Some may think being a Lawyer is similar to the American Thriller Series, How to Get Away with Murder, or just arguing in court to set free a perpetrator. But being a lawyer isn’t always peaches and cream. I think being a lawyer is one of the most underrated careers. In my opinion, there is a lack of awareness about what goes into the law field compared to the medical field. I recently had the opportunity to interview Jocelyn Brown, ESQ a managing partner at the IPS legal group to not only educate myself but other people who may want to practice law in the future. In her interview, she shares insights on what it is like to be a lawyer and a little more about her personal life.
“Being an attorney can come with unique challenges. You have to have the mindset of being able to improve not only your practice but also your communication with clients.” – Joycelyn S. Brown
Describe a typical day in your life.
To be a good lawyer, you have to be responsive and pay attention to details. My typical day actually begins the night before. At the end of each day, I confirm the next day’s calendar and note any items that require my attention at the beginning of the day. I’m the single mother of an active 3-year old. My morning begins before she wakes up as I take the time to respond to emails that I didn’t get a chance to review the prior day or emails that came in after-hours.
Throughout the day, I speak with clients and community partners and work on client files. This includes litigation cases, patent applications, and trademark applications. I also maintain consistent communication with our general counsel clients. I rarely have days that are not planned out but when I am hit with a client “emergency” I am easily able to shift focus and prioritize the emergency.
Yes, being an attorney can come with unique challenges, but you have to have the mindset of being able to improve not only your practice but also your communication with the clients. That mentality alone, having the passion and drive to succeed and improve, will set you apart from others.
If it’s a day that I’m not working love everything about living in Miami. Som of my favorite places to eat are Word Famous House of Mac, Smith & Wolensky’s, and City Hall (before it closed). My favorite hangout spots are Wynwood, or the beach (at 39th and Collins).
What three words would your friends and colleagues use to describe you?
- Driven: I know what I want and I go after it, rarely allowing anything to get in the way.
- Spontaneous: I seize the moment whenever I can.
- Independent: I take pride in being able to do things on my own, including building my law firm.
Who has been your role model for your life and career, what do you admire about them?
My first and most influential role model is my mother. I know that may seem cliché, but it’s the truth. As a single mother, she was able to go back to school and get advanced degrees, succeed in her career and ultimately retire as a lieutenant colonel in the Army, all while raising two children. She is a woman of her word and she walks in faith. I do my best to live up to her example and expectations. There are many times in my professional career where her advice made all the difference.
What is your definition of happiness ?
This is an interesting question. Happiness can mean so many different things depending on your outlook on life. When we compare ourselves or our situation to others, it can rob us of our happiness. That being said, for me, I define happiness as the joy I find in the things I am most thankful for: a beautiful daughter, good health, and a successful career. I am truly blessed.
To relax are I enjoy reading books. When I was younger, I could easily read two books a week. I also like to sew and make quilts. It’s a skill and talent I have that most people wouldn’t know. I’m currently working on a massive king size quilt.
“I want people to remember me for the support I provide to the innovation community, particularly innovators of color.”
Mistakes help us gain knowledge. Without mistakes, there are some things we will never know. What are some main lessons you have learned in your lifetime?
When I first launched my law firm, I was impatient with the process and with myself. I learned that you grow the most when you force yourself to go through the process (any process) without cheating yourself of the full journey. That is a lesson that I have applied to many other facets of my life.
What have been some challenges that you have faced in your life and what accomplishment are you most proud of?
I’m actually still living through my greatest challenge in life – motherhood. Rather than viewing motherhood as an inconvenience, I fully embrace everything it has to offer, including the challenges. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I’ve grown as a person. The biggest takeaway so far is multitasking and time management. I was by myself when I went into labor and delivered my daughter myself without medical assistance. That, however, is another story for another day.
Tell me about when you started your career and what made you decide to become a lawyer, and what is next for you?
I’m in the process of launching two businesses and writing a few books. Yes, I have an undergraduate degree in engineering, but when I was working as an engineer I felt unfulfilled. I took a skills test and the results showed that I had an affinity for the law. The one thing I’m most passionate about is equality and opportunity. I believe everyone deserves a chance. Being a lawyer allows me to put that passion into practice. I planned the career change over the course of two years and started law school in the fall of 2005. I never looked back.
Joycelyn S. Brown is the managing partner at IPS Legal Group, P.A. After receiving a Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University, Ms. Brown worked as an engineer in the semiconductor industry for several years and later received her law degree from the University Of Miami School Of Law in 2008. Following law school, Ms. Brown worked as an associate at one of South Florida’s most respected law firms where she represented companies in a variety of matters including intellectual property and contract disputes, complex litigation, and employment matters.
Brown later went on to serve as a federal law clerk to Judge Marcia Cooke on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. In 2013, she began serving clients through what is now known as IPS Legal Group, P.A.
IPS Legal Group’s practice areas include patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, business startups, and complex business matters. Aside from the practice of law, Brown has served the Miami-Dade community as the President of the Willkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association, a member of the Dade-County Bar Association, and an advocate for women’s sports. In 2015, Brown was recognized as one of the top 40 Under 40 Black Professionals in Miami, Florida. Brown is also an adjunct professor at Miami Dade College. She is licensed to practice in Florida and before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.