The Modern Law Library

'Never Far From Home' chronicles lawyer's journey from NYC projects to Microsoft executive offices

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Bruce Jackson grew up shuttling between Brooklyn and Manhattan public housing projects in New York City. His journey led him to Hofstra University and then the Georgetown University Law Center. 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 podcast, 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 is 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 career possible and is unflinching about the dangers that he faced, the racism that he encountered, and the mistakes that he made in his personal life as he pursued professional success.

Jackson tells Rawles that before demanding that others share their stories with us, it important to tell our truths, as well.

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.

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In This Podcast:

<p>Bruce Jackson. Photograph © Invision Photo by Erskine Isaac.</p>

Bruce Jackson. Photograph © Invision Photo by Erskine Isaac.

Bruce Jackson is an associate general counsel at Microsoft and managing director for strategic partnerships out of the office of the president at Microsoft. Born in Brooklyn, New York City, he studied law at the Georgetown University Law Center and spent a decade working in entertainment law with some of the top music talent in the country. Since then, he has received Microsoft’s diversity award, participated in Microsoft’s law and corporate affairs’ diversity efforts, helped launch Microsoft’s Elevate American Veterans Initiative, and worked to develop its diverse recruitment pipeline. Never Far From Home: My Journey From Brooklyn to Hip Hop, Microsoft, and the Law is his first book.

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