Brandon Cohen, JD ‘12, got a perfect 180 on the LSAT. Not many people can achieve that, no matter how hard they study. His wife, Melissa Cohen, JD ‘12, has always enjoyed doing logic games, an essential component of the LSAT. As they both also share a passion for helping others to succeed, it was a natural step for them to start State of Mind Test Prep, a LSAT test preparation company, in 2012.
Brandon and Melissa Cohen with Jordan Gray
Teaching and assisting others comes naturally to Brandon. He has always held teaching jobs including working as a swim instructor, teaching at his temple, and teaching LSAT prep before and during law school. Melissa initially began doing marketing and event planning for the company and is now an instructor as well. The Cohens run the entire business themselves and are hoping to expand. Their main office is in Coral Gables, and they also have an office in Boca Raton.
What sets State of Mind Test Prep apart from other companies, according to Brandon, is his original curriculum. “I developed a different way of teaching than what else is out there. My curriculum really gets into the underlying context and teaches a new way of thinking. The message I teach is reflected in the results we have achieved,” he said.
Classes at State of Mind Test Prep are small to offer an intimate teaching environment. They also offer one-on-one sessions. “We often spend an extra hour talking to students about law school, answering questions about the bar and really go the extra mile. I think it is so important to be a mentor to every student. I am glad we were able to bring that to Miami,” said Melissa.
Giving back to the community is important to the young alumni, and they have made it integral to their business. “My whole job is giving back. I find myself enjoying helping others. I am always trying to create opportunities to pay it forward,” said Brandon.
State of Mind Test Prep offers scholarships and free classes and has very generously donated to fund summer internships for students working in public service through Miami Law’s HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. Last summer, their donation funded 2L Miami Scholar Jordan Gray’s public interest internship working at The Council for Children’s Rights, a non-profit that provides comprehensive advocacy and legal services for children on issues such as education, abuse and neglect, mental health, and juvenile justice.
“It was so nice to meet Brandon and Melissa and put faces to the names that made my summer experience possible,” said Gray. “Their donation allowed me the chance to intern with an incredible organization representing children in Charlotte, NC. Without Brandon and Melissa, my summer experience would not have been possible, so I am forever grateful to them.”
The Cohens met at Miami Law. Sharing a passion for business law, they took courses in intellectual property, patent and copyright, and labor and employment law together which would later prove invaluable once they opened their own business.
They are also both die-hard ‘Canes fans. Although Brandon attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies, many of his family members attended the University of Miami. Melissa graduated from the University of Miami and did not even consider other law schools. They both wished to remain in South Florida after graduation which made the decision to attend Miami Law easy for them.
For students interested in starting their own business, Brandon advises, “you really have to love being an entrepreneur and make it your life. You have to live and breathe every angle of it. If you do, then it is the greatest job in the world.”