Jun 6, 2013
Dershowitz Calls For Transparency
David Schottenstein's latest venture Viewabill gives lawyers and clients real-time updates, but his partner Professor Alan Dershowitz says it's more than that and mentions the Rubashkin case.
By COLlive reporter
David Schottenstein says the first component of success is for business owners to believe that what they are offering is solving a problem or addressing a need.
He implemented this approach with custom clothing company, Astor & Black, "because there were no decent, American-based custom clothing operations charging reasonable prices."
After selling that company, he continued with Swiss Stays, which provides an extendable and durable stay for dress shirt collars. The stays are sold in most major men's retail shops, like Brooks Brothers and Saks Fifth Avenue.
His latest venture, Viewabill, incorporates his second component for success as well and that is "to make sure potential customers understand how the product or service will provide them with a solution to their problem. It isn't rocket science but it is fundamental to a product's success."
"Business owners should not have to convince themselves that their product or service is needed and valuable, it should be obvious or at least you need to market it well enough so it becomes obvious" he told Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs group (CHYE).
"If it is something that will truly provide people with a benefit or solution, then it's important to not become disillusioned or discouraged by rejection. But rejection should have no impact on the person's attitude, enthusiasm or psyche. Just keep pushing."
Viewabill was the outcome of Schottenstein's personal experiences dealing with law firms.
"Because attorneys bill their clients by the hour and only send invoices at the end of the month, clients have no way of knowing what to expect when they receive their bill," he said. "As a result, there are constant battles between attorneys and clients at the end of the month when the bill finally arrives."
Schottenstein says that nearly 80 law firms have signed on to his service, which aims to make the billing process more transparent.
But for Alan Dershowitz, the prominent Harvard law professor and partner in the company, Viewabill has a broader effect than giving law firms a way to show their clients, in real time, what they're being charged for.
"I've been writing for years about the need for greater accountability," Dershowitz recently told COLlive.com, noting that real-time transparency is needed between attorneys and clients, so both parties know what's happening and there are no surprises.
"Visibility is the essence of democracy," says the human rights attorney. "You can't have democracy without access to necessary information. Viewabill is an instrument to propel that," he said.
For Lubavitch-related causes alone, Dershowitz has been exposed to distortion of truth, compounded by backdoor dealings and information not being made public.
"The Rubashkin case is a terrible miscarriage of justice. The Judge has been more of a prosecutor," he says about Judge Linda Reade, who cooperated with authorities on the raid at Rubashkin's now defunct meat plant in Postville, Iowa, before trying the case.
"It was an outrageous sentence," he said about the 27 years in prison given to Rubashkin for bank fraud and related charges, although prosecutors had sought a 25 year prison term. "Bigotry and lies have been at the heart of this case and that's why I've been so interested in it," he states.
And while Viewabill is not solving that injustice, Dershowitz believes that general transparency and accountability is key to uncovering the truth.