Allison Brook Garren is a native of Rutherford County, North Carolina. She graduated Valedictorian from R-S Central High School in 2001 and was named the female recipient of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s statewide scholarship for her academic and athletic achievement, having earned twelve varsity letters. Ms. Garren attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Johnston Scholar. While an undergraduate, she gained her first insight into alternative dispute resolution while interning at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in Cape Town, South Africa. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Distinction and was awarded Highest Honors for her honors thesis, “Gender Matters: Women Policymakers and Their Impact in South Africa.”
Following her undergraduate studies, Ms. Garren served two years as an AmeriCorps Member in Orange County, North Carolina with the North Carolina Literacy Corps. She served a year as Program Coordinator at the Orange County Literacy Council, a literacy program for adult learners, and a second year as Project Manager for the social justice theater organization, Hidden Voices.
Ms. Garren earned her Juris Doctor from Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL) and obtained her Masters of Public Health from Tufts University School of Medicine, both located in Boston, Massachusetts. While in law school, Ms. Garren focused her studies on understanding international human rights frameworks and their domestic application with a particular interest in social and economic rights. She served as a fellow through NUSL’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy while interning with the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty (NLCHP) in Washington, D.C. In her third year, she assisted in advocating with NLCHP on the right to housing at the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review of the United States in Geneva, Switzerland.
Ms. Garren also clerked with the civil rights firm of the Law Offices of Howard Friedman in Boston, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice in Durham, North Carolina, and with Greater Boston Legal Services as a part of their Civil Gideon (right to civil counsel) Project. Her final clerkship was with the Trial Chambers of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. During law school Ms. Garren served as a teaching assistant to Professor Margaret Burnham for constitutional law, the Vice Chair of Student Organizations for the Student Bar Association, and was the creator and co-founder of the Human Rights Caucus.
Through a fellowship from NUSL, Ms. Garren was able to work with UNC’s Center on Poverty, Work, and Opportunity after graduating and conducted research for a Civil Gideon pilot program in North Carolina. She then began practicing with Pisgah Legal Services in Spindale, NC, where she advocated for survivors of domestic violence, and also helped clients obtain affordable housing and life saving federal benefits.
Ms. Garren has served as a Board Member of Hidden Voices as well as the Rutherford County Health Center. She currently serves as a McNair Mentor at R-S Central High School, a Board Member for Rutherford Town Revitalization, and as President of the Democratic Women of Rutherford County. Ms. Garren balances the practice of law with dabbling in photography, indulging her travel bug, hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, or dancing – from salsa to clogging. She is a former member of the Cane Creek Cloggers of Chapel Hill, NC and currently performs with the Green Grass Cloggers of Asheville, NC.
Ms. Garren has dedicated her legal career to providing compassionate, professional legal services with a particular interest in assisting indigent clients. Her current practice areas focus on criminal defense, family law, and social security disability claims.