Career boot camp offers job tips, motivation from NBA executive

Published: January 21st, 2014

Category: Feature


More than 100 UF Law students turned out for the careers boot camp Jan. 10 to hear motivational speaker Lucas Boyce, NBA Orlando Magic’s director of business development and legislative affairs. The event sponsored by the Center for Career Services aimed to prepare students for internships and clerkships, jobs in large and small law firms, public service careers and alternative careers. (Photo by Richard Goldstein)

By Jenna Box (4JM)

“I want to talk about pressure,” Lucas Boyce said in opening to an audience of more than 100 students Jan. 10 in the Chesterfield Smith Ceremonial Classroom. “Rewind a few years ago. We’re playing the Denver Nuggets, we’ve got 1.7 seconds left (and) the Orlando Magic is down by two points: That’s pressure, right?”

The audience nodded as Boyce, director of business development and legislative affairs for the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic, began his talk about achieving success amid obstacles at the inaugural spring boot camp put on by the UF Law Center for Career Development.

“I was born to a drug- and alcohol-addicted call girl,” Boyce said. “Six weeks premature, weighing 4 pounds 2 ounces with drugs in my system — that’s how I came into the world. With 1.7 seconds left and behind.”

But his deprived beginnings did not keep him from a successful run. During his hour-long talk, Boyce shared with UF Law students that by believing that he was “built for something more,” as his adoptive mother instilled in him, he achieved the most unlikely of dreams. Boyce worked in the White House, flew in Air Force 1 and is now employed by the NBA.

For law students, the challenge seems to be the prospect of landing any job. The ABA Journal reported last year that just more than half of 2012 law school graduates had jobs that required passing the bar. But Boyce, who’s achieved his dreams despite even longer odds, addressed how students should approach the brutal job market: “If you’re willing to believe in the possible and take action, stats don’t matter,” he said. “Because your actions and what you do now will determine how you end up later.”

“I was really excited to bring in Lucas (Boyce) because right now it’s a new semester, this is a new program and this is a new year; to me, those are all times where there’s optimism and hope for the future,” said Rob Birrenkott, assistant dean for Career Development. “Lucas really embodies that message of optimism, hope and obtaining your goals no matter what obstacles stand in your way.”

The boot camp included various breakout sessions that discussed ways to identify, pursue and obtain positions in myriad fields. Students heard advice from large firm partner Robert Meek (JD 80) of Foley & Lardner; solo practitioner Larry Marrafino (JD 84); Judge Nelly Khouzam (JD 81), 2nd District Court of Appeal, and clerks Gretchen Meyers and Nick Brown (JD 11); Gary Jones, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Florida; UF Law Professor Darren Hutchinson; alternative career representative Ja’Net Glover, UF Career Resource Center; Whitney Untiedt (JD 05), from the 8th Judicial Circuit’s Public Defender’s Office in Gainesville; Gloria Walker (JD 02), Three Rivers Legal Services; Professor Jon Mills (JD 72), director of the UF Law Center for Governmental Responsibility; Stephanie Marchman (JD 04), Gainesville City Attorney’s Office.

“The market is challenging, and Lucas is the type of speaker who can equip you I think with the right motivation to attack that market,” Birrenkott added.

Following that motivation, the sessions provided students with the tactical tools from the people in the field who make those hiring decisions. And those tools are meant to prepare students for their individual “1.7 second” challenges.

“All of us in this room will deal with that 1.7 second at one time or another in our lives,” Boyce said. “What will determine at the very outset whether we’re successful is whether we believe at a gut level that we are built for that moment.”

The Orlando Magic won that game against the Nuggets with a three-point score in those 1.7 seconds, Boyce said — because they believed they were “built for something more.”

Note: If you attended this event and have feedback, keep an eye on your law email for a follow-up survey from the Center for Career Development.