As senior counsel on the mobility and marketplace product counsel team at Uber, Brandon Myers leads a team that works with clients on issues including new product launches and airport operations, and he also serves as the lead attorney advising on platform equity, antidiscrimination, and accessibility. In addition, the Duke University law school graduate works with two nonprofits in Washington, DC, as general counsel and board director: Voices for a Second Chance and the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
Who was your first fictional legal inspiration and why?
The first fictional lawyers that I recall admiring are from classic sitcoms: Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show, and Maxine Shaw from Living Single. They were some of the very few Black fictional lawyers I saw on television when I was growing up in the ’90s. We did not see much of their actual legal work on those shows, but those characters represented to me what it could look like to be known for excellence in my legal practice, while also being dedicated to family, friends, and community—and to have fun while doing it. I still strive to achieve that balance in my own professional and personal life.
I’ll also give honorable mention to My Cousin Vinny—which is unquestionably the greatest legal movie of all time.
What is the most meaningful case or pro bono experience you’ve worked on?
The most meaningful experience I have had as an attorney involved representing a group of indigent tenants against a DC landlord in what initially seemed to be a run-of-the-mill unlawful eviction case. I soon learned this case was much more complex. The tenants were all immigrants from Ethiopia who spoke no English, and who were renting rooms above a small convenience store. They reported enduring extremely unsanitary conditions for years before their landlord demanded they vacate the property with only a few days’ notice.
One client’s story has stayed with me: she was a pregnant mother and asylum applicant who suffered much abuse abroad before making a harrowing escape to the US and finding refuge in this apartment building of fellow Ethiopian immigrants. In our lawsuit against the landlord, we described how he exploited her vulnerability as a non-English speaker and asylum seeker—telling her she would be deported if she reported the unlawful eviction to the police and falsely reporting to the police that she was an intruder before changing the locks while she was at work, leaving her out in the cold at night in December just days after Christmas. When those efforts proved unsuccessful, he attempted to sabotage her asylum application by stealing her immigration documents and trying to induce her own family members to provide false information about her to US immigration officials.
I learned an important lesson during that representation: there’s really no such thing as a “run-of-the-mill” case when it affects the lives of individual people. While these tenants all lived in the same building, they were each affected by their landlord’s actions in very unique ways, and my legal strategy had to respond to those differences. I try to remember that lesson even in my current work as a product counsel. In addition to counseling clients about legal risks, I think it is also our obligation to help clients think through how their products and services will affect individual people in their unique circumstances. One person’s slight inconvenience could be another person’s catastrophe.
What song or album motivates you the most?
I’ll give two songs: “Journey” by Richard Smallwood featuring Kim Burrell, along with “Alright” by Kendrick Lamar.
Find Brandon Myers on LinkedIn.