Creatives in Conversation: Jade Brewster shares more about her experience as a lawyer and talks the importance of balance
From a pop culture standpoint, the portrayal of lawyers in the entertainment realm can span from everything from attorneys being crooked or amoral like Viola Davis' character in How To Get Away With Murder or the absolutely iconic underdog Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, as played by Reese Witherspoon. For those who consume a copious amount of Law and Order: SVU or who haven't been selected to proceed with jury duty, let alone be represented in court, the stark contrast in depictions of the legal system provided by Hollywood can be as misleading as they are entertaining. For Los Angeles-based attorney Jade Brewster, her experience becoming a lawyer has been one of endless discovery, especially considering how she didn't really meet other lawyers until her career truly began.
As an attorney, Jade focuses on management-side employment, a facet of law that connects her directly to the people she represents, with her cases spanning everything from ensuring just labor practices are being executed to navigating workplace discrimination cases. Jade’s work connects her with people from a broad spectrum of industries and issues, further showcasing how inclusive her dedication to best serving her clients is.
Outside of her impassioned profession as a lawyer, Jade also balances her time between fitness and philanthropy, filling her free time with volunteer work for the Make-A-Wish foundation and making sure she is exercising a well-rounded routine outside of the office. With her straightforward approach to looking at the full picture of the cases she takes on, Jade's compassion, paired with her work ethic and diligence, helps lessen the anxiety her clients may be facing, as well as shines through in all that she does. During a recent conversation with DropLabs, Jade talks more about how she "fell into" practicing law, what core values serve as her own moral compass and how to best approach being a devil's advocate in casual conversation and heated debates alike.
What do you do for a living and how did you get started?
I'm an attorney specializing in employment litigation. I represent corporations and businesses for employment issues. It's lot of what you'll commonly hear on the news, such as sexual harassment or disability discrimination cases. But also lesser known issues, such as workplace safety or discreet wage issues..
As an employment lawyer, I get to work with people from all different industries. Essentially, it's my job to understand other people's jobs. It's unique in the sense where I'm not tethered to one industry in particular. I have some entertainment clients, but also, I have clients who do work in warehouses. I have clients who are in the banking industry and I have clients who do construction work. Essentially, I go to different businesses, learn how different businesses operate and figure out how those different businesses can improve people's lives.
I'm from Austin, Texas and I went to the University of Texas, where I studied liberal arts. After graduating, I went to UCLA Law because I figured if I was gonna do something terrible, like go to law school, it might as well be in Southern California. Then it was like, if I'm going to subject myself to the practice of law, I might as well be in Southern California [Laughs]. I've been in Los Angeles for about nine years and I’m happy about that decision.
What would you say sparked your interest to pursue becoming a lawyer?
What's interesting is I never knew lawyers growing up and I had my own perception about it. I didn't even really meet lawyers until my first job as a summer associate at the District Attorney's office, and even then, I didn't know too many lawyers until I was working at a law firm. I think naturally when you're in school, you wonder about becoming a doctor or becoming a lawyer, and since I'm a bit risk adverse, I kind of fell into making law my focus.
With that in mind, what would you say surprised you the most about going to law school and diving head first into everything?
I would say what surprised me the most is that it's not necessarily about pure intelligence all the time, which I think is a common assumption. It takes so much more than that. And sometimes, the more intelligent people tend to be less successful because they're not the whole package. When I was in law school especially, I would find that there'd be very intelligent people that just weren't putting in the effort and weren't putting in the work. I really liked being exposed to different viewpoints and having the freedom to speak my mind, even when it might not be the most popular opinion or just for the sake of pure argument. Sometimes, now, I have to catch myself because I'm so used to hanging out with other lawyers [Laughs].
Early on in your career, what inspired you to focus on this type of law specifically?
I really enjoy employment law, especially because I get to meet people. What I do affects everyone in their day-to-day because we live in a society where people are spending the majority of their time at work, and then in the cases where someone is unemployed, that also is affecting them. It's my job to get involved and ask, why doesn't this person have a job or why were they terminated? Also, Wage and Hour laws really affect the populace as a whole in their day-to-day,, unlike say corporate taxes or securities.
For the most part, whether you’re employed or unemployed, these laws affect our daily life. How we get paid, when we get paid, and even when we get to eat lunch!
Would you say you have a natural knack for being a little bit of devil's advocate and asking those challenging questions?
Yeah, I'd say so, but also being able to take a challenging response and word it in the right way. President Obama was very good at that. You can be adversarial in a way that doesn't turn people off. Sometimes you'll see how people word things and how they present their argument is much more important than saying something for the sake of being adversarial or a devil's advocate. It's all about perception and how you present your case to people.
What surprised you the most about trying DropLabs EP 01's?
They're just amazing. They're so comfortable even when the technology component isn't being utilized. Even if they did nothing, they're just good shoes. First off, they were surprisingly comfortable before they were vibrating with the music, which is really cool to see how refined the shoes are. The actual vibration in and of itself isn't annoying at all, either. It's very soothing. Comparatively, you know, I think of how your phone vibrates and how it's just kind of annoying and abrasive. Somehow the DropLabs vibration is much more soothing. It's definitely a different feel and a different sound.
What would you say intrigues you the most about the potential application of the technology?
For me, I think it would be powerful in a group setting. With live music, everyone's listening to it at the same time and in the same place. I don't necessarily know if I would use the shoes by myself or in my own house. In my profession, wearing them for a full day wouldn't really work. But if I'm experiencing the shoes with multiple people, it'd be another way to connect in a group setting, and not just through the music itself but also through a tactile medium. When you're at a live show or concert, everyone sees the lights, everyone experiences the music in their own way and then being able to add another tactile response that everyone can enjoy at the same time is really interesting. The collective experience of the shoes is really intriguing to me.
How would you describe the DropLabs experience?
I don't want to say it's unique, because I think that's an overused and dull word [Laughs], but I would say it's very distinct. It's something that you've never had on your feet or experienced before, period. The fact that the creator of DropLabs decided to make shoes makes a lot of sense knowing how sensory your feet are, too. That to me was an important detail; it's untapped. I almost feel like it shouldn't be considered a shoe, but rather a totally new category. It reminds me of how ice skates and rollerblades can technically be considered shoes, but are also in their own categories as well. Ultimately, I found it to be really surprising and unexpected.
Do you have any mantras you live by or any pieces of advice that have really stuck with you throughout your career?
Throughout my career and throughout life, everyone always asks how I remember so much about law. At the end of the day, I feel like my mantra is to circle back and ask what the best thing to do is in any given situation. Forget about the law for a second and ask, what's actually right, what's the fairest and just way to approach it? I try to do my best to be fair, just and compassionate. At the end of the day, I try to do good for other people and help them the best I can. I want to make my clients happy with the work I'm doing for them. Sometimes it doesn't take much to make someone happy, and sometimes it takes a lot. I just want to make other people happy and do good. That's my North Star.
How do you like to spend your time on your days off?
Lately, I've been getting into indoor rock climbing, and I'm involved in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I also like to work out and will spend my weekends catching up on workouts, as well as balancing spending catching up with my friends. Balancing your day-to-day at the office with having a social life and maintaining fitness is very important to me.
Jade Brewster can be found on Instagram at @jahdei.
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