In celebration of Black History Month, Houston attorneys Austin Yancy and Larry C. Gibson join the Fast Takes podcast to share their life stories and how those experiences have influenced their legal practices.
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Research Attorney, Dallas & Houston
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|Larry C. Gibson
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Courtney White: Hi everyone. I am Courtney White, and this is Jackson Walker Fast Takes. Jackson Walker deeply values various cultures and cultural experiences, and Jackson Walker is extremely proud of our African American attorneys and allied professionals who have provided leadership and helped shape our firm into what it is today. I asked two of my colleagues to join this episode to share more of their life story and how those experiences have shaped their legal practices here at Jackson Walker. Austin Yancy is an associate in the Houston office, and Larry Gibson is an associate in the Houston office as well. Austin and Larry, welcome to the podcast.
Austin Yancy: Hi Courtney. Thanks for having us.
Larry Gibson: Thanks for having me, Courtney, this is awesome.
Courtney White: We are so glad to have you both on the podcast today, and Larry, I’d love to hear a little bit more about your story.
Larry Gibson: Okay, I’ll just start right in. I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina originally. I was born into a pretty blue-collar family. They raised me on great morals and things like that, and always pushed me to do well at whatever I was doing. They wanted me to be the best me I could be whether it was in sports, or academically, and that type of encouragement paid off. I was able to compete in college for Cornell’s track and field team where I ran the 200, 400, and the sprint relays.
I was also able to do very well academically at Cornell, which was pretty cool, and that’s also where I made a lot of friends. Not only from track, but also from my fraternity. I became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated there, and being from a family that was really blue collar, they gave me great morals and they gave me great encouragement. However, my fraternal family is who gave me a lot of career advice.
Leaving Cornell, I went into teaching. I taught 9th and 10th grade math for four years, which was really fun. It was a great impact on the kids. My fraternity brothers, they always kind of stayed in my ear, like, ‘Larry, you know, you went to Cornell to look into the legal profession so when you’re going to get back on that track?’ So, one day, I went over to one of my fraternity brother’s homes in Charlotte, he’s a plastic surgeon, great guy, and he sat me down, and we just had a conversation. And at the end of the conversation, I knew exactly how I was going to apply to law school. I knew when I was going to apply to law school, how I was going to study for the LSAT, and things like that, and about how much money and scholarships I should be getting. That conversation, it changed my life.
After leaving the teaching career, I went to Georgetown University where obviously I studied law, and I’ll be honest with you, my very first semester at Georgetown is when I got introduced to Jackson Walker, and during that first semester, being introduced Jackson Walker, I was like, you know what, this is the firm that I definitely would love to go to.
Courtney White: The recruiting team will love to hear that.
Larry Gibson: Yeah, it was great. So, we did an event with the Texas Club at Georgetown, where I was able to meet a lot of attorneys, whether they were partners or associates from Jackson Walker. They were just so down to earth, they were great people, and I could really see myself working with them, or at least learning from them. And so I reached out, stayed connected, and I’m here today. After my first year of law school, I summered at Jackson Walker. I actually summered both summers here. Both times, I had an amazing experience. I learned so much. I did real work. I was able to actually see what being an attorney might feel like.
It also was very empowering because I was able to see people who were like me go about developing business their own way. And with their encouragement, I thought to myself, okay, how would I like to see myself develop business in the future? And in doing so I thought about, okay, what’s going on right now that I really, you know, pay attention to all the time. And that thing happened to be the Name, Image, and Likeness deals that are going on in college sports, and also high school sports. And so, thinking about, you know, the people that I looked up to Jackson Walker, during my summers, I went ahead and started a YouTube channel where I discussed Name, Image, and likeness deals, and it kind of blew up pretty fast. My first video got like 44,000 views.
Courtney White: That is awesome. And first of all, I didn’t know about that before we decided to tape this podcast. That is awesome.
