Attorney Tara B. Hawkins

HerNature Story of

Tara

For Tara Hawkins, launching a business wasn’t about the money or making a name for herself. It was about doing work that matters to her because of what she witnessed as a prosecutor in Southwest Louisiana.

“It sounds trite, but it’s true. I’m very passionate about what I do,” says Tara.

From blue collar to courtroom

Tara left a respected position as chief felony prosecutor for the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney after nearly 8 years of service to start her own locally based criminal defense firm.

The daughter of a blue collar, working class couple in Greenville, Mississippi, she saw that the ground inside a courtroom is rarely level.

According to Tara, poor people and people who weren’t connected didn’t get the same opportunities for lenient sentences that defendants with connections and pricier representation received. She noticed the disparity also fell along racial lines.


“I have these moments of clarity when I remember, ‘You are running your own business. You are really doing this on your own terms.  What a tremendous blessing and opportunity.”

“I’m African American, and that’s a huge part of my identity.  As I’ve grown older, addressing racial disparities and injustices has become more central to my life and work,” Tara said.

What she saw in the courtroom bothered her on a core level, and she felt obligated to do something about it. She was ready to combine her legal skills with her personal insights to serve people who needed an advocate.

Hawkins Legal became her platform.

Balancing litigator with crusader

“Authenticity plays a huge role in my work,” Tara said.  She wants clients to not only trust in her abilities as defense lawyer but also as someone who can give them something they wouldn’t get from a typical firm.

“I was trying to figure out how to brand myself as that person,” she says, so she hired HerNature Founder Carole Dupre.

“Carole asked a lot of pointed questions. She does a deep dive into people and wants to understand what’s in your head and how you think.”

It was only after that deep dive that the logo and website for Hawkins Legal were discussed. The approach impressed Tara.

“Carole could’ve easily signed the contract, asked me a few basic questions and come up with some standard logo designs and ideas about how to brand myself,” Tara said. “But she took the time to make sure I got something that was true to me and my business.”

When you believe it, doors open

While running any business can have its ups and downs, Tara says she has no regrets about leaving her 9-5 job with benefits. Being a defense attorney is completely aligned with who she is, and the decision to launch her private practice was the right one for her.

“I trusted in my vision and preparation. I had been in the field long enough to know that there was a need here that I could fill, and I was just hoping the doors would open,” she said.

And they have.

“I tell my daughter all the time how it takes courage to be who you want to be. There’s so much pressure to fit in and to allow other people to define your success, which is why people are unhappy and unsettled.”

“My clientele has grown steadily. Ironically, there are even people I prosecuted who have since called me to represent them in unrelated matters. They said, ‘You were tough. You were fair. You knew your stuff, and we just trust you.’”

When it comes to defining her own life and what she does day to day, Tara says she wishes everyone could do it.

“I have these moments of clarity when I remember, ‘You are running your own business. You are really doing this on your own terms.  What a tremendous blessing and opportunity.”

See the Embark: Entrepreneur Journey page to learn more about the steps we took to help Tara unearth her nature, clarify her personal brand and craft the visual identity for her criminal defense firm, Hawkins Legal.

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