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, Mrs. Patrick has extensive experience in many walks of life.
Born in 1951, Mrs. 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.
Mrs. Patrick attended public schools from 1st grade through college. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she received her BA in early childhood education in 1972, graduating with honors from Queens College of the City University of New York.
After graduation, Mrs. 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.
Mrs. 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 has served on the Boards of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Jane Doe, Inc., and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, among others. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Posse Foundation and is an overseer at The Epiphany School.
As a former public school teacher, she knows first-hand that education is essential in workforce development, civic engagement, and building communities. She understands both the challenges and rewards of the classroom, and believes in the power of early-start education for pre-K and kindergarten children.
Mrs. Patrick has also been an outspoken advocate in the Commonwealth’s ongoing effort to end domestic violence, and has been actively engaged with families, agencies and law enforcement to support victims and to identify and address the root causes of domestic abuse.
Diane and Deval Patrick have been married for over two decades and have two daughters, Sarah and Katherine. The Patrick family has lived in Milton, in a house on Deval’s high school paper route, since 1989.