This interview was first published by Voyage Dallas. You can read the original article here.
Hi Tammy, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory
I relocated from DC and came back home to Texas after 15 years to launch the first firm of its kind right here in Dallas, Texas. After a decade and three presidential administrations—Bush, Obama, and Trump, I resigned from my position with the U.S. Department of Justice and launched the first-ever black-owned expert Federal Executive Clemency law firm, becoming only the third attorney in the U.S. who has actually worked at the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) to do so. Apparently, I’m the first Texan as well. When I finally made the decision to leave the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) after ten years as a senior attorney, I just knew it was time.
Through my business, Own Your Passion®️, I encourage individuals to literally and figuratively own their passions. I decided to launch The Pardon Attorney™️, by Attorney Tammy Allison, PLLC, in November 2020 because all of my professional experiences as an attorney has aligned with federal executive clemency. I have extensive experience at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the criminal justice system, spending the most time at that end phase. My goal with this practice is to educate the general public surrounding the many misconceptions surrounding federal executive clemency. I also know that my Texans love their guns, and with many Texans of all backgrounds having a federal conviction, I want them to know that there is a way to legally carry a firearm through federal executive clemency. Finally, I will use my knowledge of this process, having actually worked at OPA for five of my ten years as an attorney, to address the forgotten aspect of criminal justice reform – federal executive clemency.
I started my career at DOJ as the second black attorney to ever work at the Office of the Pardon Attorney (OPA) and remained there for five years. OPA is the last stop in the criminal justice system. It’s where individuals with federal convictions ask for forgiveness through federal executive clemency, pardons and commutations. I worked at the beginning stages of the criminal justice system as a prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C. I then spent three years at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to understand and how the federal institutions operated since the majority of the clemency petitioners spend time there after a conviction. I am a proud Texan, so much so that although I did not need to get licensed here due to the fact that I am a federal attorney, I really wanted to obtain my licensure to practice law in this great state to signify that I was finally back home.
I was lucky to have my good friend and judge, the Honorable Darryl Scott, personally swear me in to practice law in the honorable Erica Hughes’ courtroom. I am a proud product of Texas public schools. In the Dallas area, I attended Preston Hollow Elementary School, Ruth Roach Elementary School, and O’Banion Middle School. I completed my middle and high school education in Houston. I then graduated from the University of Houston and attended Texas Chiropractic College for a year prior to attending law school in Michigan. I am licensed to practice in several jurisdictions, including U.S. Supreme Court, February 2017 U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C., April 2016 U.S. District Court for D.C, February 2016 U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, June 2020 Maryland State Bar, December 2009 Texas State Bar, October 2020.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As a first-generation Nigerian-American it definitely was not a smooth road to get to where I am today. Having experienced childhood abuse and surviving domestic violence that prompted my move back to Texas from DC, it’s been challenging. I also have a very active six-year-old son who comes first. He is involved in a number of sports and activities and loves spending time with all of his cousins now that we are back in Texas. I make it a priority to take care of my mental health with the aide of therapy and self-care.
The profession that I have chosen has an alarmingly high rate of individuals struggling with mental health or alcohol and substance abuse problems. While I do not have issues with alcohol or substance abuse, I do have anxiety. I am very transparent about it and talk about it frequently through my business, Own Your Passion®️, LLC. My goal in being so open about it is to assist in removing the stigma around it. Everyone has their “thing.” As my LLC’s motto states, it’s all about owning it figuratively and literally. I believe that is the only way possible to accomplish your dreams and goals. When I work with individuals or private companies as an internal investigator and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion trainer, I share the tools that I’ve developed through Own Your Passion®️ to assist them in overcoming challenges and obstacles.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I believe what sets me apart from others is my personality and ability to dibble and dabble in so many different things. People are always shocked when they find out that I attended chiropractic school. While it was only for one year, it seems so off course from the career that I have made for myself over the past decade. People are usually also surprised to find out that I was a personal trainer and my degree from U of H is in Exercise Science. Finally, I think that my amateur modeling days have began to resurface. When I attended law school between 2006 and 2009, it was not widely acceptable to be into modeling and fashion as it is now. I turned down some opportunities to focus on a career of law. Lately I’ve been having fun coming up with some very unique and creative concepts that have been executed perfectly with myself as the model, artistic director, makeup artist, hairstylist, and more.