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Tiana Towns
Tiana Towns

2020 Up & Coming Attorneys: Tiana Towns

Tiana Towns is a lawyer for two reasons: She likes to compete, and she wants to be an example for young Black girls.

“I just remember when I was growing up, never seeing a Black woman who was a lawyer,” Towns says. “By the time I got to law school I knew, ‘This is something I can change.’”

Towns has been at Dorsey & Whitney since 2014, where she’s done different kinds of work, including ERISA cases — one of which recently went to the U.S. Supreme Court — but her real love is litigation, largely in construction and real estate.

What do you find the most rewarding or love best about working in the legal profession?

The thrill of the competition for me is a lot of times what keeps me going, and then also interesting cases that we get. What’s really special is an inmate who is no longer on death row because we took on his case, and that has been the most rewarding experience of my short career.

What inspires you and motivates you to achieve your goals?

We still don’t have enough representation in this profession, and it’s 2020. Fifty years from now I want 20 percent or more of legal professionals [to be] Black women or women of color. So that’s my motivation — finding a way to make the law accessible for those who want to practice the law and those who need to navigate the law.

What’s the best piece of advice that you ever received?

[The best advice was to] go to Howard [University School of Law]. It was a place, at least for me as a Black woman in America, where I could put my shield down instead of having to think about race all the time and just be a person.

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