Jasmin A. Robinson: “You don’t have to change anything”

I’m changing 5% of lawyers being black: I’m a force of nature and goodness for my community. When I share my story and work with my future law students, I see a weight lifted off their shoulders: more goodness. Accordingly, I will continue working day in and out to ensure our voices are heard and […]

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I’m changing 5% of lawyers being black: I’m a force of nature and goodness for my community. When I share my story and work with my future law students, I see a weight lifted off their shoulders: more goodness. Accordingly, I will continue working day in and out to ensure our voices are heard and systematic oppressions are dismantled.

As a part of my series about “5 things I wish someone told me when I first became an attorney”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jasmin A. Robinson, Esq.

5% of lawyers are black. So, Jasmin A. Robinson, Esq. (or Attorney Jas as many call her), is an entrepreneurship and entertainment attorney and law school coach for Jas Talks Law: a law firm and law school admissions consulting brand created to enhance cultural diversity in the legal field by advising and coaching future attorneys. Attorney Jas is an honors graduate of Mercer University School of Law and the best HBCU ever, Hampton University. Further, being from Richmond, Virginia, and the first lawyer in her family, Attorney Jas knew she could and would change the trajectory of diverse future lawyers nationwide. As a result of her efforts, her #FutureLawyers have received over $2,000,000 in law school scholarships. Moreover, she is the author of “From Maybe to Yes: Your Law School Personal Statement Workbook.” Furthermore, she has launched two online courses: the Pre-Law Masterclass and the 1L Success Academy, to assist pre-law and first-year law students. In addition, Attorney Jas serves as a panelist and speaker at pre-law and law school events. Moreover, Attorney Jas has a millennial approach to serving as your legal counsel: she cares about you, your business, your family, but most importantly, your time. As an entrepreneurship and entertainment lawyer, Attorney Jas makes it her mission to handle your business, correctly, the FIRST time around because no one has time or money to waste! She protects brands by ensuring they are trademarked, for example, and have the correct legal measures in place. She prevents problems from happening and/or solve them if they do occur. Since launching her law practice, her clientele includes influencers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and activists.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is the “backstory” that brought you to this particular career path in Law?

Myfamily is my inspiration for becoming a lawyer.

As a child, I witnessed my parents’ separation and divorce. In my mother’s process of working with a family lawyer, I questioned the services the lawyer provided: getting my mother out of her “bad situation.” From that day forward, I decided to study family law and help individuals, like my mother, receive the outcome that they deserve.

As a black girl growing up in a single-parent household, I knew my mother could not afford college, let alone law school tuition. Nevertheless, hard work, mentorship, and student loans helped me attend Hampton University and then law school at Mercer University School of Law. Jas Talks Law was officially founded a little after graduating from law school with a tremendous amount of debt. From that day forward, I dedicated myself to every future lawyer lacking finances, guidance, and support (like I did when going through the law school admissions process).

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your law career?

In my legal profession, there have been shifts, but they all worked out in my favor. One of the most interesting stories about my law career journey has been the transition that occurred when I realized my calling was not practicing law full-time.

I had this realization after becoming a seasonal recruiter for Mercer Law while waiting on my bar results. Nevertheless, after passing the bar, I began working at a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia. After some time at the law firm, my boss and I mutually decided it was not working out — I was fired, basically! Nevertheless, leaving the firm was the “push” I didn’t know I needed because this transition made me realize my calling was coaching future lawyers.

When I began coaching future lawyers, one of my first clients was a young lady that was on academic probation and then dismissed from law school. Through my services, she earned admission to a new law school with $37,000 a year in scholarship — a pivotal moment for Jas Talks Law!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

My team and I are currently working on the “State of the Black Lawyer” town hall series: an ongoing conversation with black lawyers around politics, laws, the #blacklivesmatter movement, and being a black lawyer in America. My goal is to continue educating the public and spreading awareness around 5% (technically 4.8%) of lawyers being black.

Moreover, to help spread awareness, the Jas Talks Law brand recently launched apparel that highlights 5% of lawyers being black.

What are some of the most interesting cases you have been involved in? Without sharing anything confidential can you share any stories?

