ELYSIAN, one of our cherished core values is to build bridges between women of different generations. We are strong believers in ascendant mentoring and the mission of passing the baton to the next generation. Our cover model, Margot, and our featured profile subject, Jennifer Justice, have cultivated precisely this type of relationship. “As an artist and a creative, I’ve never felt more safe and more sane than being in the hands of JJ,” says Margot. “Not just because she’s an incredible lawyer—but because her mission in life is to uplift women and do whatever is necessary to help them succeed. There’s nothing more important than having a badass woman in your corner, and I feel very grateful to have than in JJ.”
The mythical origins of Jennifer Justice—co-founder of the female-focused advisory and legal firm The Justice Dept, and former Executive VP of Roc Nation—are not writ large in the annals of rap music (like Roc’s Jay-Z). But her meteoric rise is just as compelling as the saga of any modern music mogul.
Born in the Pacific Northwest to a teen mom who relied on public assistance to make ends meet, JJ buckled down in school and scored impressively enough on the LSAT to be recruited by Cornell Law. Before Cornell, she was an undergraduate hanging out in Seattle during the Grunge Era. She became acquainted with members of Pearl Jam and Nirvana and learned that their lawyers were both women. Mic drop. It was then that she knew she wanted to be an entertainment lawyer.
After graduating from Cornell, JJ worked briefly in corporate law and eventually made her way to the prestigious entertainment firm of Carroll, Guido & Groffman, where she became a partner within three years. One of her clients was a young Brooklyn rapper named Jay-Z, whose prolific career gave Justice an endless stream of deals to negotiate. When Jay-Z founded Roc Nation a decade later in 2008, he tapped JJ to serve as EVP of Strategic Marketing and Business Development.
After giving birth to twins via IVF, JJ began to think about what kind of legacy she wanted to leave behind for the next generation. After a stint as the President of Corporate Development at the live concert production house, Superfly, she decided to partner with some like minds to found The Justice Dept, a female-focused advisory and legal firm that works with entrepreneurs, executives, and artists, including Margot the violinist. “Whenever we have our discussions, it’s all about women being successful, women being financially successful – very successful,” says Margot.
But JJ’s guidance extends far beyond contracts and business development. “I think you always have to stay humble and thankful, and grateful for every step along the way,” says JJ. “You just never know where you’re gonna end up, and you go along for the ride knowing that you’re very lucky to be where you are. That’s something that I wish I would have known a while back: always stay humble and grateful.”
On the other hand, JJ is known for being a staunch advocate for her clients and never folding before their best deal is on the table. “Historically, women have always been the problem-solvers of the universe,” says Margot. Indeed, for a woman whose name and eponymous company are dedicated to problem-solving, it is virtually impossible for her clients—and the industry at-large—to think of Jennifer Justice as anything less than a superhero.