CEO and Jay-Z’s former lawyer on her best career advice for new grads

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Jennifer Justice has worked with some of the biggest names in music. A longtime entertainment lawyer, Justice started her career as an attorney in 1998, ultimately representing major names such as Mark Ronson, OutKast and Jay-Z. The latter hired her as an attorney at his own entertainment company, Roc Nation, in 2010.

Today, Justice, who preferred not to share her age (women “are 100% discriminated against due to our age”), is the CEO and founder of justice“>The Justice Department. It’s a three-part business in which she continues to offer legal representation for big names such as Salt-N-Pepa, invests in female-founded companies and gives them advice via her podcast, “Takin’ Care of Lady Business.”

Despite her stellar career, Justice admits she made a few mistakes along the way. Though she may not do anything differently, here’s what she’d advise new graduates — especially women — to consider in their work life.

‘I could have advocated to get more’

Justice worked at her first job for 11 years. Looking back, she realizes she could’ve done more to ensure a higher pay.

While there, she’d get a salary and an end-of-year bonus that included commissions from her clients. The latter’s really where she made most of her money, she says, and “I could have advocated to get more of that commission.”

She also could have gone to work at another firm instead of staying at her first for so many years. “I should have left earlier,” she says, adding that “that’s really how you make more money.”

At the time, Justice was nervous about taking those risks. “I was just never betting on myself,” she says. “I was too concerned that I didn’t have enough experience or I didn’t have the clientele” to start her own law firm or maybe ask for more money at her job.

When it comes to earnings such as salary and commissions, it “all compounds over time,” she says. Women who advocate for themselves early on — whether in their company or when they jump to another firm — can end up much better off financially.

‘You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s fine’

Still, Justice wouldn’t necessarily have done anything differently. “It’s not that it didn’t work out,” she says. It’s that now, looking back, she sees where she could’ve taken better advantage of the moment. These days, she uses these lessons to advise other women and her clients.

“You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s fine,” she says of what she’d say to any forthcoming graduates keen to do everything right. “Just remedy it the next go round.”

“There’s so many chances in your career and there’s so many pivots,” she says, adding that, “the main thing is make sure your mind is open and you learn from them and say, ‘What could I have done differently? Or what did I learn? How can I do better the next time?'”

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