Jas Talks Law is not only a law school coaching brand; we are a law firm that works in Entrepreneurship and Entertainment Law. Our Entrepreneurship and Entertainment Law services include:​

  • Business, Corporation & Non-Profit Formation and Structuring
  • Intellectual Property Protection
  • Drafting and Negotiating Contracts and Agreements
  • Strategic Branding and Marketing

Many of my cases involve clients releasing brands that are already owned by other companies. Sharing this news to clients can be hard, but it’s necessary. After sharing this news, clients either become stagnant or continue promoting their brand or business with hopes that they do not receive a cease and desist letter. Other times, clients listen to my rebrand advice or partners with the company that has the rights to the trademark. Accordingly, my clients either pivot, continue or fight it but I prefer for my clients to be proactive when creating their brand.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

As the founder of the first black woman-owned law school coaching business, I consider myself a mix between Harriet Tubman and Maggie L. Walker.

My favorite TV series is Underground, an American drama series created by Misha Green and Joe Pokaski about the Underground Railroad in Antebellum Georgia. Through watching this, I grew a stronger appreciation for Harriet Tubman. In a sense, I feel like I’m building an underground railroad to the legal profession and the kickback is this: I’m trying to get others off “the plantation.” Why? Because when it comes to my future lawyers, I teach that you can go to law school and not be in an outrageous amount of debt.

African-American teacher and Businesswoman, Maggie L. Walker, has also been an inspiration. As a leader with roots in Richmond, Va like me, Maggie L. Walker achieved success by being the first black woman to charter a bank and serve as its president in the United States. We both had/have a vision for tangible improvements in the black community.

What advice would you give to a young person considering a career in law?

I would say to combat all of their excuses as to why they cannot attend law school. I’ve found that the top two excuses are 1. tuition and 2. the law school admission test (LSAT). As lawyers, we create solutions and to prepare for your future career you should find solutions right now. As such, have me, your law school coach, be your solution: I offer many affordable products and services. I would also say to be mindful of your boundaries with who you choose to share your law school dream — people will project their fear onto you!

If you had the ability to make three reforms in our judicial/legal system, which three would you start with? Why?

Three reforms that I would create are increasing the 5% of black lawyers, eliminating qualified immunity for police officers, and eliminating the bar exam requirement.

It is simple: The LSAT does not predict law school success. For example, I had a law LSAT score (144) but graduated law school with honors and passed the bar after the first attempt. Moreover, many factors play a role in low standardized testing scores. These factors range from unfair stressors such as worrying about getting pulled over while driving to the library or unequal access to tutors. When we remove the LSAT requirement, we will have a higher percentage of black lawyers.

If a plaintiff sues an officer for an unjust action, the officer has a right to request qualified immunity. If granted, the claim of excessive force against the officer is dismissed. If qualified immunity is eliminated, we can hold officers, and their departments, accountable.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I’m changing 5% of lawyers being black: I’m a force of nature and goodness for my community. When I share my story and work with my future law students, I see a weight lifted off their shoulders: more goodness. Accordingly, I will continue working day in and out to ensure our voices are heard and systematic oppressions are dismantled.

I know this is not an easy job. What drives you?

The unjust treatment in black and brown communities drives me to change millions of lives. Accordingly, I must remain focused on my mission: helping thousands of black men and women become lawyers that make the justice system better.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. “You don’t have to do litigation.” It took me a year to realize that I can practice law even if I do not practice litigation. With Jas Talks Law, I am a transactional lawyer.
  2. “You should get a law school coach so you won’t be in endless debt.” If only Jas Talks Law existed!
  3. “You don’t have to change anything about who you/we are.” Many people said, “consider straightening your hair” or “consider the way you talk.”
  4. “You can still go to law school with a low LSAT score.” I had a 144 LSAT score, which is pretty low. I’m here to tell law students that you can still do well in law school without a high LSAT score.
  5. I wish there were more conversations about mental health. In school, I did not realize until well after graduation that I had several anxiety attacks.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would love to sit down with Beyonce! Her activism for the black community is admirable. Moreover, she has three beautiful children that may want to become lawyers. As such, when it comes to philanthropy, I know Beyoncé will see and understand my vision that will dismantle 5% of lawyers being black.

I would also love to sit down with Michelle Obama. For starters. Michelle Obama didn’t pass the bar exam until her second attempt but still achieved much success. I love her transparency and as such, I would love to talk more about her law school journey.

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