Partner
Ropes & Gray L.L.P.
Boston, Mass.

Diane Patrick, Esq., a partner at the global law firm Ropes & Gray L.L.P., guides clients through the tricky terrain of labor and employment law. The past year has been particularly demanding, as the recession prompted companies to offer voluntary retirement packages and restructure their organizations.

Patrick received a juris doctorate from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles in 1980 and joined O’Melveny & Myers L.L.P. the same year as an associate. Prior to joining Ropes & Gray in 1995, she was counsel for Harvard University and the Washington, D.C., law firm Hogan & Hartson L.L.P. As a child, Patrick aspired to become a public-school teacher like her mother, Lillian Bemus. The granddaughter of Bertram L. Baker, an immigrant from Nevis who became the first Black person elected to political office in Brooklyn, N.Y., Patrick knew her humble goals were attainable. She earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education at Queens College of the City University of New York and taught elementary school for five years. A layoff forced her to re-evaluate her career.

Patrick has been married to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick for 25 years and has two adult daughters. Her role as first lady of the commonwealth of Massachusetts affords her a platform to speak out on domestic violence, an issue of personal significance. “I know what it’s like to have a spouse make you feel belittled and isolated,” says Patrick, referring to a previous marriage. Through speaking engagements and work with the Governor’s Council on the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Abuse, she helps victims to become survivors.

Her dual roles as law partner and first lady leave her little free time. “There’s rarely a week when I’m not working all day and doing something in the evening as first lady,” says Patrick. “But it’s a privilege to serve my clients and the people of the commonwealth, so I just keep going.”

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