Larry Gibson: Thank you so much. Yeah. So, the first one, we did 44,000 views. And I was like, wow, this is pretty cool. And so, I stayed with it, I was able to get monetized pretty fast, like within three weeks. The firm loved it, too. When I told the people at the firm that I was doing it, they were super encouraging. Since working here has been the exact environment that I thought I was going to get during the summer. That’s been really cool. The firm has been so encouraging in the way I want to develop my business that they even allowed me to bring in my own client during my first year here, and so it’s been really good.
Courtney White: Thank you so much, Larry for sharing that. We-I learned a little bit more about you. So that was awesome. Austin, would love to hear more about your story.
Austin Yancy: Yeah, thanks again for having us, Courtney. And Larry, that was great to hear. I learned some new things about you as well. So, I grew up in the Houston area. I was born and raised here. I actually grew up in League City, Texas, which is about halfway between Houston and Galveston. I grew up an only child, and I think, like most kids, involved in youth sports early on as I was, I wanted to be a pro athlete when I got older. But for some reason, the other career path was always in the back of my mind was being an attorney. I think I was just drawn to the suits and the hard sided briefcases that you would see on TV. Because there were no other attorneys in my family. But my parents always encouraged me to focus on working hard in school getting good grades, because they knew that would open up a lot of doors later in life. They also encouraged me just to treat people well and be decent to folks that you meet. And I didn’t realize at the time, but that’s such an important part of my ability to build relationships with folks that have served me throughout my career.
I should note, I was also fortunate enough to hit the genetic lottery, like Larry and received a full athletic scholarship to play football at Stanford. That network for someone without the same sort of familial connections in this industry was crucial, and it’s actually through one of my teammates that I was able to get in touch with Jackson Walker. And that’s kind of how they were on my radar. Because, you know, for me, instead of asking a big brother or an uncle or cousin or someone about, you know, their experience going to law school or taking the LSAT or finding a job at a firm or even working on a legal resume. I didn’t have those people within my immediate or extended family that I could go to, but I had a lot of teammates who were older than me and had already gone through some of those processes. And that’s why I reached out to those kinds of folks. That was a super helpful for me to have sort of some guidance from guys who weren’t my family but were like my family. Through those connections, I was able to sort of identify Jackson Walker as a firm that I knew someone who was similarly situated for me, a guy from Texas who played football at Stanford and went to law school. I always thought building a career was able to do so successfully at this firm, seeing other folks who were first generation attorneys, or even, maybe, in some cases, first generation Americans.
People who have dealt with language barriers or have a disability or you know, whatever it may be, there’s something about Jackson Walker that really attracted people who were able to be successful, not just in spite of, but in part of their backgrounds and their many different experiences that they have. And so being able to find a place where I could see some sort of role models or examples in how to operate in this industry, and being at a place that understands and encourages you to be a whole person understanding that that will help the bottom line at the end of the day, I think has been a really rewarding experience. And I think you know, Jackson Walker has been a great place that that celebrates those differences in people and gives us a chance to have a platform and come and talk about our stories and how we got here. It’s a blessing to be able to have a place that will allow you the platform to grow your own brand and continue to be authentic to who you are as a person.
Courtney White: Austin, well thank you for sharing your story. I had no idea you were from League City. That is awesome. So, I learned about you as well. So, I just want to thank both you Larry and Austin for joining the podcast today and sharing your stories during Black History Month.
Austin Yancy: Thanks for having us.
Larry Gibson: Thanks Courtney.
Courtney White: And for more information and additional JW fast take podcasts and webinars, please visit JW.com/Fast.
The music is by Eve Searls.
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
Larry C. Gibson is an attorney in Jackson Walker’s Houston office whose practice focuses on corporate and securities matters. While in law school, Larry served as a student attorney for the Racial Equity in Education Law and Policy Clinic, assisting in drafting legislation focused on reducing police presence in grade schools in the Washington, D.C. area.
Austin Yancy is an associate in the Trial & Appellate Litigation practice of Jackson Walker’s Houston office. Austin’s experience includes representing clients at oral arguments, deposing and defending fact witnesses, handling discovery, and drafting motions and trial briefs. He is experienced in handling disputes related to product liability, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and toxic torts.