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Community Highlights: Meet Attorney Tristan Brown

Today we’d like to introduce you to Attorney Tristan Brown.

Hi Tristan, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I had a humble beginnings. My family struggled financially. We were on government assistance and constantly moving due to evictions. No one in my family had been to college or held advanced degrees; however, I performed very well in school.

I would constantly draw, took acting classes, and became obsessed with music. However, I dreamed of going to college and becoming a lawyer. My idea of a lawyer was the Hollywood images depicted in movies and television. I wanted to yell “objection” and get witnesses to confess on the stand like the lawyers on TV (laughs).

During law school, I balanced the rigors of legal study with my love for the arts and music. To stay sane, I recorded and produced music. I also performed local shows as a music artist. It was a fun outlet and I had the opportunity to meet many individuals in the entertainment community.

I eventually started my own law firm: The T.L. Brown Law Firm in San Diego, California. We eventually opened a second office in Los Angeles County. We specialized in bankruptcy, debt relief, and immigration law.

Within a few years, I became one of the top bankruptcy attorneys in Southern California. We are now a 10-person staff and have retained over 3,000 clients.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has NOT been a smooth road. Growing up, my family was inflicted by drug addiction and poverty. Since my family was broke, I would simultaneously work full-time and go to school full-time. I began working at 14 and got paid $4.35 an hour to perform hard labor. My day started at 4am and ended at 11pm. It was difficult, but I eventually graduated from UCLA at the top of my class.

More challenges came during law school. I was 1 of 6 black students in a class of 300 students. It felt isolating at times and I contemplated quitting. To top it off, I graduated law school at the height of the Great Recession, so quality jobs were scarce. I had some of the WORST bosses imaginable (laughs).

However, those struggles gave me the courage to start my own business. I may have never started T.L. Brown if I didn’t have those challenges.

As you know, we’re big fans of The T.L. Brown Law Firm, P.C. . For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
We are much more involved than most law firms. Clients are usually appreciative of the fact that we are so personable. We’ve even chauffeured clients who didn’t have cars. Our bankruptcy practice is one of the strongest in California since we file over 40 cases a month.

In addition to bankruptcy law, the firm also practices immigration law. We’ve helped a number of individuals obtain DACA relief and citizenship. Our goal is to make sure that people that deserve to be in the country continue to remain in the country. We are very hopeful that the Biden administration will create an immigration system that fundamentally works.

As a minority-owned business, I find it important that my office services people of color. My clientele are primarily people of color and my staff consists of people of color. The office is bilingual and we work out payment arrangements for those who struggle financially.

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
To some extent, I do think luck plays a role. Given my upbringings, I should not be where I am today. I’m a black male that grew up in low income violent neighborhoods. I was more likely to die or go to prison than graduate from law school. Thankfully the right people were placed in my life.

I consider myself lucky that I had teachers and loving parents that recognized my potential as a young child. I consider myself lucky that I had a supportive grandfather who gave me a place to stay when I couldn’t afford an apartment. I’m lucky that I was able to find mentors in college that helped me get accepted to a great law schools. I’m lucky that the recession forced me to start my own business and realize I could become a successful entrepreneur.

I’m also lucky that I found the most amazing woman who has helped me grow as a man and reach levels of success I never imagined.

Sadly, there are a lot of smart and talented kids who are like me but don’t have much “luck.” If it wasn’t for luck, I may not be here today.

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