By: Evan Groder
From the high stress atmosphere of law school to the high-speed world of motorsports, Tricia Rolewicz Letarte knows how to rise to the occasion. Tricia was born and raised in Central New York, spending her early years in the rural outskirts of Syracuse. She graduated from Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (VVS) High School and went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science from Le Moyne College, where she graduated magna cum laude.
Before finishing college, Tricia knew she wanted to continue her studies and eventually venture beyond Central New York. She took what she had learned at Le Moyne, combined it with her instinctual ease with public speaking and advocacy, and was accepted into the College of Law’s Class of 1998. Initially commuting to the College of Law, Tricia soon realized that she would need to move closer to the school to integrate more fully with study groups and the student community. Once she made this transition, Tricia found herself better able to adapt to the challenges of her first year and was amazed by the breadth of different experiences she saw amongst her classmates.
As a first-generation law student, Tricia described her first year as a real learning curve. However, Tricia was up for the challenge. As her first year continued, Tricia excelled and found herself with offers to join both the Syracuse Law Review and the Moot Court Board.
During her summers, Tricia was able to gain valuable practical experience as well as fulfill her goal of exploring new places. She interned in Colorado for a summer, an experience she looks back on with fondness as her first professional experience away from home.
During her second and third years, Tricia sharpened her skills in legal writing and research and found her passion for employment law. As a member of the Syracuse Law Review, Tricia served as an Editorial Member and then was elected to the Executive Board as an Executive Editor. Tricia relayed her pride in her work while on Law Review, noting that Volume 48 is currently on the shelf in her home office. In addition, Tricia’s interest in employment law peaked thanks to Professor Emeritus Robert J. Rabin. Professor Rabin taught Tricia employment law, as well as coached her in oral advocacy on a labor law appellate team.
After graduating magna cum laude from the College of Law, the next challenge for Tricia was finding a job in Charlotte, North Carolina, a market with noticeably few Syracuse graduates. Yet again, Tricia was up to the task. Tricia accepted an offer from Rayburn Cooper & Durham, where she soon made a name for herself as a dedicated and talented employment lawyer. She then went on to accept an offer from McGuireWoods where she continued her ever upward professional trajectory. Tricia found professional satisfaction in the incredible variety present in the employment law field. The facts from case to case were varied and always interesting, and the litigation process was challenging, yet rewarding.
During this time, Tricia met her husband, Steve Letarte. Just as Tricia excelled in North Carolina’s legal community, Steve worked his way up the ranks from Parts Cleaner to Tire Specialist, all the way to Crew Chief at the renowned racing team, Hendrick Motorsports. After the birth of their first child, Tyler, Tricia sought and found a job as Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at the Wachovia Corporation. Tricia appreciated this transition as it allowed her more time with her now growing family.
After welcoming their daughter, Ashlyn, and thanks to Steve’s meteoric rise in the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), Tricia not only continued her legal work but also adopted the role as a part-time teacher to her children. The NASCAR race calendar is demanding and required the Letarte family to travel most weekends from February to November. This was yet another challenge Tricia met with enthusiasm. Tricia would plan educational visits for her children in the cities where the NASCAR races took place. In this manner, she supplemented what her children were learning in the classroom with real-world visits to historical sites and museums all over the country.
Near the end of his tenure as Crew Chief for the likes of Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Steve sought a position that would allow him to travel less and spend more time at home with his family. This led to an offer from NBC Sports for Steve to be a commentator and analyst for the NASCAR races they broadcasted. In looking for an agent and attorney to represent him in this opportunity, Steve knew exactly who to ask.
While Tricia had no previous experience as an agent, she found encouragement from her husband and in the fact that she had been representing clients in the employment law field for years. Now, Tricia works for TSL Enterprises, Inc. (TSL stands for Tricia & Steve Letarte) where she procures and manages endorsements, sponsors, and personal appearances for Steve and the Letarte brand. She also continues to negotiate and draft contracts in her representation of Steve and describes it as her favorite out of all the jobs she has had.
In a fireside chat for the College of Law’s JDinteractive students in Charlotte, Tricia described her exciting and varied career path. She explained that students should not fear the fact that a career can turn in directions that may be impossible to anticipate. Whether it be the boardroom or the courtroom, or somewhere in between, you can count on Tricia to rise to the occasion.