. I wanted to understand the rules of interactions, specifically in business. Also, my undergraduate degree in business strategy isn’t a ‘hard’ or technical skill, so I wanted technical expertise in a difficult field.
“I also noticed a trend in innovation that relies on law,” Chang added. “In recent decades, the most disruptive startups have been focused on legally grey areas. The most notable disruptors—Spotify, YouTube, PayPal, Netflix, Redbox, Airbnb—have all exploited the absence of law or the absence of clear statutory regulations within their respective industries. I call it ‘grey ocean strategy.’ Investigating this phenomenon is another reason I applied to law school.”
The time management game
Chang actively manages his ventures, is committed to the law school experience, and still has a personal life. He follows three rules to manage his time effectively.
“I prioritize in compartmentalized ways,” he said. “While I’m on campus, school is number one on my to-do list; when I’m at home, my personal life is number one; and when I’m in the office, work is number one.
“I don’t do school work in the office or at home,” he added. “Having your priorities tied to a clear, compartmentalized strategy is important. Physical location, blocked hours or days, and so on are good, basic methods of conditioning the mind and lifestyle to be ready to take on the tasks allocated to that time.”
Chang also sets a distinct hierarchy of importance in his life. “A lack of a clear path when needing to triage your schedule will result in time death, or time wasted on agonizing over which decision to make,” he said. “For me, it’s always family, work, school, friends, health, finances, and entertainment.”
He also takes advantage of such work-management tools as Trello, Google Calendar, and hand-written planners. “Immediate mark-downs are the most important factor to making use of work-management tools,” he said. “If I’ve just made a verbal appointment with an investor or a professor, I immediately mark it down in Google Calendar and my hand-written planner. I also send the invite to the other person immediately as well.”
Students like Chang are opening eyes across the nation to the many possibilities that can be pursued during and after law school. You don’t have to work at a law firm or the government; you can use a law degree in many ways and for many opportunities. Dare to explore the unexplored and see where this educational experience can take you.