Justin Sterling

Justin Sterling

Carving His Place in the Law

AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney?
Sterling: To be honest, the law found me – my personal experiences growing up on the East Coast involved many legal issues. I saw that I could learn from my own experiences and share what I learned with others so that they could have strength and hope when dealing with their own similar legal issues. It was after I graduated from college that I really knew I wanted to be an attorney because I saw it as a way to be of service to others and to be of value to the community.

AALM: What first drew you to practice entertainment and business law?
Sterling: My law practice is centrally located in Los Angeles. I became involved in entertainment and business law because I want to connect with the people around me. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world and there are many business entrepreneurs from around the globe. One of the greatest things about working with these people is that they create a vibrant atmosphere that differs from the typical mentality many other attorneys have to deal with. The energy and creativity that my clients bring to the table makes it very easy to work with them. Almost everyone I meet is a business entrepreneur or involved in the arts and entertainment industry. I wanted to apply my legal skills in a way that allowed me to make a valuable contribution to the Los Angeles community.

AALM: What compelled you to start your own practice?
Sterling: My family members and role models inspired me to take a leap of faith and work hard to create my own law practice. Prior to receiving my license to practice law, I served as a law clerk and managed the litigation department for various law firms. I learned how to effectively handle a large caseload and client relations. This provided me the confidence and experience to start my own law practice. My father also had his own business and was an example on how to effectively run a business. My mother has created and operated a business involving vacation rentals. My sister created a graphic designing business and my brother created a personal training business. Also Tom Mesereau has shared that starting his own practice was a rewarding experience. I felt compelled to start my own practice so I could also experience the reward of creating something.

AALM: What pro bono or nonprofit work are you involved in? What drew you to those projects?
Sterling: I have been volunteering for the Mesereau Free Legal Clinic (MFLC) for the past seven years. MFLC is located in the heart of South Central Los Angeles and ensures that the residents of Los Angeles County are afforded free professional quality legal services regardless of income, circumstances or station in life. During law school, I participated in an internship through the MFLC and the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women. My internship was supervised by MFLC Executive Director Sophia Harris and focused on re-entry programs helping formerly incarcerated women find services to re-enter the community. Everyone I encountered through MFLC showed me that my legal education and training could help others. The attorneys at MFLC not only showed me how to effectively serve my community, they also became my support group. It was through their help and encouragement that I began to find my place in the world of law. I can honestly say that the role they played, and continue to play, in my life is a huge part of not only the success I believe I have had so far, but also the success that I hope to find in the future.