The Human Lawyer: Joyce Brafford
Joyce is a listener. She’s that person you talk to and you see or feel the wheels turning. As a result, she’s that person who is an amazing distiller of information. Garbage (information) in doesn’t necessarily mean garbage (information) out when you deal with Joyce, because after she internalizes a message, she’ll repackage it in a more digestible form.
Joyce is also an optimist. Her positivity is palpable and inspiring. You’ll get a taste of that when you read her story, in her words, below.
How’d you get to where you are today?
It’s a pretty common story. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life, so I sought out advice from my network. After law school, I reached out to Allan Head, the former head of the North Carolina Bar Association (FYI: The NCBA is a professional organization for members of the NC legal community who want to grow, learn, commune, and give back. It provides amazing benefits to their members that range from networking to discounts on essential services. The volunteer-driven service projects provide needed support for our fellow citizens. And the CLE is second to none!).
I was lucky enough to work at the NCBA in college and again in law school. Allan gave me a job, and introduced me to Erik Mazzone, for whom I would later work. Erik taught me nearly everything I know about legal tech, practice management, and law firm key performance indicators (KPIs). When I was ready for the next challenge, I again connected with my network to search for the next opportunity. A friend let me know Bill O’Boyle, formerly at Citrix, at North State Consulting was hiring. I’ve been helping small legal and tech companies find the right solutions to increase revenue since then.
What inspires/fulfills you in your practice?
I’m inspired by my team. Like most millennials (go ahead, stop reading and hate me now), I need to work for an employer who understands the holistic nature of people. That means allowing employees to develop their passions and work toward self-actualization. In return, we come to work and build a sense of community. We’re a team working for the same goal. Everyday, you hear someone in our office asking how they can help another team member or asking a colleague a personal question. And guess what, they ask the question because they care about the answer. I know, so weird. That sense of community is a driver to deliver results every single day. No one wants to let the team down.
Outside of work, what are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about my family. Being a mom is the single most important job I have. I have hobbies (painting, yoga, kayaking), and I have personal causes (access to justice, equal treatment under the law for persons in the LGBT community). But absolutely nothing is as important as helping my little person become a kind, generous young lady. That means lots of trips to the park, the zoo, museums, and endless hours practicing letters, numbers, shapes, etc.
What’s one thing you would change about the practice of law?
I’d make it easier to share space, resources and responsibilities. As we move toward a sharing, gig-based economy, the practice of law must radically shift. It’s going to be important for young lawyers and lawyers in transition to be able to practice in ways which are economically responsible. That means coworking spaces, shared office solutions, and limited scope agreements. If we don’t make it easier for lawyers to respond to our shifting economy, I am afraid we’ll lose a lot of good talent to other fields.
One unique and personal fact about you that the world should know.
I’m an embarrassingly huge fan of Hozier. If you go to the concert in Raleigh this year, please don’t film me while I dance around like no one is watching. Yes, I know everyone is watching. I look ridiculous. I’m just hoping I don’t end up online. Please support me in this effort.
To connect with or learn more about Joyce, find her here.