This week, Walter Prince did one of his favorite things. He went back to high school. On Wednesday, he visited a 9th grade “Introduction to Entrepreneurship” class at the Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Dorchester, just around the corner from the street he grew up on. Prince, Founding Partner of Prince Lobel Tye LLP, loves to inspire young people to work hard and follow their dreams.
Prince told the students not to limit their ambitions based on what people around them are doing or saying. He said that his high school counselor told him that he would never be able to achieve his dream of becoming a lawyer. At one point in college, he considered taking a job sweeping floors at General Electric because he needed money. But he decided to continue his education and pursue a law degree. “I realized I did not want to be 60 years old looking myself in the mirror and wishing I had tried,” Prince said. He was able to get his degree, find the best credit card to build credit, save some money, and start working towards his bigger goals.
The class Prince visited is part of a four-year entrepreneurship program run by BUILD, a nonprofit that helps students in under-resourced neighborhoods succeed in high school and get into college. Prince is the 2015 recipient of the annual BUILDer Award for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, presented each year to someone who has made significant achievements as an entrepreneur while overcoming adversity or doing social good. Prince will receive the award at BUILDFest, BUILD’s annual gala, on November 12 at the Westin Copley.
Prince told the class that after achieving his boyhood dream of becoming a lawyer, he practiced as a public defender and a federal prosecutor. The government job was secure and paid well, Prince said, but he was not satisfied. “I knew deep down that I wanted to start my own business. That entrepreneurial spirit would not die.” Prince walked away from his job to start what is now one of the most respected law firms in the country and one which has 71 employees. Earlier in the week, the firm’s offices hosted a visit by a group of BUILD seniors.
Prince’s parting advice to our young BUILD entrepreneurs was to not be afraid to take risks, and not to let financial security get in the way of following their hearts. “The need for money will stop you only if you let it stop you,” he said. “If you go home tonight and all of a sudden your street is blocked off, you’re not going to just throw up your hands and say, â€˜Gee, I can’t get home.’ You find a new way. Life is the same; those who have the heart and desire simply find another way around their obstacles.”
Walter B. Prince has more than 30 years of experience in transportation, commercial law, and civil and white-collar criminal litigation. A former assistant United States attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Prince’s litigation practice includes business and commercial lawsuits and representation of corporations and individuals in complex federal and state investigations and cases, as well as related civil and regulatory matters.
Prince was appointed special counsel to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), and was chairman of the board of trustees of the Massachusetts Health and Education Tax-Exempt Trust. In addition, Prince is a former president of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association, the former vice president of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, and the current vice president of the Ford Hall Forum. He has also served as an adjunct professor of law at Boston College Law School for over two decades.
Prince has recently been appointed to the Boston Bar Association Task Force on the Superior Court Circuit System to review the structure and management of the Massachusetts courts. In March 2013, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) appointed Prince to an advisory committee on judicial nominations. The committee’s work is the foundation for Senator Warren’s recommendations to President Obama. In October 2013, Prince received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from University of Massachusetts Boston. Also in October 2013, in recognition of the firm’s culture of community outreach, diversity, and inclusion, Prince received a “Leader in Diversity” award in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility from the Boston Business Journal. Prince has been recognized as a “Leader in Diversity” by the Boston Business Journal. Under Prince’s leadership, his firm has a longstanding commitment to reaching out to the needy and underserved members of the community and is actively involved in a wide range of arts, education, and community programs.
The BUILD a Better You Challenge is a fun opportunity to foster community and healthy competition, boost your team’s physical and mental well-being, and share your company’s commitment to advancing racial equity & diversity. All proceeds from the challenge will go to support BUILD’s youth entrepreneurship program for teens!
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