We caught up with LSAT Freedom, an LSAT preparation company with a twist.
They caught up with one of the founders and he dished on what they hope to do and how future law students need them now more than ever.
Rob Tauler (far right) graduated from Harvard Law School in 2005. He scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT (law school admissions test) and has been teaching and tutoring the LSAT for nine years.
Before law school, Rob earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Irvine, where he played on the Men’s Volleyball team and earned honors as a Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete. Rob is the co-founder of LSAT Freedom, an LSAT prep course created and taught exclusively by Harvard Law School grads.
So Educated: Thanks for joining me today Rob.
Rob: Of course. Thank you for your time.
SE: What does LSAT Freedom do, and what led you start it?
Rob: LSAT Freedom is an LSAT prep course created and taught exclusively by Harvard Law grads. My partners and I started LSAT Freedom because we had been doing some LSAT tutoring on our own and we began noticing the frustration of many students with the high cost and low return of their traditional LSAT courses. We knew we could provide a better product than what the traditional companies were offering in a much more affordable way.
SE: There is a host of competition in the LSAT preparation business. What truly sets you apart from the competition? Are there any guarantees you are willing to offer to your customers?
Rob: LSAT Freedom sets itself apart from other LSAT prep companies because of the excellence and breadth of instruction we offer at a very reasonable price. We are completely online, which cuts down on our overhead and allows us to offer our course at under $500, which is the lowest price point on the market for a full-length LSAT course. When you consider that our LSAT course dedicates over 90 hours explaining over 1,000 actual LSAT problems, and provides feedback to students who have questions on any explanations, this really is a great deal for such a large amount of quality instruction. We also stand by the quality of our instruction, offering a money back guarantee within one-week of your purchase of our course.
SE: Will international customers be a focus? I don't think the other LSAT prep companies have an international presence.
Rob: International students are a big part of our customer base, largely because our course is accessible from anywhere and is available around the clock. This is a big advantage if you are prepping for the LSAT abroad, as you can prep from anywhere in the world and still have first rate instruction. We've got you covered. Plus, we have also found that our international students are drawn to our course because they are confident that Harvard Law School grads will produce a quality product.
SE: Are there any current or future partnerships with universities? One particular gripe that students have (and rightfully so) is the financial burden of preparing and sitting for the LSAT. For instance, at my alma mater Virginia Commonwealth University, the dean and I looked into integrating LSAT preparation into the curriculum. Actually making it a class one could earn credits for and use financial aid to finance. Have you considered anything like that?
Rob: We have made several on-campus visits, but have not yet thought about formal partnerships with universities. Universities would better serve their students (and in turn themselves) by offering these options in my opinion. We would certainly be open to it.
SE: Do you see yourself venturing into other test preparation – GRE, MCAT, and so forth? Do you foresee admissions consulting?
Rob: For now, our focus is on our online LSAT course. The future is bright however, and we may have different offerings in the coming years.
SE: Obviously, technology plays a larger role in your product distribution than at traditional test prep companies. Clearly, it cuts down on cost. But do you also feel that not only can it be just as effective but even more so?
Rob: It is absolutely more effective. Studies have shown, in fact, that online learning is superior to classroom instruction. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education completed a 12-year analysis of research on the subject. The study found that higher education students in online learning environments generally performed better than those in face-to-face courses. One reason online learning is more effective is the efficiency in which it operates. No time is wasted driving to class, chit-chatting with other students (who only make you nervous anyway), and laughing at canned jokes from the instructor. LSAT preparation online focuses only on what is most important: instruction and practice. Unlike a classroom course, LSAT Freedom allows you to revisit tutorials as many times as you like and review difficult problems for as long as you like until you learn what you need to know. Obviously, in this type of educational setting, you will learn more and much more efficiently. Many of our students, in fact, are former students of other test prep companies that were not satisfied.
SE: Law school is notoriously slow to adopt technology. Do you believe law schools should embrace technology more, whether it is electronic case books, online classes, or what have you?
Rob: Now that you mention it, I would even say that the legal profession as a whole is notoriously slow to adopt technology. So much of law is rooted in tradition that it is often difficult for change to occur as fast as it would in other professions, where technology provides a clearer commercial advantage. My prediction is that we will begin to see some of the changes you mention as this next generation of tech-savvy law school graduates begins to assume positions of power. Certainly, electronic case books would be great from the perspective of a cash-strapped student (which I can certainly relate to, having been in that situation myself), as traditional law school case books are often quite expensive. Plus, I'd much rather have everything on an iPad then have to lug around three casebooks.
SE: Ten years from now, what would you like to be able to say about your business?
Rob: I would like to be able to say that LSAT Freedom completely changed the LSAT prep market and the way people approached LSAT prep. Right now, many students feel obligated to fork over $1500 for an LSAT prep course just because everyone else is doing it. With technology being what it is, and with studies showing the online learning is superior to classroom learning, I think students will come to find that they can get a superior LSAT preparation course without paying for a corporate LSAT course. If LSAT Freedom is part of that change, we would be very gratified.
SE: Attorneys are by nature risk-averse. What led you to start a business during a recession?
Rob: Well, in many ways the recession has really helped us along. When people are pinching pennies, paying for a traditional LSAT course is a lot harder to swallow. I think the current economic environment has made it easier for us to do well. Plus, when the economy does poorly, it usually causes some students and young professionals to use law school as a way to ride out the recession, which has, in fact happened, as the number of students taking the LSAT has increased in recent years.
SE: Thank you for joining me. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Rob: Thanks again for the opportunity to come on and discuss our course. I hope it will be useful to your audience in becoming informed about the dynamic LSAT prep market and the future of test prep services generally.
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