Attorney Tamara Holder Biography

Tamara N. Holder is the principal of The Law Firm of Tamara N. Holder, LLC. Her firm’s work includes: criminal defense, expungement, race discrimination, police brutality, public policy, and pro bono practices.

Tamara established her own practice in 2005, defending amongst others, the poor and indigent in criminal courts throughout the State of Illinois. She quickly learned how even a dismissed misdemeanor case can return to haunt people. Many of her clients found themselves facing lifetime bans on employment, education, adoption, even access to credit – all because of a prior arrest record.

Seeing the need for outreach in this area, Tamara founded, a Chicago-based expungement practice that provides a second chance to those individuals who have expungeable offenses under Illinois law. She also helps ex-offenders seek a Governor’s pardon for non-expungeable offenses. Tamara has met privately with Governor Blagojevich on the issue of pardons, and Illinois Attorney General Madigan on sentencing and expungement procedures and laws. Tamara was soon invited to work with Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition (RPC). As a result, her work quickly caught the attention of civic leaders in Chicago, as well as nationwide. In 2006, she founded an expungement clinic at RPC headquarters, and now holds a weekly clinic, reviewing criminal records and providing advice on expungement options. This work is a testament to Tamara’s unparalleled pro bono work efforts in the city of Chicago.

Tamara also works closely with Reverend Jackson in crafting and executing public policy initiatives, together with programs to increase opportunities for minorities and the economically disadvantaged; as well as initiatives designed to get guns off the nations streets, help reduce street gang violence, and offer educational opportunities for young people.

In February 2007, Tamara’s investigation of the railroad industry’s improper employment practices toward those with criminal records led to a Congressional investigation and a hearing before the Committee of Homeland Security. In July of 2007, Tamara testified as an expert witness before the Committee of Transportation, Sub-Committee of Maritime and Infrastructure. Her testimony was crucial to preventing passage of an invasive, anti-worker, anti-business piece of legislation calling for mandatory identification cards for transportation workers – a statutory scheme criticized by organized labor and management alike.

Tamara is a also a frequent guest on radio and television shows, such as the Upfront Show with Jesse Jackson, The Santita Jackson Show and The Cliff Kelly Show (both on WVON), Reverend Al Sharpton’s radio program, Clear Channel’s WGCI-FM and selected programs on public access television CAN-TV.

A 2004 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, and a 2000 graduate of the University of Arizona, Tamara learned criminal trial practice as an intern for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in Chicago. She also served a clinical internship at Miramax Films, in Los Angeles, now known as The Weinstein Company.

Tamara is now a member of many public policy organizations, in addition to the Rainbow PUSH Coalition; she currently enjoys membership in Women of Power, a “who’s who” group of female business leaders devoted to helping women within the criminal justice system. Among Tamara’s honors for her work in the community, she is especially proud of several received in 2007: a Women of Power Award, a Social Justice Award from the Illinois Department of Human Services, and a Women Leadership Award from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
In addition to Tamara’s legal work, she is also a sought-after and popular public speaker. She has appeared by invitation, most recently at The College of Lake County, Northeastern Illinois University, the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Department of Teen and Family Services, The Near North Health Service Corp., the Cook County Jail and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

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