GIVING BACK: Public Service and the Allen Law Firm

Giving back and serving our communities is a deeply held value at the Allen Law Firm. When I joined the firm in 1996, I came with a strong Government and public service background as well as a commitment to giving back to the community that fit well with the Firm’s values. For the first half of my career, I was an attorney in law enforcement, as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and also as a prosecutor (Commonwealth’s Attorney in two different jurisdictions in Virginia). During the time since I joined Allen & Allen as an attorney, then made partner, and then was chosen as President, I have emphasized and expanded how the Firm could better serve our community.

Under my direction, I expanded the program where our Firm participates in community events and charities. We contacted the public schools in areas we serve, and greatly increased the number and frequency of times that our personal injury attorneys speak at many different school functions. As a member of the National Ski Patrol, I had an emergency services background. So we also contacted emergency medical services, rescue squads, fire departments, and police and sheriff Agencies. Over time, as the program became more widely known and credible, we were invited to speak to more and more groups. With my law enforcement and emergency medical background, I personally gave many talks to rescue squads, fire departments, and police and sheriff agencies.

When I speak to these groups, I am usually asked to talk about topics like liability, immunity, criminal law as it pertained to their jobs, and assumption of the risk. I often also give various safety and protective tips I have learned over the years that I think will help them.

Our Firm is now celebrating its 100th year since our founder George E. Allen, Sr. began his practice in Virginia. I’m proud that the Firm’s speaker program has grown immensely. I still take time to personally talk to rescue squads, fire departments, and police and sheriff agencies, sometimes traveling two evenings a week to speak to groups in different areas of Virginia. I’m honored that these sessions are sometimes videotaped to be shown as training tools to various EMS and rescue groups. I enjoy traveling to give talks to other groups also, and because every year there are some major changes in the law, I always have something new to say.

Currently I serve on the Faculty of the Emergency Medical Services Symposium for the Commonwealth of Virginia, and have spoken to this group twice, once in Norfolk, Virginia, and once in Bristol, Virginia. My goal in working with Rescue Squads, Fire Departments and EMS workers is to aid in making our communities a safer place, to help educate the dedicated public employees and volunteers in these organizations, and to give back myself as a public servant. Why give back? There are many great men and women, many accomplished thinkers and philosophers, who ultimately came to realize that public service, service to others, and just helping others is our worthiest goal. For instance:

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others.” The Dalai Lama

“Everybody can be great? because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mohandas K. Gandhi

“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Albert Schweitzer

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

About the Author: Doug Barry is the president of Allen & Allen and a personal injury attorney in Richmond and Fredericksburg, Virginia