Prior to a Business Trip to Atlanta, a Colleague began to rave about a fellow Woman in Business that I just had to connect with. We planned to meet at the A3C Conference back in October however, our schedules didn’t align. Here we are two Months later (laugh).
B. Lerae Funderburg, Esquire is the Founder and Managing Partner of Funderburg Law, LLC. Funderburg Law is a boutique law firm that specializes in entertainment law, business law, and estate planning. https://funderburglaw.com/
(Since you prefer to be called Lerae) Lerae your Law Firm is based in Atlanta…but tell me a little about where you are originally from?
“What’s interesting is I’m originally from Boston, MA and I first came to Atlanta for Undergrad at Clark Atlanta University. Then, I attended Howard University in Washington, D.C. for Law School. Oh, and I lived in L.A. as well.”
That’s such an interesting and varied lifepath. How did you make the choice to become a Lawyer?
“Well, actually I always wanted to be a Teacher. When I was attending Clark I was undecided on my Major. So I consulted a few Peers that moved onto pursue their Careers in Education. I then decided I didn’t want to use my education to just watch toddler’s color. From that observation, I chose Criminal Justice. An even crazier experience after I decided to focus on Criminal Justice happened when one of my colleagues was killed during a case he was working on. Yea, so then I knew I didn’t want to focus on the criminal side.”
Through all these things How are you able to balance running a Law Firm and life as a Single Mother?
“Some days I feel like I’m not doing it very well. But being selective about my Clientele allows me to filter through Clients to see if they understand my life. My babies are responsible for this drive I have to succeed. So if I a potential Client comes to the office and they give the side eye at the fact that my baby is with me I already know it’s not going to be a good fit. Even though I try to take tons of “Mommy & Me” time throughout the day, I still have tons of “Mom Guilt”. I make it work It’s all about balance.”
What notable clients have you held in the past or currently?
“I mostly work with producers and publishing companies. But a few recognizable names include Kevin Hart, Sammy, Golden Brooks, and Devyne Stephens. I hate the question “who are my famous clients?”. I mostly focus on the work more so than how famous they are. Yet I understand the importance of the notoriety in building my brand. Doing the work is how I found out that I loved copyright and intellectual property law, Entertainment is a branch of that.”
If an upcoming lawyer is reading this, what are some tips you have for landing Clients?
“NETWORK, I’m always out & about at different events. Also, for criminal attorneys when you get in the courthouse and just dress the part. Show Out!”
Speaking of the work and catering to your specific Clientele…I love how you’ve simplified the legal process for small businesses and Artists alike… this is rare there seems to be a lot of mystique around all things legal. How has creating an online “store” of sorts helped both you and your Clients?
“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher so, I’d much rather educate someone and give a solution to the process. The “online store”gives me an opportunity to allow an outlet for customers that might not be able to afford to be Clients per se.”
We’ve absolutely got to talk hair, your hair is gorgeous! Natural hair has become more acceptable in professional realms in recent years. However, have you felt pressure to change your hair to assimilate to what some might deem a more professional image?
“Not in the workspace because I’ve mostly done my own my thing. However, when I was in law school one of my Professors was having an important function and she pulled me to the side and says “You might want to run a hot comb through that hair and lose your Afro-centric necklace.”I wasn’t expecting to run into this level of discrimination at an HBCU. It’s kind of disheartening to have the same experience amongst your own people as I had growing going to White Private Schools. But now I’m happy my daughter and I have matching fros.”
Lawyers get a rep for being kinda boring but you make it look FUN, why should more young Black Americans and also more Black Women become lawyers?
“Other Lawyers generally weren’t “my people”. However, social media allows me to express myself and my personality to show younger people that you can be cool and fun AND make money. Without having to be on stage or dressed scantily clad. Social media really helped me find “my people”.”
You’re a pretty girl and this is Pretty Hustlaz … soo what Pretty tips can you give ?
“Drink lots of water. ESPECIALLY if you like to drink lots of liquor you gotta balance it out! EAT Your greens. Conserve your energy and use it only on people who are deserving of it .”
What about some tips for fellow Hustlaz?
” Try to get your day started as early as possible. Soo you have control over your day. Take effort into your appearance. When you look good you do good. It helps make me proactive & motivated. Stay prepared so you never have to miss an opportunity.”
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