The First 100 Years: My Grandfather’s Influence

One hundred years ago, in 1910, my grandfather, George E. Allen Sr., a founder of this law firm, handled his first personal injury case. As a third generation family member of this law firm, I reflect back occasionally on the influence my grandfather and his legal career have had upon me. When I first began practicing law 25 years ago, attorneys and judges always spoke well of my grandfather. He was often cited as a shining example of professionalism who set a standard to which all successful attorneys should aspire. My grandfather was so passionate and committed about the practice of law late in his life when he wrote his memoirs he entitled the book The Law As A Way of Life.

At the beginning of my career, I experienced a surprising moment in my legal education during the first year in law school. I was touring the law library with the other first year students when I paused to randomly pull a volume of the Virginia Reporter off one of the bookshelves. The Virginia Reporter contains the written opinions of cases decided by our Virginia Supreme Court since 1790; there are hundreds of volumes of these books in the library. The particular book I selected fell open in my hands to a page concerning a case that my grandfather himself argued before the Supreme Court! What are the chances that among the thousands of cases reported in the hundreds of volumes of the Virginia Reporter I would stumble upon one involving my grandfather? Whether merely coincidence or fate, this experience often comes to mind when I research other cases in the Virginia Reporter, and remind me of the rare privilege and responsibility I enjoy of trying to perpetuate the legacy created two generations ago by my grandfather.

About the Author: Charles Allen is a Richmond personal injury attorney with Allen & Allen.