Spring 2014


Nicole Allen, ’08: “A Powerful Network”

By Amy Spooner

Nicole Allen, ’08
Nicole Allen, ’08

The University of Michigan is important to Nicole Allen, ’08. The many U-M graduates in her family include her husband, Andrew; they met as business school undergraduates. And she worries the football team might actually give her a heart attack someday. She also recognizes Michigan’s importance to her career, which is why celebrating her five-year reunion with a $25,000 pledge to the Law School Fund—the School’s expendable annual giving program—was “important and exciting.” 

“Michigan has given me incredible professional opportunities and keeps me connected to my family and classmates,” says Allen, an associate at Jenner & Block in Chicago. “Since Michigan attracts smart, well-rounded people doing different, interesting things, it’s a powerful network.” 

Allen knew she wanted to go to law school after listening to her father, a school administrator, describe negotiating union contracts. But working for Chrysler’s union relations department before law school solidified her choice. “I enjoyed the strategy of union negotiations and also learned how to act in a professional setting, which was valuable after law school.” 

By asking for a variety of assignments and assuming a heavy load of diverse pro bono cases, Allen says life at a big law firm has been a solid way to launch her career and utilize her training. 

“Many of our clients are big businesses, so understanding business operations and how business people think is helpful. Businesspeople are taught to be creative in order to be successful, but lawyers are more risk-averse. Understanding both approaches helps me counsel my clients on how to best solve their problems. It’s very fulfilling.” 

Fulfillment also motivates Allen’s support of the Law School. 

Many recent graduates are paying off student loans and establishing their careers, so she understands that giving to Michigan Law, especially at or above the Cavaedium Society level ($1,200 annually for recent grads or $2,500 annually for graduates more than 10 years out), might not be possible. But Allen encourages everyone to participate in some way. 

“No matter where your career has taken you, you’re relying on things you learned at Michigan, people you met at Michigan, or doors that your Michigan degree opens,” she says. “The best way to help that to continue, and to keep the value of our degrees strong, is to give back to the University.” 

Allen’s husband was equally enthusiastic about the Law School Fund gift. 

“He’s a Wolverine too, and he recognizes the positive impact the Law School has had on our family.”