Jennifer Justice: More Than a Pretty Face
By Julia Savacool
Name: Jennifer Justice
Job: Music-industry lawyer
Location: New York City
Notable Quote: "Music crosses all borders. It is the ultimate inspiration."
The daughter of a single welfare mother, Jennifer Justice grew up in Washington state during the grunge craze. Today, she is the youngest partner at the entertainment law firm Carroll, Guido & Groffman, representing clients like Jay-Z and Method Man. How did she get from there to here? Marie Claire talked with Justice about beating the odds.
Q: So what exactly do you do?
A: My job is to know everything about the musicians we represent and what they want in life. I go to all the shows, become friends with them. In this business, you have to be able to do the smart-lawyer thing, but also be the person who can hang with Velvet Revolver and have that je ne sais quoi. You cant be intimidated and you cant be starstruck or, the other way around, you cant think that these singers are a bunch of idiots. You have to be able to move between worlds effortlessly, and my background has helped me do that.
A: I grew up as one of three kids to a teenage mom. My mother was so young when she had me that now I have friends her age. I knew that I never wanted to be like that dependent on men and welfare to get by. So I did well in school, went to college, then got a scholarship to Cornell Law School.
Q: Its a big leap from welfare to where you are now.
A: Actually, a lot of my clients come from the same background as I do. Theres a lot of insecurity in growing up poor. My clients want guidance. And they know that Im here to look after their business assets.
Q: Whats the coolest thing about being a music lawyer?
A: I dont need two separate outfits for my job and my life were not the corporate suit types! But seriously, I love that, as a music lawyer, I stand for someones ideas; Im representing an art form. As a corporate lawyer, you often dont stand for anything.