Most solo attorneys don’t start out with a specific niche, but most solo attorneys aren’t Jubilee Menzies. A graduate of Boston College Law School, Jubilee spent six years practicing antitrust, consumer protection, and class action litigation in San Francisco before deciding to go solo.
“A lot of these large class action cases provided the opportunity to craft interesting legal arguments or learn about the business practices in a given industry, but you never actually sat down face to face with a client. Prior to law school, I worked with people every day, face to face, constantly interacting and solving dynamic problems; and I found that I missed that.”
Having real clients was important to Jubilee, so she sought out pro bono opportunities through the Justice & Diversity Center (JDC) and other avenues.
One pro bono case that pointed Jubilee in a new career direction came when a family had moved their elderly, blind mother into a continuing care community in a different state. Several months in, a bedbug infestation was discovered and the facility began evicting residents. When Jubilee stepped in, the facility was refusing to work with the out-of-state family or provide additional time to find suitable housing and was actively pressuring the woman to take her belongings to a hotel within a week.
“In that one case, I researched so many different topics from housing to health care to disability rights. I was shocked by the facility’s treatment of this woman and her family and saw the world open up for them just because an attorney had gotten involved.” The case resolved favorably prior to litigation, and it left an impression on Jubilee.
“I recognized an entire population of underserved elders in our society and saw an opportunity for me to get back into working with community members on a one-on-one basis, so I decided to become an elder law attorney.”
As Jubilee launched her new solo practice, she joined CLPI to access the direct mentorship available because “the greatest challenge I have found has been knowing which steps I need to take in order to establish a sustainable business.”
As she moves forward, Jubilee remains committed to bringing to bear everything she learned from complex litigation, to community organizing, to teaching in establishing a holistic practice that is focused on clients and their access to justice.
Learn more about the Community Law Practice Incubator here.