Meet Yoann, combining his lifelong love for entrepreneurship with his IT and legal skills to launch a firm helping small businesses/tech entrepreneurs

Name:  Yoann Le Bihan

Location:  Luxembourg!

How did you hear about OPLN all the way in Luxembourg?!

I attended the 2020 virtual incubator conference, which I learned about through my law school alma mater (Concord Law School), and heard you mention OPLN. It being a group of legal professionals who are trying to do things differently rang a bell for me.

What inspired you to join the legal profession? 

I don’t have a traditional background. I started my career when I was 18. I had the dream of launching a business in my garage and becoming the next Bill Gates. My parents were supportive but pragmatic and offered to give me a small amount of money to get started but on the condition that I attended two years of university. So I started university in Paris studying internet technology and then I also had my own IT business on the side. It was the first time I had an opportunity to work on the technical side of IT with small businesses. While I was acquiring a lot of knowledge and experience, I wasn’t making a lot of money so four years into the business, I decided to pivot toward helping corporate clients, specifically in the finance sector.

In 2010, I moved to Luxembourg and in 2012, I decided that it was time for me to do something more.  I had an old dream of studying law because my father was a public sector lawyer and I thought maybe I’ll study the law. I enrolled in law school in England and started studying law . . . and I loved it! After almost two years, I graduated with a GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), which is a conversion course for people who already have a degree in a different area and who want to pursue a qualification path. I then enrolled in a LLM program in England and then registered as a 1L at Concord Law School in the U.S. – both at the same time (crazy!)! It all worked out though and I’m happy I did it because I can now see that having skills at the intersection of law and technology is very relevant and will serve me well going forward and will help me achieve my dream of helping entrepreneurs.

What do you do?

My goal was to launch my firm in January 2020. But I had a baby (on Halloween!) and then the pandemic hit so I have temporarily put things on hold. I was doing some legal compliance and technology work for an airline but that work has ended because of the pandemic and I have now returned my focus to launching a firm helping small businesses and tech entrepreneurs with all their technology and data privacy needs. Since I am currently only licensed in California, I will target entrepreneurs based there. Hopefully, if the sanitary conditions allow, I will eventually take the exam in England to become licensed there as well and maybe also in France since I speak French.

What’s a typical day like for you?

No typical day these days. I’ve been doing some small technical IT and legal tech consulting work.

How do you define success?

Success is more of a mindset and a way of life instead of achievement. It’s not something that you do. It’s how you feel first. You are successful when you feel good in your mind and when you are aligned with your life and your expectations in life. I’ve been extremely lucky in my professional life because I have just done things that I’ve enjoyed, such as IT, being my own boss, and going to law school. I have never felt unsuccessful. I have loved everything I’ve done, and I think that is the best way to feel successful. My philosophy is to help people and to be compassionate to others and I think that probably helps as well. I sleep well at night which I’ve learned is a good indicator of success????

What’s been a challenge on your path and how did you work through it? 

There are so many to choose from! A professional challenge was when I had to integrate into a business as an employee for the first time. Prior to that I had been an external consultant and giving someone advice as a consultant is much different than working within the business and being part of the hierarchy. I struggled with the traditional hierarchy model because I didn’t have the mindset for it. I had to understand the codes of working on the inside. I managed to adapt but I really didn’t like it. There are pros and cons on both sides and what works best for someone is dependent on their mindset, how much structure they need and the culture of the organization.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I like walking, biking and sewing. I hadn’t sewed in quite some time prior to the pandemic. Once the pandemic hit, I started sewing face masks. It reminded me how much I enjoyed it.  I find it really relaxing. My wife and I also really enjoy traveling.

What’s your go-to wellbeing activity?

Going to a steam bath or sauna.

The best book you’ve read or podcast you’ve listened to recently? 

I have read several books by David Michie. He has written many books about meditation and Buddhism. He is both critical and compassionate about people who don’t have a lot of compassion in their life. He has also written very dark thrillers too, such as Conflict of Interest, which are quite different!

What is one thing about you that you think people would be surprised to learn?

That while I was born in France and live in Luxembourg, I don’t eat cheese or drink alcohol. If this becomes public, they might take my passport away (lol).

If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the legal profession, what would it be?

I would try to decrease some attorney’s egos and help them realize that while we have skills that can help others, we are not automatically superheroes. We have a duty to the rest of the population and need to help. I think a certain number of pro bono hours should be mandatory for every lawyer.

What is one new thing you are hoping to learn from others in this community?

I am looking to continue gaining community support and learning how other people operate their practices. I’d also love to see more people actively engaged and posting within OPLN!

And what is one thing you are looking to share with others in this community?

Whatever people need I am willing to share!

Fun Fact . . . Yoann’s wife Katia Volodine is also in OPLN!