Jamilah D. LeCruise
31, Attorney/Owner, The Law Office of J. D. LeCruise, PLLC
How do you see your generation (millennials)? How do you think older generations define millennials?
Millennials know what we want, and we want it now. We are not afraid to go out and get it, and, due to the struggles of previous generations, we have far more opportunities to do so. We want to be dynamic leaders and have success in every facet of our lives. I think older generations can view millennials as unwilling to put in the work necessary or unwilling to wait our turn to lead. They see us as the generation who could not survive without smartphones and the Internet. The divide between the two generations must be improved by better communication as there is a lot we can learn from each other.
In what ways does having younger employees add to a company's success?
Younger employees bring innovation and added creativity to the workplace. However, it is important that younger employees not take for granted the experience and wisdom older employees bring to the company. They should not neglect to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that many of the seasoned workers have opened doors for them in business. While young employees are the future of the company, they must keep in mind that future generations can benefit from the past.
What have been a few keys to your success so far?
My parents worked extremely hard to get out of impoverished environments to create better lives for themselves and for me as a result. They emphasized education from the beginning. Because of their efforts, I grew up knowing that excellence is not the exception to the rule but does not come without dedication. I also learned the importance of never giving up on my goals. The Japanese proverb of Fall down seven times, get up eight rings true. I had the opportunity to become a first-generation college student and the first person in my family to become a lawyer.
Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?
I think millennials can be somewhat entitled. We are the generation of participation trophies, and some in our group take hard work for granted. I also believe that some millennials can be self-important and overlook the shoulders on which they stand and the people whose efforts made it much easier for our generation. We owe too much to too many people and should give back without having a second thought.
What do you look for in a job/company?
I look for flexibility and the ability to advance in a company, which values community service as part of its brand. I admire companies where employees will have some degree of autonomy and are valued as stakeholders. The best places to work are those that view the future as full of possibilities and adventure yet maintain an overall strategy to move it carefully toward its goals.
What kinds of digital platforms do you feel you have benefited from in your career?
LinkedIn has been the most useful digital platform for me, and I have recently created a LinkedIn company page. Avvo, an online legal services marketplace, and Google My Business have also proven to be beneficial.
What do you feel are some of the biggest perks of living in Coastal Virginia? What changes do you think the region should implement to continue to be a draw for millennials?
Coastal Virginia is a great place to work and play. It has both urban and suburban areas within a short distance but still feels like a fairly tight-knit community. I enjoy the fact that there are people from many different places and that the region is always evolving. Millennials like choices. The region should implement systems to ease travel difficulties between the cities and make sure that the region stays connected as a whole. There should also be a focus on constantly working to improve our education systems from pre-K to the higher education level so that young professionals find this area of Virginia attractive to open businesses and raise families.
Tell us about some of your favorite ways to do worthwhile networking.
I think it is important to diversify the ways in which we network. Some people look at networking as merely a task to complete in order to obtain a job. However, networking is so much more. I like to attend as many networking events as I can: from business and political events to cultural programs and community forums. We should not think of networking as only a part of our business lives but an integral part of everything we do.
How are you contributing to life/community outside of the workplace?
I proudly serve as vice president of the corporate board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Virginia, where we share a significant decision-making role in the 11 clubs serving 3,000 children in the Seven Cities. I have worked as resource development chair, on the board development committee, the Be The Difference committee, and the Youth of the Year Scholarship committee. I am also a member of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia board of directors, the Hampton Roads Chamber, the Downtown Norfolk Council and the Norfolk City Democratic Committee. I am an active member of the Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar Association Young Lawyers Committee, which organizes many charity events to give back to the local community. I am the 2017 recipient of the organization’s Walter E. Hoffman Community Service Award.
From her nomination:
“Jamilah is extremely professional and well known throughout the legal community. She is definitely “on the move,” as I feel that Norfolk will continue to hear more and more about her in the years to come.”
—Caswell Richardson, former coworker