Attorney Yusef Poole penned Road to Barrister: An Urban Monologue because he believes “transparency inspires at-risk youth to rise above their challenges and those in positions of power to be positive influences.”

Having earned his law degree at the University of Connecticut School of Law, Poole openly shares that he didn’t grow up in the best of circumstances; his neighborhood was plagued by economic adversities and crime. Here, the New Haven, Conn. native reveals his inspiration for writing the book, why he chose the field of law and his dreams of creating a leadership development program. –yvette caslin

What was your inspiration for writing your book?

One of my passions is to help younger generations overcome obstacles and reach their constructive goals of success, especially individuals who grew up in environments similar to mine.

As a quick-fix society, a controlling mentality concentrates on immediate gratification. One goal is to demonstrate how discipline and hard work over time can lead to success, as well as an unparalleled sense of accomplishment. I also wrote the book to assist potential law school students in their decision-making process.

Why did you go to law school?

I chose to attend law school because it leads to professions of service that typically involve addressing the needs of others. In addition, it offers a flexible degree. As I entered law school, I was unsure exactly what career I wanted to pursue. Having a law degree does not restrict one’s career path to practicing law. Options include political careers, for example lobbying, policy-making in the corporate and public sectors, consulting and various private sector jobs seeking employees with legal backgrounds. Not to mention, as a young adult with neither parent earning a degree from a four-year college or university, being called “Attorney Poole” had a nice ring to it.

What difference would you like to make in the field? What impact do you wish to have?

Lack of education and unrealized potential are intertwined societal ills that I address in my writing and my practice. I desire to educate and provide useful service to people and be a positive resource for my community. This is a significant reason why I continue my employment in the public sector. My impact in the field will be measured by the extent to which I helped people resolve problems combined with the sacrifices and ways in which I sought to inspire and educate. I subscribe to the notion that effective leaders are professional servers. I’m undecided but am open to utilizing my legal background and commitment to service as a platform for a future career in politics.

How do you give back to the community?

Primarily, by sacrificing my time and I love it. I’m an active volunteer leader in the teen ministry at my church where my focus is on middle school boys. I have been invited by schools youth service programs and for-profit organizations to speak on various topics ranging from leadership development and conflict resolution to maintaining focus and maximizing your potential. I have given graduation speeches at both the high school and elementary school levels. I am a coach in a college preparatory program. I’ve written articles and other pieces to help people understand their roles and thrive in their inter-personal relationships.

Are you a mentor?

Yes. I’ve been approached to mentor students by coworkers and professional colleagues. I’m in the process of starting an innovative, academic enrichment and leadership development program for at-risk youth in urban areas. I will be calling on community leaders who currently offer resources for youth to assist in this initiative. I also hope to garner support from the institutions that comprise the Atlanta University Center District (AUC), the religious community, local government officials and the political leaders of the City of Atlanta who have prioritized youth development over other city initiatives. I’ve grown tired of people duplicating services for our youth and expecting different results. In its initial phase, this program will serve youths in metropolitan Atlanta and will adopt a mulit-tiered approach to mentoring. To reverse the destructive cycle of poverty and ignorance, we’re going to rely on individuals who possess a passion for education and a belief in the potential of all children.

For readers who may have questions or would like to assist in this project, please send an email describing your area of expertise to [email protected].