B. Lerae Funderburg, Esq. is the founder and managing partner of boutique law firm Funderburg Law, LLC. She specializes in entertainment and media transactions. A mother of two, Funderburg is a sister with superpowers who balances work and motherhood while always representing excellence, professionalism, integrity, and humility in every aspect of life.
Here, she shares her story.
As a Black woman, what do you consider your superpower?
My superpower as a Black woman is being a boss mommy. Motherhood is an honor and privilege that some of us are fortunate enough to experience. I come from a very women-dominated family; dads were unheard of. If there was a man around, he was more there as something to look at, be seen and not heard, fulfill the role as a provider while the woman ran everything else. The ability to give and sustain life, to be a creator in the true sense of the word, is indeed a superpower. It’s my superpower as a Black woman because I truly believe we birthed this nation. And in that respect, I feel responsible for our youth. I spend much of my legal career just uplifting, educating and empowering those around me so that they can reach their greatness in life.
What key skills or qualities make you unique?
As a lawyer, I’m always told I’m personable and approachable, which makes me unique from other attorneys. l have the keen ability to process complicated and convoluted information and break it down to a kindergarten level. That’s helped me tremendously in all walks of life, and it helps me to really connect with my clients. No one wants to be talked at. Lawyers like to sound smart all the time and for whatever reason, they like to play that game with their clients. Maybe it’s because we like to justify why we charge the big bucks, but I like to play things a little differently. I speak to my clients in a language they understand, and I go through their contracts with them, so they know what’s at stake. Drafting an agreement is one thing, but my client has to live with that document, so they need to know and understand what they’re obligated to do thereunder, and what the other party’s rights and obligations are, so they can determine if someone is in breach and what the proper procedures are to minimize damages. I can’t be there every step of the way. I like to educate and empower my clients to handle their day-to-day affairs and to consult with me when it’s necessary. I mean, I like to be paid, but I’d prefer to have clients who have a thorough understanding of their transactions because it just causes less stress for everyone in the long run. While doing things this way hasn’t always been a huge financial benefit, I’ve benefited in other ways. I have a high retention rate for my clients and they happily refer me every chance they get.
Why is it important for women of color to lead or work in leadership roles and decision making capacities?
It’s important because we are examples to all of the young women of color of the younger generations and they need to see us living in our greatness and purpose so that they know how possible it is for them to do the same. One thing I’m still learning is just how “not special” yet special we all are. I think we are conditioned to think there’s a finite number of slots in the world for certain roles, and who are we to fulfill it over someone else? But the truth is our own uniqueness is what makes us all able to be great. There is no one else like me. I’m certain there are millions of Black women attorneys who are also moms who practice entertainment law, but there isn’t another like me. It took me years to see my value and what I had to offer that made me different from those other women who are seemingly like me.
How do you feel about the hashtag #CollaborationOverCompetition?
Love it. I love my contributors because they bring their own unique and valuable perspective to everything I say and do. Just having other people from all walks of life to bounce ideas off of has been the best improvement to my business model, products and services, and brand. Different people possess qualities, skills, and talents that I do not have. It just makes everything come together full circle for me. I have this idea – I call it the Fortune 500 Mini. I meet with my other business owners who specialize in an industry different from mine and everyone else in the group. Every week, one business is in the hot seat, and everyone else pours into them from their perspective and areas of expertise. And we barter for services, so each small business involved has like their own in-house departments akin to those of the Fortune 500s. We were all invested in one another’s success, and together we’re a force to be reckoned with.
If you could have any person in the world become your mentor, who would you choose and why?
My future me, after I’ve achieved my purpose and greatness in life. Because who could mentor me better than someone who’s already been exactly where I’ve been and is presently where I want to be?