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Northeast Times | September 26, 2021

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Irving ISD Names Chief Legal Counsel

Irving ISD Names Chief Legal Counsel

Tina R. Patel, J.D., an experienced and accomplished attorney, has been named Chief Legal Counsel for Irving ISD. Patel’s experience includes serving as a school district attorney, a litigation associate at a private law firm and an assistant district attorney for Dallas County.

“I have always been passionate about education,” says Patel who will begin her new role in Irving in mid-January. “As someone who immigrated to the United States in seventh grade, I can relate to what parents expect when they send their kids to school.”

Patel says she is looking forward to contributing to a system that ensures students are in a position to compete, whether that’s for a spot at a top university or highly sought-after positions in the global workforce. “I’m excited to be in Irving where I can contribute and offer students a better education,” she says. “I also look forward to having an immediate impact. With my experience, I can come in and provide solid legal guidance. Part of that will be to expand training opportunities for principals and other administrators.”

Patel is currently an assistant district attorney with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office where she serves as managing attorney for the civil division. Prior to that role, she oversaw personnel and employment litigation as an in-house attorney for Dallas ISD. While working for the Dallas school district, she advised school officials on a number of legal matters ranging from general school law to employment and procurement matters, to Title VII and Title IX cases as well as the Texas Open Meetings Act and public information requests.

Her local experience also includes working as a litigation associate in the public law section for Godwin Lewis, PC and as an associate for Patel & Associates, P.L.L.C. Patel worked as a real estate attorney in New York for two firms: Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, LLP and Sills Cummins Epstein & Gross, P.C.

“Ms. Patel has a varied and impressive set of work experiences ranging from school district service to work with the Dallas district attorney’s office to the public law section of private sector firms. She has expressed a deep desire to serve the students, staff and community of the Irving ISD, and we look forward to her joining TEAM IRVING,” says Superintendent of Schools Jose L. Parra, Ed.D.

Patel graduated cum laude from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. and holds a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Her professional affiliations include being a participant in the e-mentoring program with the Dallas Bar Association and a committee member for the Justice in Education Symposium. She holds membership in the William “Mac” Taylor American Inn of Court, the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers Foundation and the Council of School Attorneys of the Texas Association of School Boards.

For a period of time in January, Patel will work alongside Irving ISD’s current Chief Legal Counsel Bertha Bailey Whatley before she retires at the end of the month.

A resident of Irving, Patel says she is eager to begin her work for the Irving public schools. “I now have the opportunity to work for my community and to be able to further the education of all kids in Irving. That is beyond exciting.”