Adam Balinski: From Broadcast News to Bar Exam to Business Owner
By Amy Ortiz
It was out of the blue, and it was just a clear thought of: “I know you’re enjoying what you’re doing, but I’d like you to go to law school, I’d like you to go to BYU, and I’d like you to go soon.” It felt like I got hit by a spiritual 2×4 and I just couldn’t deny it.
From TV reporter to corporate trainer, to legal practitioner, and now founder and CEO, Adam Balinski (’16) knows a thing or two about navigating new waters.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism at BYU’s School of Communications, Balinski worked as a TV reporter in Boise, Idaho for the CBS affiliate.
“It was a great job and I learned a lot but it just didn’t feel like my lifetime job,” Balinski said.
He decided to join his brother working as a corporate trainer for Epic, a cutting-edge medical software company. Balinski enjoyed teaching doctors and nurses how to use technology for about a year and half until he got an unmistakable impression while attending a General Priesthood Session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“It was out of the blue,” Balinski explained. “It was just a clear thought of: ‘I know you’re enjoying what you’re doing, but I’d like you to go to law school, I’d like you to go to BYU, and I’d like you to go soon.’”
Balinski pushed back against the idea. He reasoned his young family was just beginning to settle down in a place where he enjoyed his work. Years earlier, he had even taken the LSAT, but was unsatisfied with his score, which he took as evidence that law school wasn’t his path. Regardless, Balinski and his wife, Heather, took the leap, sold their house, and applied to BYU Law School. He was accepted.
Balinski’s experiences throughout law school were life-enriching and filled with good friends.
Still, his path during law school wasn’t always clear. An impression had guided him there, but he had no clear vision of what to do after law school, or if he should finish the program.
“I came out here, I did this, but maybe this is a wrong road situation,” Balinski thought. “Maybe this was God’s way of saying: ‘Now you can move forward with confidence into the corporate training domain, without a lick of regret that you didn’t go to law school because you went down that road long enough to know it wasn’t for you.’”
Thanks in part to the listening ear of his contracts professor Matthew Jennejohn, Balinski was encouraged to finish what he started, deciding that “unless God [hit him] in the head with another spiritual 2×4,” he was going to stick with law school. He was glad he did.
In hopes of finding balance and variety in his studies, Balinski began recording his notes and creating audio outlines. When preparing for the bar exam, Balinski recalls a friend saying he’d pay him for his audio notes, so he could play golf and study at the same time.
The conversation sparked an idea! Balinski could use his experience in corporate training and journalism, to start his own business providing law students with creative study resources. Crushendo was born, dedicated to helping students “crush” law school and the bar exam using inventive study habits, like memory tricks, mnemonics, and flashcards. Though relatively new to the law school study aid and bar prep markets, Crushendo has already helped thousands of law students and graduates across the country.
His friends at BYU Law and in the J. Reuben Clark Law Society have helped along the way. Some professors accepted the call to vet the accuracy of Balinski’s outlines and some colleagues in the Law Society tested his first products and provided constructive and encouraging feedback. Balinski says both organizations played a vital role in his entrepreneurial success, and for that he is deeply grateful.
“My temporal welfare is tied up with this company with so many variables that I can’t help but rely a little bit more on God. I have seen so many miracles in how my company has played out: just the right place, just the right people, things that should have exploded but didn’t, things that I didn’t earn, things beyond my control.”
As former Director of External Relations at BYU Law, Balinski works hard to stay involved in both the Law Society and BYU Law. He treasures opportunities to serve and share his experiences with others.