Brian Potts is a full-time lawyer and part-time entrepreneur.
During the day, he is an energy and environment partner at Perkins Coie in Madison, Wisconsin. On the side, he is the founder and creator of LegalBoard, a keyboard for lawyers that expedites an often perilous search for the section or copyright symbols, as well as a co-founder of Goods Unite Us, an online marketplace that tracks companies based on campaign contributions to Republican candidates.
“Goods Unite Us was just another idea I had one day—why aren’t we able to be political consumers?” Potts said.
Though fairly apolitical himself, Potts started the company alongside his wife, Abigail Wuest, a progressive politician and assistant attorney general with the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and Perkins Coie associate David Zoppo in Madison. Wuest serves as CEO of Goods Unite Us.
“They have sort of been fun side projects,” Potts said of his creative endeavors. “But I’m a person that likes to do things all the time. I can’t sit still.”
Potts joined Perkins Coie in July 2016 after nine years at Foley & Lardner, where he was a partner in the latter’s energy practice. He represents clients in litigation and business matters before state and federal courts and government agencies. In addition to practicing law and founding two companies, Potts also writes for Forbes.com, lending his take on energy and environmental topics.
“People ask me that all the time,” said Potts (pictured right) of how he finds the time to balance his various endeavors. “I’ve found that businesses don’t involve a lot time other than setting them up.”
Though he founded LegalBoard in 2016, Potts came up with the idea for the company after being repeatedly frustrated with the delays that would crop when as he looked for symbols to use during his brief writing. With the help of several friends and colleagues, Potts was able to officially launch his legal keyboard company in January. (Trademark records show that Foley & Lardner senior counsel Tricia Schulz—a former officemate of Potts’ at the firm in Madison—snagged the intellectual property work for LegalBoard.)
“There are a lot of small steps in developing a new product that you don’t think of beforehand—[such as] what’s the font going to look like that’s printed on the keyboard, what’s the logo going to look like,” Potts said. “I had to figure those things out through research, [but] it was fun. I never started a company from scratch before.”
While Potts has many ideas floating around for future products and companies, he said that he is planning on seeing how these two projects work out before he takes on another project. And regardless of how profitable those pursuits may be, Potts has no intention of leaving the practice of law.
“At the end of the day, I don’t want to be a keyboard salesman when I grow up,” Potts said. “I like being a lawyer and have no intention of leaving my day job, no matter how well these companies do or don’t do. Because I like what I do. I’m sure I’ll be the 80-year-old guy in the office that just won’t leave.”