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Norman E. Allen

Norman Allen

Senior Vice President & Partner, Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.
San Francisco, Calif.
Year Graduated: 1994

Undergraduate: University of the Pacific
Major: BA in political science and communications


Norman Allen's history of leadership with Pacific goes back to his days as an undergraduate on the Stockton campus, when he was student body president and a residence hall assistant. Now the McGeorge alumnus brings his student experience on both campuses, and a career in both law and business, to governing the University as a member of the Board of Regents.

Allen says that he had dreamed of going to law school since he was in 6th grade. "I was attracted to the idea of the courtroom," he says. Allen was a staff member and editor on the Pacific Law Journal at McGeorge, and he says this experience was crucial in helping him learn to communicate clearly and with a purpose.

After graduating from McGeorge, Allen worked for five years as a litigation associate, where he saw very little of the courtroom he'd imagined. "It was nothing like Perry Mason," Allen says.

After gaining experience in litigation, Allen moved into the insurance industry. For the past 15 years he has worked as an insurance broker specializing in Directors and Officers liability insurance. "I serve as a trusted advisor to C-level clients, counseling them on how to mitigate and insure for their exposures, while I get to learn about a wide variety of industries," Allen says. "It's fun."

Legal skills such as contract analysis, negotiation, mediation, and litigation are still an integral part of Allen's insurance work. "I feel like I'm lawyering every day even though you don't need a law degree to do what I do," he says.

Allen was elected to the University of the Pacific's Board of Regents in July 2014 after serving for many years on the Pacific Alumni Association board. He anticipates that his legal education and background will be valuable in this continued service. "Being analytical, seeking consensus, encouraging multiple perspectives, being persuasive-these are all traits that are useful in any leadership role," he says.

The opportunity to learn broad skills like these is the reason Allen encourages students thinking of going to law school-and why he's still glad he followed that childhood dream of becoming a lawyer. "The traditional practice of law is a noble profession, but there are many other ways that one can put her or his legal training to work in a productive, enjoyable career," Allen concludes.

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