Three years after graduating with a JD-MBA from BYU Law, George Simons is CEO of SoloSuit, a company that assists online users in responding to debt lawsuits. The secret to his success, he believes, was the strong sense of self he developed even prior to law school.
Law school proved to be a demanding and ambitious environment. Simons reminisces on his first day at BYU Law School as a scene straight out of Legally Blonde; a student in one of his courses obviously came unprepared to class and was chastened by the professor in the first cold call of the year, the thought of which still makes Simons chuckle. He reflects that, as with all law programs, success was rigidly and narrowly defined. Simons maintains that the traditional benchmarks of success in law school (GPA, class ranking, law review, etc.) are far from perfect predictors of success after graduation.
Simons encourages students to build relationships with their cohorts rather than view classmates as academic nemeses. By having a strong sense of self, of who you are and what you want to accomplish by attending law school, Simons believes students feel less of a need to compete and compare. In his case, Simons knew he wanted to leave law school having started a company. Having established that, he was driven to complete his JD-MBA and look for experiences that would advance that goal. Holding this purpose at the forefront of his mind created a much more personally meaningful education.
He mentions specifically focusing on relationships with faculty members, such as Dean D. Gordon Smith, whose first year as dean was also Simon’s first year as a law student, and Professor Kimball Dean Parker. They helped him countless times throughout his studies. Simons cites a desire to “be a part of Dean Smith’s journey” and credits him as a significant draw to choose BYU Law. Professor Parker, Director of LawX (BYU’s Legal Design Lab), collaborated with Simons’s class to design the technology SoloSuit uses today.
While studying law, Simons learned that Utah’s largest lawsuit category was debt collection. Surprised, he continued to dive deeper and found what he called a “big need” for nationwide assistance in debt lawsuits. In Bloomberg Law, he wrote, “More than a quarter of all states (14) charge defendants ‘Answer’ filing fees in civil lawsuits. Many more states charge filing fees for other types of documents like motions.” These large fees contribute to nine out of ten defendants automatically losing, either because they either cannot afford to pay or do not know how to respond to the lawsuit. SoloSuit assists through many services, namely their debt Answer service where customers use the site to complete their response to a debt lawsuit and then have SoloSuit file it for them in court. So far, they have helped more than 70,000 people and protected $404 million in clients’ assets. According to TechCrunch, SoloSuit claims to have about 50 percent of their cases dismissed through its services.
Simons summarizes his personal and company philosophy in one sentence: “Excellence is the only authority.” He explains that a fancy job is not authority, neither is education, nor status. Rather, he believes in an “idea meritocracy” where success and solutions are honored above all else. In regard to success outside of his career, Simons states that his biggest personal accomplishments are his daily scripture study and the delicious marinara sauce he makes with garden-fresh tomatoes – in that order.
As a young CEO of a startup, having a fair and open ear toward others whose position he was once in guides his mindset at work and acts as his professional goal. Simons not only seeks to be an innovative challenger of the status quo in his career as an entrepreneur, but also in advocating for more purposeful and creative journeys through law school.