Bruce Jackson grew up shuttling between Brooklyn and Manhattan public housing projects. His journey led him to Hofstra University, then Georgetown Law. He ditched a white-shoe firm job to launch a career in entertainment law, and represented some of the hottest hip-hop and rap artists in the 1990s. When Napster changed the music industry, Jackson left for Seattle and Microsoft, where he traded in his sharp suits for polos and khakis, and sick beats for mosh pits–briefly. As he tells the ABA Journal’s Lee Rawles in this episode of the Modern Law Library, one exposure to a Seattle grunge concert had him packing his bags to return to New York City.
But Jackson didn’t leave Microsoft—where he now serves as an associate general counsel—and a major focus of his career at the company has been to increase the tech giant’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. In Never Far From Home: My Journey from Brooklyn to Hip Hop, Microsoft, and the Law, Jackson reflects on the people and programs that made his own career possible, and is unflinching about the dangers he faced, the racism he encountered, and the mistakes he made in his personal life as he pursued professional success. Jackson tells Rawles that before demanding others share their stories with us, it important to tell our truths as well.
In this episode of the podcast, Jackson shares how his childhood love of musical theater dovetailed with his skill at accountancy and tax law while representing his clients in the hip-hop music scene. He discusses his top tips for improving the diversity pipeline within organizations, and reflects on finding commonality with people from entirely different backgrounds to his own.
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