First Lady Diane Patrick has her own record of excellence and distinguished professional and public service. A lawyer, teacher, mother and active member of her community, Patrick has extensive experience in many walks of life. Born in 1951, Patrick spent her early childhood sharing a Brooklyn brownstone with her parents, siblings, and extended family. Her grandfather was the first African-American elected to public office in Brooklyn, and co-authored the Baker-Metcalf bill, the nation’s first law enacted to prohibit discrimination in public housing.
After college graduation, Patrick spent five years teaching elementary school in New York City. When the city’s bankruptcy of 1976-77 forced severe cuts in public resources, including her job, she crossed the country to study at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.
At Loyola, the First Lady began her study of labor and employment law, which she practices today. Her exemplary academic performance and public service won her an American Jurisprudence Award and the school’s Outstanding Graduate Award. She received her Juris Doctor in 1980, and was admitted to the California Bar that same year.
Patrick joined the firm of O’Melveny and Myers, and in 1983, was asked to assist in the opening of its New York City office. Recently engaged to Deval Patrick, the young couple relocated to the East Coast, where Mr. Patrick took a position with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. They were married in 1984.
In 1986, a year after the birth of their first daughter Sarah, the Patrick family moved to Massachusetts. Mrs. Patrick took a position at Harvard as University Attorney in the Office of General Counsel, where she spent six years before becoming Harvard’s Director/Associate Vice President for Human Resources.
In 1994, when Deval Patrick was chosen to head the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights division, Mrs. Patrick took a job with the Washington D.C. firm Hogan and Hartson, where she worked with both the education and labor and employment law practice groups.
The First Lady joined the law firm of Ropes & Gray in Boston in 1995. As a partner, she has been able to combine her passion for education and her background in labor and employment law.
Throughout her life and professional career, Diane Patrick has dedicated herself to various communities, and currently serves on the Boards of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Posse Foundation and Jane Doe, Inc. She has also served as a volunteer member of the Commonwealth’s Foster Care Review Unit, Trustee and Director for Arts Boston, Trustee for the Brigham & Woman’s Hospital, and Overseer at Children’s Hospital Boston, among others.
As a former public school teacher, she has seen first-hand how education is essential in workforce development, civic engagement, and building communities. She understands both the challenges and rewards of the classroom, and will work closely with the Governor on early education and domestic violence issues.
The First Lady believes in the power of early-start education for pre-K and kindergarten children, saying, “The quality of a child’s early start influences the success of that young person well into adulthood. It is critical that our children get the tools, skills, and nurturing that they need at such an important time in life.”
The Patricks have been married for over two decades and have two college-age daughters, Sarah and Katherine. The Patrick family has lived in Milton, in a house on Deval’s high school paper route, since 1989.