My latest Mover & Shaker is an attorney in the entertainment and sports industry. Exavier Pope is Principle Owner of The Pope Firm PC, a law practice that focuses on Entertainment and Sports, Copyright & Trademark, and Corporate Law. He has been nationally recognized as a Top Attorney by UPTOWN Magazine and the Black Entertainment & Sports Lawyers Association. Additionally, he was recognized for being a top volunteer in the city of Chicago for pro bono work. Mr. Pope has served as a volunteer attorney for countless community based organizations.
Mr. Pope earned his J.D. degree from Rutgers School of Law. He also holds two Bachelor’s degrees in Economics & Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. I also have to mention that Mr. Pope is a graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, Illinois. I happen to be a proud Dolphin (Whitney Young’s mascot) as well. So, it’s always great to connect with a Dolphin trailblazer!
Q: Tell me about your firm, The Pope Firm PC.
I started my firm in 2008. We have a portfolio of awesome and diverse clients which include Fortune 500 companies, a New York Times best-selling author, a multi-million dollar social networking site, a multiple award-winning music company, an internationally recognized television production studio, and a sports and entertainment magazine.
We currently are expanding. We will be seeking talent who have good attention to detail, the ability to negotiate and draft a contract, and perform client intake.
Q: What is a typical day for you?
I strike a balance between being a husband, father, and owner of a business on a daily basis. In the morning, I’m taking calls, going to court at the Daley Center or City Council Chambers, meeting clients, and networking with contacts to increase business. By lunch time, I connect with my law clerk to discuss additional projects that I may need to give her. By late afternoon, I’m picking my kids up from school and attending any activities with them. All day, I’m meeting with people, talking on the phone, and putting together strategies to increase business for my firm. So, it’s very important for me to stay connected through my laptop and blackberry.
Q: What skills are most important to your success as an attorney?
Reading people. You need to be able to look someone in the eye and determine if they’re lying – especially if it’s your own client. Understanding your client’s objective is important because it gives you an inside track on the best way to serve them and inform them on ways in which you can help them. Understanding your opponent’s position is important too. Negotiation skills are a must. Attention to detail is also crucial because cases turn on words such as “shall”, “is”, “the”, “not” and “remains”. Being able to look at things objectively is important. And, you always have to be the coolest cucumber in the room. You can’t get emotional.
Q: What do you love about being an attorney?
I love being a lawyer because it is something that not everyone can even attempt to start to achieve. You have to take a test and have the academic qualifications to get in as well as impress the school. Then, you have to actually make it through. Lastly you have to jump over an even harder hurdle, the Bar. Just when you thought the road before was difficult, you have to learn the practice of law, which is a completely different animal in and of itself. I think that is why you see that many of the CEOs of the top companies worldwide and almost all top politicians are actually lawyers. By nature we are ambitious leaders. I love the respect, admiration, and doors that open by virtue of being in this exclusive fraternity.
Q: Is there any news or upcoming initiatives that you’d like to share?
I make many public appearances where I speak on the business of entertainment and sports. Giving back is huge. As a former foster youth success story, I do plenty of motivational public speaking at schools and other organizations. I recently started a blog titled Ex Posts Facto on The Tribune Company owned website Chicago Now. Additionally, I am looking to start a radio talk show. Finally, I am in talks to appear as an Entertainment and Sports Legal Analyst for a major news station. People have been begging me to write a book on how I overcame the odds to be a success. I’m considering that as well.
You can follow Exavier Pope on Twitter at @ExavierPope and @ThePopeFirm for his take on business, entertainment and sports. And, visit his blog Ex Posts Facto for his fresh perspective on current entertainment and sports news and events!