Amanda Tullidge was born with legal aspirations.
Upon her earthly arrival, her parents — a legal assistant and real estate lawyer — clothed her in a “future lawyer” bib. A pack of custom baseball cards proclaimed her law school graduation year, though the class was off by a year. Subtlety this was not.
Unlike most children, who might chafe at their parents’ expectations, Tullidge enjoyed it all. Growing up, she carried around a tiny briefcase full of markers, telling anyone who would listen: “I’m going to court.” She really was born to be a lawyer.
At 33, Tullidge has now turned childhood dreams into reality. In 2013, she graduated from University of Florida’s Levin College of Law — magna cum laude and a member of legal honor society Order of the Coif. Soon after, she followed in her father’s footsteps and became a real estate lawyer, at Blalock Walters in Bradenton. It’s a legal field that is cooperative and collaborative rather than combative — and that speaks to Tullidge.
“I don’t want to be the one in the courtroom fighting with somebody. I like to meet people and get what they want,” Tullidge says. “I like leaving the closing room, talking to the buyers, the sellers and the agents.”
Tullidge spends much of her day reviewing files and sending emails — when asked what her days are like, she mimes constantly typing. Her attention to detail is what makes her a good lawyer. She and her father are so meticulous that they send each other photos when they spot a typo in a book or an article.
“We’re detail people,” she says.
Her father remains an important force in her daily life. If Tullidge encounters a problem at work or just needs a break, he is the person she comes to, sometimes in tears and sometimes just looking for guidance.
He was also by her side in 2019 when Tullidge achieved one of the biggest milestones in a legal career — making partner.
There was no surprise on his part when the announcement came. After all, this was the same person who preordained his daughter as a future lawyer before she could even walk. In Tullidge’s words, her father considered it simply “the next logical step in my life.”
City of Residence: Sarasota, Florida
Employer: Blalock Walters P.A.
Title: Real estate attorney
Birthplace: Elm Grove, Wisconsin
Years in the area: 19
Marital Status/Children: Married with 1 child, Eleanor (1 1/2 years old)
Alma Mater/Degree: B.A. in English from University of Florida, J.D. from University of Florida Levin College of Law
What community group or organization are you most involved with? I founded and run a womens giving circle called Cheers for Charity of about 40 young professional women who pool our charitable contributions and fundraiser to benefit local nonprofits
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? I'm also a licensed Realtor. I don't use my license often, but it helps in my real estate law practice.
What's your top tip for being productive? I live by to-do lists and keep daily, weekly, and monthly lists.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? I would love to be a travel agent! Every time my family or friends and I go on a vacation, I spend hours researching attractions, restaurants, and hotels, and then make a physical outline for the trip. I love doing it!
What's your favorite off-hours activity? During COVID quarantine, I've been learning how to cook. We recently got a meal kit subscription service, which is helping me build confidence in the kitchen.
Have you gone to the movies in 2021? If yes, what did you see? No
What's the top item on your bucket list? Be a good mom to Eleanor :)
What's your favorite podcast? My Brother, My Brother, and Me (3 brothers dispense comedic advice to write-in questions)
Where is your happy place? Ischia, an island off the coast of Italy. I was lucky enough to be part of UF's Study Abroad in Rome program and of the many beautiful places we got to visit, the day jumping off cliffs into the sea and laying on the beach at Ischia was my favorite.
Describe yourself in three words: Organized. Fun-loving. Driven.
Who is your mentor for your career and why? My father, Robert Smith. He was also a real estate lawyer in Wisconsin, but the lessons he taught me were far more important than just law.
What are the biggest lessons you have learned from your mentor? He always encouraged me to get involved in the legal community. He served on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee County Young Lawyers and also the statewide Wisconsin YLD Board.
I took his advice as soon as I graduated and served on the board for the Manatee County Young Lawyers for seven years, helping to plan service projects, continuing education programs and social initiatives. My dad always said that was where he met some of his best friends and that was true for me as well! He also taught me that being a lawyer requires dedicated service to your community. My dad served on the boards of many organizations, including City of Hope (a cancer research foundation) and the Waukesha County food pantry. I remember him taking me door to door to collect food donations when I was a child and encouraging me to collect food donations instead of presents at my childhood birthday parties.
When we moved to Florida, he continued volunteering with a local food pantry for migrant workers, Stillpoint in Bradenton, and he holds an annual appeal which has raised over $100,000.00 to date. I've been inspired to work with many of the local nonprofits in the Sarasota-Manatee area myself. I have served on the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund's Board of Directors for the past six years as their Grants Chairman. We award grants to local nonprofits and help to connect donors with organizations that need volunteers and patronage. As part of this effort, I planned the LWRCF Nonprofit Bus Tour which took a charter bus of LWR residents to 4 nonprofits in the LWR area. I was also inspired to form my own womens giving circle, Cheers for Charity, where myself and about 40 of our young professional women friends pool our charitable donations and fundraise to grant funds to local nonprofits. We have contributed about $60,000.00 to date.