BBA Featured Member: Shawn Allen, Chair, Criminal Justice Section
Shawn Allen, Esq.
Jefferson County District Attorney's Office
Where did you go to school?
Auburn University; University of Alabama School of Law;
How long have you been practicing law?
I have practiced law for 6 years, and have been actively involved in the Birmingham Bar Association for 5;
What do you like most about the Birmingham Bar Association?
What I like most about the Birmingham Bar is the opportunity to meet attorneys who practice in other areas of the law. The criminal courthouse can feel, at times, like a closed eco-system and I deal with a relatively small group of attorneys. It is nice to see how the other half lives.
What is the most rewarding experience in your practice of law?
The most rewarding experience in my practice is when I have the opportunity to help a victim who doesn't have anyone else to fight for them or doesn't think that the "system" cares about them. So much of the focus in a criminal case is on the person accused. Many people lose sight of the fact that for most criminal cases, there is not only a defendant to consider but a victim on the other side who deserves justice as well.
What makes you proud to be a lawyer?
Working day in and day out with the other deputy district attorneys in our office and watching how hard they work and how much of themselves is put into ensuring that everyone, both vicitims and defendants, are treated fairly; Knowing that every day that we come to work we are going to do the right thing no matter what it is; Justice does not always mean making sure someone is convicted. As prosecutors and lawyers, we are bound to make sure that justice is always done and the people in our office do that every day.
What advice would you give to a new lawyer? I would advise a new lawyer to simply do the right thing, even when no one is watching. We can never get into trouble by doing the right thing.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My wife is a first-grade teacher with Jefferson County and we have a seven year-old daughter and a five year-old son.