Brady Allen is an attorney with a focus on criminal defense and family law. He came to that, however, by way of proving himself in on the prosecuting side of the aisle.  Allen grew up in Southern Illinois, spending his undergraduate years at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, after which he went into the military.  His original plan was to have a long career in the military, then go into the FBI or CIA, but after a medical discharge scuttled those plans, Allen went to law school, returning to SIU-Carbondale.  After graduation and passing the bar exam, Allen worked in the prosecutor’s office, gaining valuable experience for how that side of the law functions.  He now brings all that experience to his new criminal defense practice, reassuring clients that he can view their case from all angles and come up with the best strategies to get the best results for them and for justice

When do you know, as an attorney, when it’s time to go out on your own?

When you have enough experience to go out on your own, it’s time to seize the opportunity and take on more responsibility in your career.  It’s a gamble, but if you have the experience to back up the move, it should be worth it financially.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

As an attorney, I’m constantly in a position to be able to help people.  There’s no small case in my mind.  If you’re doing something that helps someone, if you help to relieve the stress that they’ve been dealing with daily, or help them sleep better at night, then that’s such a great feeling for me.

What keeps you motivated?

These days I’m extremely motivated by my family.  I have a baby on the way.  I’m very motivated to provide for my family and give them a good life, and that’s my primary focus right now.  I keep focused on trying to find that balance where I can take pride in my work and enjoy it, but also at the same time give my family the life that they deserve.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

I wouldn’t say it’s all that challenging to maintain a healthy work/life balance as long as you have a partner who understands the extra work that goes into being an attorney.  There are all those times you have to prep for a trial, or take on extra work, and it’s really important to have someone in your life who is patient and understands that sometimes I have to dedicate a little bit more time and attention to my work.  I haven’t had a too much of an issue having that balance.

What traits do you possess that makes a successful leader?

Having the confidence and experience to back it up is a big part of it, but it also takes having a certain level of empathy and understanding for the people that you are trying to get to follow you.  Every leader needs to understand the people that they’re working with and what they’re going through.  They need to be able to level with them, while not losing sight of the issues that they are facing as you work together.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

Use the resources that are available to you. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions that you are afraid to know the answers to. Don’t be afraid to look stupid.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

I’m someone who wants to go above and beyond to help people, but sometimes I extend myself further than I should.  One piece of advice that was given to me was, “If you’re a giver, then know your limits, because the takers have none.”  The takers will let you keep on overextending yourself and you’ll end up in a worse-off position than when you started just trying to help them out.  You really have to know your limits.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Making it through law school and passing the bar exam.  It was a huge struggle to get there but I made it.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

This is something I’ve particularly learned in the legal field but it applies to all areas:  Never give someone the chance to hurt you or take advantage of you just because you think a decent person would never do that.  You’d be surprised how rare truly decent people are.  I always keep myself covered and try not to give people those opportunities.  It’s unfortunate but you can’t always trust people to do the right thing.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

I consider myself a very big family man, and outside of work that’s where my priorities lie.  As far as hobbies go, I like to be pretty active.  I run a lot and work out as the world of COVID allows.  I’m also a pretty big nerd.  I’m not shy to admit that I’m the guy that’s going to be playing Dungeons and Dragons on the weekend.  I’m a pretty big nerd all around.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

I think it would be good to start a partnership with someone.  It would with some of the challenges that come with working on my own.  I don’t have anyone to cover my cases if something comes up, and it would be really nice to have that extra support.  If you bring someone else in, there’s the chance that they have another area of law that they are really strong in, and you can add that to your repertoire as far as what your firm can offer clients.  That’s something I’m definitely looking forward to in the coming years.