Working as a champion for the underdog was always Leatrice Taylor’s dream. It is what drove her to become a lawyer.
The Killeen native graduated from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in 2004 and by 2012, she was a partner at Norman Taylor PLLC in Killeen.
While underdog cases are not profitable, for her, they are the most rewarding.
“Clients are grateful when we give them legal representation, because others won’t take their cases,” Taylor said. “It touches my heart.”
With a successful career and a loving family, Taylor had it all — then tragedy struck.
Diallo Taylor, her husband of 16 years, died unexpectedly in 2011. He was 39 years old.
Instantly, Taylor was a widow and a single parent to their children, Ayanna, Whitney and Isaiah. Her first concern was for them to feel loved and supported as they dealt with their loss.
Taylor found books to help her deal with grief, but she couldn’t find books to help her children cope.
“Maybe I wasn’t meant to find them, so I would write my own book,” she said.
Feeling overwhelmed, Taylor penned her first book, “Thank God for Daddy!” in one night.
The book encourages children to comfort themselves through happy memories of their loved ones. She had no intention of doing anything with it except maybe create a memory book for her children, especially Isaiah.
“I wrote it thinking of my son and how he was going to have less memories of his father. The experiences in the book are things they did together.”
Other friends and their children who had experienced a similar loss helped change her mind. Through a network of friends, she contacted Tate Publications, which liked the book.
Taylor collaborated on the editing and illustrations, and the process provided her with another healing opportunity.
“I keep my mind from focusing on things that cause me to feel, but working on the editing forced me to stop and feel in the moment,” Taylor said.
A strong support system — including her parents and in-laws, who still live in Killeen, friends and co-workers — gave her several people to lean on.
“I have wonderful family and friends, and my partner, Chris Norman, is like my brother,” she said.
Steadfast in her faith, Taylor said the Lord is always working in her favor. “I believe he has worked for my good even though it’s not what I would want ever, but he’s working in my life.”
Taylor wants to do more writing. Her children loved the book, especially Isaiah, now 12 years old. He got teary-eyed when he recognized that some of the events in the book were things he and his dad had done.
“I’m a firm believer that as long as you have breath, you can change your mind, you can change direction, and you can make it better,” Taylor said.