The resume for the founder of Reagan Wireless, Daniel Kaufman, seems tailor-made for a long and distinguished career in a prestigious law firm. But Kaufman is not a practicing lawyer – instead, he is joining an increasing number of law school graduates who are using their training to carve a thriving career in business.
Reagan Wireless specializes in cell phone recycling and other forms of electronic repurposing (eCycling). In his words, Daniel Kaufman “aims to increase the company’s eCycling efforts to do its part for the environment.”
“Green entrepreneur” might not be a term that immediately springs to mind when considering job prospects for legal students. Here’s how modern legal minds are using their skills to innovate and grow independent businesses.
Reagan Wireless, Daniel Kaufman, and the Case For Entrepreneurism
The definition of an entrepreneur is “a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.” By this definition, the training and education associated with becoming a member of the legal profession is a perfect fit. A lawyer has to be organized, and they often take on greater-than-average financial risks simply to acquire a legal education.
A trained and qualified lawyer has other attributes that are well-suited for a career in business. During his or her time in school, a lawyer learns to be diligent in studying and preparing. To graduate, a lawyer needs to have highly-developed research skills and must be able to present and defend research.
The ability to research and make a compelling argument for the result may be the most effective skill that a lawyer can transfer to entrepreneurship.
Finding a Niche
At Reagan Wireless, Daniel Kaufman used his research skills to guide his company into new and under-serviced areas of the recycling industry. They specializes in reverse logistics, which includes parts harvesting, brand protection, de-branding, and other cellphone services. With Kaufman’s guidance, Reagan Wireless is now R2: 2008, ISO 14001: 2004 & OHSAS 18001: 2007 certified.
Kaufman saw the opportunity in MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), which is when a cell provider does not have its own product line -- these brands depend on repurposed phones.
During his research, Kaufman noticed that the MVNO market was expanding, and he aggressively moved to fill the need. Without his legal training, Kaufman doubts that he would have found this lucrative niche market.
Entrepreneurism: Survival of the Fittest
Law school is a competitive environment that quickly rewards success and weeds out those who are not up to the challenge. Competing on a daily basis with other budding legal minds to get the best grades or even to survive the rigors of law instruction is an excellent primer for a business owner.
As more and more legal graduates look to business as an industry in which to make their mark, the culture of entrepreneurial enterprise will become more organized, efficient, and innovative. This could result in better products and services being available to all consumers.
“Legal grads have a unique opportunity to use their educational background and their work ethic to make huge strides in business,” says the entrepreneurial leader of Reagan Wireless, Daniel Kaufman.