Tanya D. Jeffords holds a number of titles: lawyer, business owner, non-profit organization founder, wife and mother. In addition to all of these titles, she most recently joined Mercer Law School’s Alumni Association Board of Directors as she continues to be involved in her alma mater. She is a trial lawyer who practices in the areas of criminal law, employment and labor law, family law and civil litigation.
Her strong sense of giving back stems from her days at Mercer where she learned that serving others is part of being a lawyer. She was President of the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and helped win the Community Service Award. As a student, she also participated in the Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition and continues to support Mercer Law students as mentor or guest judge. She also helps students and alumni to connect to the bar members in Augusta.
She was taught that law is about people. She takes cases that are challenging and takes prides in being there for her clients, not just in the courtroom, but helping them past a difficult time in their lives. Jeffords remarked, “It is important for each lawyer to have the skill to deal with the flaws in the system so that we can still have laws that work for the people.”
Jeffords clerked for Hon. W. Louis Sands (’74) at the U.S. District Court in Albany in 2001 where she learned many skills but more importantly, she benefited from Judge Sands’ mentorship. “Judge Sands has guided me in my career, in community service, and helped me be a well-rounded person,” Jeffords said.
In 2002, Jeffords co-founded Dream Builders of America’s Youth, Inc. (DBAY) in Albany to help youth to build confidence, build character and build communities. The program helps participants create a vision and write a plan to achieve their dreams. Currently, she is busy with the Frederick Douglas Mobile Reading Room to help kids aged 3 to 13 to read to succeed. This is a passion and a deep commitment as a direct response to her criminal defense practice. “That has always been what you do as a lawyer, try and fix problems before you get to the courtroom” she said. She believes that DBAY will help foster education through scholarships and mentorship, because kids who stay in school stay out of trouble. DBAY has helped over 1,000 young students. She started the Judge John H. Ruffin Scholarship for college-bound seniors in the Augusta area.
Additionally, Jeffords spent a great deal of time helping develop the process for Augusta Judicial Circuit Drug Court program. She serves as defense lawyer for the Augusta Drug Court. In 2013, she received the State Hero Award from the Judicial Council and Administrative Office of the Courts for outstanding service to the accountability courts of Georgia.
Jeffords is proud to announce the opening of her second office in South Carolina in early 2016. She still dreams of representing clients in front of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court. She has won cases at the Georgia Supreme Court and has been praised by colleagues as being a gifted lawyer. But at the end of the day, Jeffords measures a successful year by the number of activities she was able to attend with her sons and her family.