We had the good fortune of connecting with Tammy Allison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tammy, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After practicing as a senior attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., it was important that I relocate to my home state of Texas because this is where I was shaped and molded into the woman and attorney that I am today. It definitely was not easy. As a southerner and first generation Nigerian-American, there is a tendency to become complacent once success has been accomplished. Leaving the prestigious position as a senior DOJ attorney was scary because I thought I’d lose the prestige and that I would no longer have the pretentious air of credibility that comes with the DOJ seal. As a black woman, that credibility is what we so often lean on to overcome imposter syndrome. No matter how accomplished that we as black women are, we all have insecurities especially when in roles that we traditionally do not occupy.
The government shutdown was eye opening to me. It shook my entire world. I had just relocated back to Texas with my very young son, I was bouncing back after my divorce, and getting acclimated to being in Texas again. I think that many people can relate to the financial struggles of a divorce, even with a prestigious career. The thing that woke me up was that I was not allowed to practice law outside of DOJ even though we were furloughed for the longest period of time ever. Texans truly embraced my son and I and I was able to get through that tough time. I vowed to myself to never be in that position again and that I wanted to create a business that would be able to help others.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My business is The Pardon Attorney™ and it is the third solo practice private expert federal executive clemency law firm ever! So, there are only three attorneys that have worked at the DOJ’s Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) that own private law firms dedicated to federal clemency. I’m the first minority owned and first firm in Texas. Having worked at OPA under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations, I use those skills to help individuals prepare their petition for a pardon or commutation using the very specialized knowledge of how only someone who recently worked at OPA is familiar with by increasing their chances of getting a favorable recommendation to be presented to the President.
My slogan is #ClemencythroughOwnershoip, meaning accept responsibility for forgiveness. Owning a business, a trademark, copyright, etc. may lead to stronger petition for federal executive clemency; although the decision is ultimately left up to the President. My firm also assist individuals with convictions, as well as those without convictions, in setting up their business and protecting the business’s intellectual property through trademarks, copyrights, etc.
As the first Clemency Reform Advocate, I aim to bring changes to the process, including the ban on possessing a firearm after a federal conviction for non-violent, first-time, or a white-collar offenses. I believe that applying a blanket ban on firearm rights speaks to why I wrote the article, “It’s the Injustice for Me.” There should not be an assumption that a federal conviction means that an individual will misuse a firearm if there is nothing in their background that would indicate that. It is biased in the same ways that underrepresented groups and cultural statistics are not taken into consideration in the federal clemency evaluation process. I will bring attention to this matter and effectuate change. Whether it is me alone, or if others choose to join this movement, it has to be done.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best friend actually did just visit Dallas for the very first time! He (yes, we are just friends) was here for 10 days too! Shout out to my former OPA colleague and best friend, Eric Opanga! Okay, so boom: as soon as I picked him up from the airport on Friday night, I took him downtown to Reunion tower! Then we had a fake bougie dining experience at Jaxon Beer Garden. The following day we had brunch at the Statler, of course. We did dinner at Saint Rocco’s and I showed him the beautiful Dallas skyline view at Canvas Rooftop. Oh yeah, we also had a staycation at the Omni after we were rear ended on our way to Houston (we’re fine though!). I, of course, had to take him to Knife at the Highland Hotel to complete his Dallas experience!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Ronald L. Rodgers, Esq. deserves the shoutout for sure! He changed the trajectory of my career, and life for that matter. He taught me so much about being a good person first and foremost. His dedication to his children showed me how I wanted to be as a parent. He is the former U.S. Pardon Attorney and he offered me the very prestigious internship that led me to where I am today. I interned with him at DOJ, he offered me a legal assistant position during the recession of 2008-2009, and ultimately offered me my first position at DOJ as an attorney-advisor at OPA in 2010. I never had to code switch with him and he pushed me to produce the best quality work which is why I am so successful as an attorney.
As far as who else deserves a little more credit and recognition, Raheemah Abdulaleem, Esq., Deputy General Counsel at the Executive Office of the President, and Harvard Law School graduate definitely deserves more than a little credit! I remember her mentoring me as a baby lawyer when we were both a part of the DOJ’s Association of Black Attorneys. She was also one of the first attorneys that I ever trained on federal executive clemency when I was an attorney there and she volunteered to help OPA during the clemency initiative. Even though I was training her she still was able to mentor me by reassuring me that my conveyance of the complicated process was excellent. That coming from my mentor, who is a Harvard Law School graduate, honestly gave me the confidence that I needed to subsequently train a countless number of other attorneys at OPA. In addition to her, Felicia Sadler, Antoinette Barksdale, Heather Graham-Oliver, Oliver McDaniel, Channing Phillips, Dan VanHorn, Doris Coles-Huff, Suzanne Bell, and Robin Merriweather are mentors who pushed me to my limits and stretched me in ways that I did not realize that I could be stretched as it relates to federal litigation practice. They each are not only my mentors, but now friends who I credit with allowing me to be comfortable in my own skin while also executing only the best quality legal product.
Linkedin: www.linkedin.com › attorney-tammy-allison-3ba735b1
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/186893179818002
Twitter: @pardonattorney & @attytammallison