B’Ivory LaMarr is a trial lawyer with a focus on representing underserved communities. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he knew from a young age that he wanted to help cultivate positive change. He earned his law degree from the Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. His legal career began in Atlanta, Georgia at Davis Bozeman Law Firm, but he soon forged his own path and founded The LaMarr Firm, PLLC which has offices in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Texas.
As a lawyer, he specializes in civil rights, personal injury, property claims, and criminal defense cases, with a particular enthusiasm for cases that are complex or that might be viewed as controversial. He finds his calling in bringing attention to injustice and effectuating change through these challenging cases that other lawyers might be inclined to avoid entirely. Throughout his career, B’Ivory LaMarr has been involved with many high-profile cases and has appeared on several national news networks.
Outside of work, B’Ivory gives back to his community through frequent involvement in community service projects and mentoring at-risk youth. When he does take time for himself, he enjoys travel and the arts, as well as basketball and football.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I believe every firm is unique, and that every leader of a firm has a distinct offering. My firm is grounded in principle. We’re a generalist firm, in that we have several areas of practice, but they all come to the core focus of representing the underserved and handling issues despite how complex or controversial those cases might be. We’ve now dealt with several cases on the national level, and that brings with it an obligation to manage how our cases are viewed in the press while making sure that our clients are in the best strategic position to get justice. That is a unique offering that my firm provides, and one that I envisioned some time ago.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There’s not a typical day. Every single day is different, and every day presents a different obligation that needs to be fulfilled. It might be taking on a new case, which involves meeting those clients, understanding their grievances or harms, and getting in tune with them. Often, it involves traveling twice a week or more. To some degree, it’s like counseling, whereas I’m putting myself in the position of my client to better understand what they’re going through.
There are other times that I spend brainstorming and strategizing about how I’m going to accomplish whichever goals are on my plate at any given time. I’m often tasked with dealing with the press and providing interviews relating to some of those cases. I often spend days and weeks geared on advocacy if that is what’s necessitated. The beautiful part of this job is that every day brings about its own unique challenges.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Ideas are generally brought to life by writing them out. The first step is to Identify your goal. Then you determine your specific objective that you want to bring to fruition, and that’s the starting point.
Start with very short goals. A lot of big ideas come from very small beginnings, and having small, tangible goals to accomplish will help you stay on track. Keep tackling those bite-sized elements until you’ve reached your bigger goals.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One trend that excites me is seeing people from all over the country standing together to advocate for one cause. Throughout history, we’ve had many examples of people coming together to fight for a social cause. Recently, we’ve seen more and different groups come together to exercise their power in their voice, whether for social justice issues, women’s rights, or economic empowerment. It’s refreshing to see people come to understand the power that they have to come together and start making change occur. Power is returning to the hands of the people, to dictate our cultural norms and how we want to move forward as a society. It’s something I feel absolutely compelled by.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Never stop dreaming.
We often face challenges, and in our modern world, there’s often not an easy, straightforward path to get to where we are going. But we can’t stop working toward our goals. Think of it like navigating a confusing series of roads – you might make a wrong turn here or there, but that’s not enough reason to give up. Instead, when you take a wrong turn or something doesn’t quite go as planned, you just have to take a moment to reassess the situation and figure out how to get back on course. That’s the key to being and staying productive – it’s not about not making mistakes, but rather addressing those mistakes and figuring out the best way to get back on course, no matter what life throws at you.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to never get caught up or allow anxiety to become overbearing in a specific moment. When you’re going through adversity, it’s easy to start thinking that there is not a way out, or that things might not work out favorably. It’s important to realize that challenges only last for a season. There is always a brighter day coming, and there is always a way to overcome whatever you might be going through at the moment.
As I look back at challenges that I’ve personally worked through, this truth has been very telling. Working through those challenges made me who I am today and helped me understand and be empathetic toward individuals who are going through similar challenges in their own lives.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that our realities in life are intricately linked to our tongue. Faith is the starting point toward bringing the things you want into fruition. I believe that the world exists based on the first words by God that caused Earth to be in existence. I think that those who believe, get to utilize that same power throughout our own lives to call things that we want to have into existence.
