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Tamika Jones Abendroth (right) joined four Altrusa International of Downtown Dallas Club members at Vickery Meadow Learning Center on Martin Luther King Day last year to help prepare classrooms for the spring semester. Tamika is part of a wave of new young members joining the service club in the past few years.

Young Mother Always wanted to be a lawyer, volunteers in her free time

Tamika Jones Abendroth is a true Texan – and Dallasite.

Born in Dallas at Parkland Hospital, she was raised in the quiet Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill. The oldest of three, she has a younger sister Johnica Jones who is three years younger and her brother, John Jones, who is thirteen years younger.

Tamika admits, “I have always known that I wanted to be a lawyer. It is written on every ‘what do you want to be’ document I have from my childhood,” she says with a laugh.

She excelled at Cedar Hill High School, then in college at the University of Texas at Dallas. After that she attended Texas Wesleyan University School of Law.

Along the way, Tamika has lived in five cities, all in Texas: Cedar Hill, Richardson, Oak Cliff, Austin (for a summer in law school) and finally settling now in Garland.

She met her husband, James, in college. “I was best friends with his best friend and roommate,” she explains. The two added to their family 20 months ago with the birth of their daughter, Ellis Vivian Elaine.

Tamika admits she has a simple reason for all the education she logged through to get where she is today: “I am an attorney because I want to help people. It is cheesy but true. I understand that I am helping families deal with one of the most challenging and stressful life events that they will experience. It is really humbling.”

She once met Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court. Friends who know her think Tamika could end up there one day—soon.

She admits she’s had some crazy episodes as an attorney, but one stands out: she had a client who was very, very pregnant, “but denying it throughout the litigation up until the day of trial. Nobody believed her but she lost all credibility when she went into labor during the lunch break!”

A Life of Service

A "newish" member of the Altrusa International Club of Downtown Dallas, Tamika is part of a wave of recent members joining who are significantly younger than the veteran club members. The service club is realizing a type of renaissance, with a dozen new members joining in the past few years in the twenty-five to thirty-five-year-old range, and the first two males to join the formerly all-female club.

Tamika and a few other members have been affectionately dubbed “The Bad Mamas,” and the group happily embraces the fun moniker, and often travels together to out of town events and works together at local volunteer opportunities.

“She's taught me a lot about having difficult conversations and facing issues that are uncomfortable,” says another young mother Kim Abmeyer, First Vice President of Investments at Raymond James. “But she also is never one to turn down a get together or an excuse to blow off some steam and spend some quality time with us, bad mamas! I am truly thankful that Altrusa has brought her into my life and I can call her my friend.”

Christina Coultas, also a recent member of the service club adds, “Tamika is a friend that makes my life better by just being in it.  I am so grateful that Altrusa brought us together.  More than once while discussing the day to day of our lives she has said to me, ‘I got your back!’  I never doubt that for a moment from Tamika.  Her quick wit is infectious and she has taught me so much about standing tall and not being afraid of having difficult conversations, and making space in our lives to prioritize service to our community and each other.”

Tamika loves volunteering in the Dallas community. “It’s awesome,” she says of the service club and her “bad mama” friends, using her favorite word to describe the experience. “To volunteer together, to work together to make Dallas a better place to live, it’s just—well—awesome!”

Also awesome is her skill at cooking. “I make the best homemade macaroni and cheese. It's better than my mom's and my sister’s--who is the family chef--but that may just be my opinion,” she admits with a laugh.

She also admits transitioning into motherhood was very challenging for her. “I thought passing the bar and sitting for the board certification exam was tough, but balancing being a wife, mom, and attorney has really stretched me.”

This struggle may be the reason she is such a caring family law attorney. She knows she was blessed because, “James is a great husband and dad. He supports me in all that I do, and makes being a working-mother so much easier.” She also has a family who supports her. “They love me and they all love my daughter. They are always willing to take her to give me a weekend off to have fun with friends, to do service, or take some time to pamper myself.”

Board certified in Family Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Tamika has now joined Lisa E. McKnight, P.C., one of the most effective law firms in the city. It has a reputation for winning tough cases and is the only family law practice with a professional counselor on its staff to assist clients. Prior to joining Lisa McKnight P.C., Tamika practiced at Legal Aid of Northwest Texas helping low-income families in crisis. Her practice at Legal Aid focused on family law exclusively. Navigating the legal system is very time-consuming and challenging. She works hard to provide her clients with the legal expertise, respect, and the time and attention that their matter deserves.

Looking to her future, Tamika has a simple wish: “I hope to be a happy, well-adjusted wife and mom. I would love to expand my practice by continuing to become knowledgeable of the advances in family law and helping families.”

To contact Tamika call: 214-528-4191. Lisa E. McKnight P.C. is located at 4807 Gaston Avenue, Dallas, TX 75246. 

To learn more about the Altrusa International Club of Downtown Dallas see: www.altrusadtd.com or contact Tamika about attending a future meeting.

Judy Porter writes about local heroes and non-profits in Dallas. To contact her email: judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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