Attorney supports her community as well as school that inspired her


By Jeanine Matlow
Legal News

Lifelong Detroiter, Tina M. Patterson, owner of TMP Law, PLLC in Detroit, knew she wanted to be an attorney since the age of 12.

“I never considered anything else. Even at 30, it’s hard to believe,” she says of her pursuit that began in seventh grade at Cornerstone, a charter school that was a private institution when she was a student.

“I was taking U.S. History and it was just fascinating to me. I was very interested in how government worked and how laws came to be,” says Patterson. “I always loved reading and writing and I still do. When I realized I could read and write and study law, government and history was when I knew. The fascination grew and never left me.”

Still, the path she chose was far from easy, especially while working during the day and going to law school at night.

“It was so hard, I wanted to quit,” she says.

But Patterson persevered, graduating from University of Detroit Mercy School of Law by the age of 25.

“It is like a calling when it’s something you want to do. It doesn’t matter what it takes to get you there,” she says.

During her last semester in law school, she learned she was pregnant with her daughter who is now 4. But being a single mother while continuing to follow her career path wasn’t her only consideration; Patterson would face even greater challenges before she reached the finish line.

Though she had prepared for the bar exam, she had to delay the test on more than one occasion after losing her father and her grandmother.

“I wanted to give up,” says Patterson. “I had all these obstacles, even after graduating, which was an obstacle in itself.”

Once again, her resilience allowed her to proceed and pass the bar. Patterson’s daughter, who was 9 months old at the time, served as her inspiration.

“I knew I had to do better,” she says. “I had great support from my family. My mother has been a godsend to me.”

She also credits her alma mater.

“At Cornerstone, that’s where the seed was planted,” she says. “They are really supportive there and it’s always been a very comforting and supportive place to be.”

Now she mentors one of their students in the Partner Morning Program four times a year.

“We have a really good bond and I still know what it’s like to be a student,” says Patterson, who also serves on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit organization in her neighborhood, the Historic Boston Edison Association.

With all of these achievements, it should come as no surprise that she has her own law firm at the age of 30, with a focus on estates and entrepreneurs.

“I took that big leap about a year ago after working (as a federal government attorney) for the Social Security Administration,” she explains. “I enjoyed it there, but I wanted to start my own firm to really guide my own practice. I like to interact with clients and people and get to know them. I want to teach them about estates and how to protect what you worked so hard for, for future generations.”

Patterson also has a passion for travel and a mission to visit all 30 baseball parks in the country. Her current count is 16. It all began with a love for the history behind the game, like the New York Yankees, considered the most historic franchise with 27 World Series championship rings. These days she takes her daughter along to see the parks in the different cities around the U.S.

“We go every summer, including a recent trip to Minneapolis over the Labor Day holiday weekend,” she says.

Still, her heart remains at home.

“I like to have a footprint in the community and really educate people about why it’s so important to have an estate and how you can build an estate and protect it,” says Patterson. “I also want to share how to build a business with all the pitfalls and advantages, so people won’t rely on social security which will be depleted.”

Patterson has already made an impression on DiAnna Solomon, political consultant and owner of RoseTrinity Consulting LLC in Detroit, who met the young attorney at a women’s leadership event and their paths have continued to cross ever since.
“I was drawn to her positive and engaging spirit. She’s very committed and does rigorous work in regard to research and actual deliverables for whatever project she’s working on,” says Solomon who formerly served as a board member to Cornerstone Schools and managed the Partner Morning Program.

“She’s an attorney at heart; she has the curiosity, asks all the right questions, has a logistical mindset and she has that layer of care that professionals need in order to be truly successful. She has commitment, courage and caring, the three C’s.”
These qualities make Solomon want to be around Patterson.

“As a woman entrepreneur, I understand Tina’s role as an entrepreneur and we’re both moms,” she says. “People often ask how to find balance. I heard a response from another woman entrepreneur, ‘It’s not about balance; it’s about fulfillment.’ I see in Tina that she’s personally fulfilled by not only the work that she does in the office and in the courtroom, but the work she does with her daughter.”