Matthew Allen ’92

Matt Allen '92
Matt Allen ’92

DEGREES: B.A. in history; J.D. with certificate in environmental law, Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College

JOB TITLE: Attorney

FAVORITE TRINITY MEMORY: Without a doubt, all of the fun times in Jarvis during freshman year.

How did you come to specialize in winery and vineyard law?
I developed a passion for wine and happened to have a client buying a vineyard in California.

How does it differ from other specialties in which you have worked?
It was totally different from any type of law that I had practiced, and the first several years were a huge learning experience.

I had previously been a litigator in Atlanta defending large auto companies and other manufacturers in catastrophic injury claims. I now represent wineries in transactional work and with regard to licensing and have started up dozens of wineries.

What do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy helping my clients reach a long-held dream of owning a winery and creating great estate wines.

What are the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenges are getting winery projects through the regulatory hurdles of permitting and licensing. California and Santa Barbara County in particular are not the most business-friendly environments, and getting any sort of land-use approvals in this area can take a lot of time and money.

Was there a Trinity professor who was particularly influential? If so, who was it, and why?
In looking back on my Trinity career, there was no one professor who was more influential than others. I had many great professors and loved that the school encouraged you to try different areas of study outside your major, as I started out wanting to be a biology major. [I turned toward history because] I really liked some of my history classes and in particular early American history of our founding fathers.

How did your experiences at Trinity prepare you for what you do today?
While Trinity gave me a great skill set in reading and writing from my history major that I use every day, the most important skill that Trinity taught was people skills. The level of interaction with faculty and classmates at a small school like Trinity provided me with invaluable people skills moving forward.