One Lawyer, Broad Horizons

David Allen is involved with everything from corporate finance to hunger awareness

Published in 2010 New England Rising Stars — November 2010

New Hampshire isn’t known for having an abundance of large companies. So what’s a corporate finance guru like David Allen doing in Manchester?

Loving it. “New Hampshire really is a small-business economy, and working with entrepreneurs—people who are just getting established—really appealed to me,” says Allen, who handles venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and securities law at Sheehan Phinney Bass + Green. “A lot of those people I really admire and like to work with. It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun.”

When he’s not helping companies find their footing, Allen works on securities litigation. It’s a natural fit for someone who started out working in the investment industry, then decided to go to law school. After earning his J.D. at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, Allen came back home to take a job with the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation.

The bureau falls under the Department of State, which oversees elections. The experience has complemented Allen’s appointment by Gov. John Lynch onto a task force charged with crafting a bill on public financing for state political campaigns. The plan is to be presented to the Legislature this fall.

“Reform of our elections laws is a real meta-issue because it affects a ton of other issues that are important to people: environmental regulation, financial regulation, even government spending,” Allen says. “I’ve realized that the public financing of campaigns is potentially one of the only constitutional ways to achieve real reform of our election laws.”

He stepped up for another role as well: serving on the board of New Horizons, the state’s largest emergency shelter, soup kitchen and food pantry.

“It was an immediate ‘yes’—really a no-brainer to get involved with them,” he says. “The issues involving hunger and homelessness are important to me, particularly in the city of Manchester where I’m from. It’s an issue that I honestly didn’t know a lot about before I became involved, but once I did become involved, it really awakened me to the extent of the issue, even in a place like New Hampshire, which people don’t normally associate with homelessness and hunger issues. ... It’s been really eye-opening for me.”

In his off-hours, Allen can often be found playing tennis, practicing yoga or enjoying local theater productions—from the audience. In college, he spent some time on the stage, both acting and directing.

“Fortunately for everyone in the state, I am no longer an actor,” he says.

When Allen talks business, he doesn’t need the acting experience to relay his enthusiasm. He’s a natural.

“That growth process, watching a company evolve—that’s one of the things I enjoy,” he says. “When you work with a company to get past an important obstacle, there’s a real sense of satisfaction.”

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