Growing up in Richmond California, was no smooth walk in the park for Te’Reisha Graves, however she didn’t let her surroundings stop her from bettering herself.
I virtually connected with Te’Reisha Graves via IG awhile back and we instantly clicked. Being that we are both from Richmond California, I was interested to learn more about her journey. As a teenager, I didn’t know any African American lawyers or people in the industry of Public Relations, however times have definitely changed.
It is so important for our community, our peers and the world to read stories on people who have become change agent’s, and made a real difference. Te’Reisha Graves story is one of hope, faith and hard work. Check out her story below…
How was it growing up in Richmond California?
It was rough growing up in Richmond, California. I was exposed to way more than I should have been at a very young age, but it prepared me for the world. I always say, if I can survive growing up in Richmond, I can survive anywhere and come out of any situation on top.
Tell our Sheen Magazine readers what made you decide to practice law and serve Family Law & Personal Injury?
Growing up I saw a lot of my family members get arrested, I wanted to be a criminal lawyer so that I could defend them. However, criminal law just wasn’t for me and I could not see myself doing that full time. I never really saw myself being a family law or personal injury attorney, it kind of just fell in my lap.
I got into family law because I constantly got referrals for family law issues. I took my first family law case in 2018. My client was a father of two boys and had been fighting for years to get full custody. With my limited experience in family law, I was able to successfully help him gain full custody of his boys. It was an amazing feeling. It was at that moment that I realized this was the area of law for me. The same thing happened with Personal Injury law. I got so many inquiries that I decided to just go for it. I ended up loving it.
Along your journey, did you have any mentors? If so, what was some of the best advice that another woman has given you along your journey?
Yes, I have had several mentors along the way. I was blessed to have great teachers and guidance counselors early in life, they always pushed me. When I’d try to take “easy” classes they’d call me out on it and place me in more advanced courses. I also have a Judge who took me under her wings once I graduated from law school, she always makes herself available to me as a resource whenever I call, she swore me in too. I would say the best advice another woman has given me along the way is to use my network, ask for help when needed and to speak up for myself, always.
As a Family Law and Personal Injury attorney, there has been a lot going on in the world, what advice would you give people during this time of COVID-19 ?
Although the courts are closed, statute of limitations may still be running on your cases. Make sure you are constantly checking the court’s website for updated local rules (they change almost daily). If you need to file documents, some courts have set up drop boxes in front of the courthouse and some are accepting documents electronically. If you are unsure of how COVID-19 has affected your specific case, contact a local lawyer, many of us will give you a free consultation.
Tell our readers about Two Suitcases and A Dream Foundation?
Two Suitcases & a Dream Foundation is a nonprofit I started to help the next generation of lawyers avoid the pitfalls I faced on my journey to esquire. It’s a resource hub to offer guidance, mentorship, grants and scholarhsips to anyone dreaming of becoming a lawyer. It’ll be everything I wish I had as I embarked on this journey. It hasn’t officially launched yet, but I cannot wait to assist in shaping and molding future lawyers.
As an owner of your own law firm, what advice would you give other lawyers who are thinking about stepping out and starting their own firm.
It’s not an easy task, but it is worth it! I absolutely love being my own boss. Before I went out on my own I sat down with other solo attorneys and asked questions. I would encourage anyone thinking of going out on their own to do that. Use your network, most will be more than happy to advise you. Also, believe in yourself, be bold, be confident and don’t be intimidated by someone just because they are working at a larger firm, you’re just as amazing as them.
What’s next for Te’Reisha N. Graves, Esq.?
Hopefully more traveling! Aside from working, cooking and hanging out with family, I love to travel. COVID-19 has halted all travel plans for me and I am looking forward to being able to explore the world once it is safe to do so. But, until then, I will be working towards launching my Chefsquire cookbook, getting my foundation running and expanding my law firm.
What’s one of your favorite quotes that you live by?
Use your smile to change this world, but don’t let this world change your smile.
Featured Image by Bulli Sot