As a native of Rutherford County, North Carolina, Allison B. Garren has followed the road less traveled and it has made all the difference. Ms. Garren’s journey has helped to develop her passion for serving others, fighting against injustice and her drive to make a difference in the lives of people from all walks of life.
While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Johnston Scholar, Ms. Garren gained her first insight into alternative dispute resolution while interning at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in Cape Town, South Africa. And upon graduating with her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Distinction, she was awarded Highest Honors.
Following her passion to help those in society who have fallen through the cracks, Ms. Garren dedicated two years of her life as an AmeriCorps Member with the North Carolina Literacy Corps in Orange County, North Carolina. She served as both a Program Coordinator for a literacy program for adult learners and a Project Manager for a social justice theater organization.
Realizing that she could do greater good, for more people, with more education, Ms. Garren went on to earn both her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL) and her Masters in Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine. But it was her love of the studies surrounding international human rights and their application to the United States, particularly social and economic rights, that spurred her interests in how those who are less fortunate are treated by the legal system and impacted by the deep flaws within the criminal justice system.
With these desires and core values in place, Ms. Garren found her “legal” voice as she proudly served as a teaching assistant to Professor Margaret Burnham for constitutional law, was the Vice Chair of Student Organizations for the Student Bar Association, and was the creator and co-founder of the Human Rights Caucus. In addition, her drive to fight inequality and her compassion for those often left behind by the legal system was filled by her clerkships with the civil rights firm of the Law Offices of Howard Friedman in Boston, MA; the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham, NC; Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston, MA and finally with the Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.
Her work since graduating from law school has truly been a labor of love as it has been focused on working to conduct research on poverty, work, opportunity and meaningful access to the legal system. She has been an advocate in the courtroom for survivors of domestic violence, helped obtain affordable housing and pursued claims for life-saving federal benefits. On why she wanted to practice law, “To hold those with power accountable; to level the playing field; to ensure that money and power doesn’t trump what is just and fair.”
Ms. Garren’s passion for those who have little and for fighting against unequal access to the legal system based upon where you live, the color of your skin or even your gender carries over into her time away from the office as well. She has served as a Board Member of Hidden Voices and the Rutherford County Health Center. She is a past chair of the Rutherford County Democratic Party, past president of the Democratic Women of Rutherford County and former Third Vice-Chair of the Tenth Congressional District.
With an interest in people from all backgrounds and in all places, Ms. Garren loves to travel to new destinations, to see new things, meet new people, experience new cultures and try new foods. And, seeing these destinations, especially their natural landscapes, she feels makes us all realize that we are all connected by something bigger. If she’s not traveling to far away places with her husband, she loves being right here in her “own backyard”, arranging flowers, hiking, exploring and taking pictures of the beautiful world around her. Because of course, there is “no place like home.”
Providing compassionate, professional legal services with a focus to delivering an exceptional client experience continues to be of foremost importance to Ms. Garren as she practices law every day. She maintains a particular interest in assisting indigent clients as she works with the rest of the TMT team primarily in the areas of criminal defense, family law, and social security disability.
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.