So, instead of complaining about an issue, it’s important to assert a sense of optimism on what we want to have happen. Believe on that, and use all of your mental energy, all of your strength, to encourage yourself and separate yourself from anything that would be in opposition to that. This is what I practice in my personal life, and that’s why I have enjoyed a lot of pleasant realities that were first sought through faith.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. With any company, you’re going to be learning something new on a daily basis. One challenge you’ll face from the beginning is the fear of making a mistake, and the desire to ensure that you get everything right the first time. But those just aren’t realistic goals. Many people refrain from what could be, for no other reason than because they’re afraid of making a mistake.
It’s important to have clear expectations, to be in tune with what your goals are, and to not let anything get in the way of that. But failures bring learning, which result in confidence. Such lessons teach us what we need to implement to actually become a success.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Being genuine. In this day and age, people don’t necessarily connect with the idea of what a brand is. They connect with the authenticity and genuineness of what a brand represents. It’s important to be yourself, because there will always be a segment and a market of people who are looking for you. It’s important to know that there are people specifically looking for someone who offers your skillset.
This is something that I feel I’ve been good at doing – just being myself, being true to who I am, and being bold in the principles I stand for. There are many people throughout the country who are looking for someone who demonstrates exactly that type of tenacity and authenticity. And that has been the key to the success and rapid growth that I’ve realized.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure that I experienced early on as an entrepreneur was prompted by a change in market conditions. I was engaged in a real estate business during the 2008 recession, and I didn’t learn how to adapt or how to make the appropriate changes to continue through those conditions. Instead, I fell into the thought process of making excuses.
If you want to succeed, you can’t just make excuses. You have to learn to make adjustments and adapt to market conditions. No matter what the market conditions are, there will always be some business or some type of trade or service that continues to exist and remain viable, and you have to take your lessons from those when transitions occur. It’s something I had to learn the hard way, and now carry forward.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m a strong proponent of how Uber has transformed our society and increased the employment and flexibility of entrepreneurs. Uber, Uber Eats, and Instacart are all platforms that I use regularly, to add convenience to my life. So, I’m a strong proponent of entrepreneurial ideas that relate to service-related technology. It’s a way to increase the amount of entrepreneurs in a way that is much less strenuous than going out and creating your own platform from scratch. I’m a strong proponent of individuals using their minds creatively to start or become a part of more service-related ideas like that.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I think that the best way to spend $100 is buying self-help and entrepreneurial books. Lessons that we learn from our own personal experiences often cost a lot more than $100, and come with a lot more hardship and heartache. By learning those lessons from others via books, you’re gaining that same wisdom for a fraction of the costs, time, and stress involved in learning the same lesson first-hand.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
The best productivity software I’m using right now would probably be Zoom. We’ve come a long way, just in the last 10 years, in our ability to connect with individuals and manage those close connections, whether personally or professionally. Zoom has become a very logical and convenient way to maintain those connections, as we have experienced through the pandemic.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I will have to go with The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss. This book serves two purposes.
One, it trains your mind to be more efficient with your time, and teaches you how to appropriately delegate certain tasks so you can become more productive. Secondly, it recommends specific resources to help you achieve those changes.
This book is less than $30, and is probably the one of the best investments I’ve made transforming how I think as an entrepreneur.
What is your favorite quote?
“To whom much is given, much is required.”
It’s a quote that implies a responsibility and an obligation to society to make the world a better place. And it’s very humbling, because it reminds you that no matter how successful you become, you‘re tasked with an obligation and responsibility to give back and to commit your time and efforts to society, to the community, and to the world.
- When planning your path forward, it’s best to break your goals down into smaller, bite-size pieces that you can more easily tackle one after another.
- Productivity and success aren’t about avoiding all mistakes – it’s about effectively managing and overcoming your mistakes as they come.
- Instead of complaining when things go wrong, focus on encouraging yourself to stay on track and keep moving toward your goals. Don’t let every little wrong turn leave you discouraged.
- Be genuine.
- Never stop looking for new information and new viewpoints. You’ll keep learning either way, but a book can teach you a lesson far more cheaply than a mistake will.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.