Allison grew up in Chesterfield County, Virginia but always knew she would live in Virginia Beach one day. Both of her parents grew up in Virginia Beach, so her family visited there often and Allison still has lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins in the area. When it came time to decide where to go to college, Allison chose Old Dominion University. After graduating from ODU in 1996, she lived at the Oceanfront and worked as a legal secretary for a small law firm in Chesapeake. Allison always wanted to be a lawyer, but working as a legal secretary confirmed her choice. In 1998, Allison left Virginia Beach and moved to New Orleans to attend the College of Law at Loyola University in New Orleans. In order to make ends meet, she went to law school at night and worked as a paralegal during the day at a small law firm that practiced insurance defense. Allison graduated from law school in December 2001 and continued working for the law firm in New Orleans until July 2002. That August she started working as a law clerk for an Administrative Law Judge with the Department of Labor. Allison lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia and took the train to D.C. every day. Since the train ride was a good hour each way, she was able to study for the Virginia bar exam, which she passed in February 2003.
After being admitted to the Virginia State Bar in June 2003, Allison started working for Jim McKenry at a small law firm in Virginia Beach. Her practice focused on traffic and misdemeanor defense and family law. In May 2006, she started focusing 100% of her practice to family law when she joined the firm of Kaufman & Canoles. Allison became a partner in January 2011 and remained at K&C until joining Parks Zeigler, PLLC in August 2015. Allison knew Brandon and Kellam through her practice as a family law attorney and respected both of them. Wanting to take more control over her practice, she reached out to Kellam and Brandon to see if she could join them, which was a good fit for all parties.
Family Law Attorney Fellow with AAML
Allison is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, of which there are less than ten in the Tidewater area and less than 60 in all of Virginia. AAML Fellows are highly skilled negotiators and litigators who represent individuals in all facets of family law. These areas include divorce, annulment, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, marital settlement agreements, child custody and visitation, business valuations, property valuations and division, alimony, child support and other family law issues. She is currently serving as the Publicity chairman of the Virginia chapter of the AAML.
Allison is also a director of the Virginia Beach Bar Association (VBBA), and a member of Virginia State Bar Association (VBA), and Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. She has been very active with the VBBA, currently serving as a director. Previously she served on the Young Lawyers Committee from 2003 to 2008, chairing that committee in 2007 and 2008. She also co-chaired the Membership Committee from 2009 to 2011 and served as co-chair of the golf committee in 2017 and chair for 2018. She has also been a member of the VBA Family Law Coalition since November 2015.
Allison has been honored/recognized by numerous organizations:
- AAML Fellow
- Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters
- Best Lawyer by US News
- Top Lawyer by Coastal Virginia Magazine
- AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- 10.0 rating by AVVO
Outside of the law, Allison has served on the Board of Directors for REACH (Reading Enriches All Children), Inc. REACH is a local non-profit that supports the literacy needs of homeless and at-risk children living in shelters throughout the Hampton Roads area. Allison started as a director in 2009, became Vice-President of Programs in 2011, and served as President from 2012 through 2016.
Beyond her legal and community commitments, Allison spends as much time as possible with her husband and son. Allison and her family love the outdoors, so they try to spend summers at the beach or swimming at Ocean Breeze. They also enjoy camping and hiking in the spring and fall. Allison is also passionate about reading and loves a good suspense novel.