Trey Allen (North Carolina)
Trey Allen was born in Lumberton, North Carolina in the mid-1970s. He grew up with a strong interest in public service and the law. After graduating from high school, Allen attended the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He was very involved on campus and graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Eager to advance his education, Allen immediately enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. He excelled in law school and earned his Juris Doctor in 2000.
After completing law school, Allen joined the United States Marine Corps. He was commissioned as a judge advocate and served as a military lawyer from 2000 to 2005. During those five years, Allen handled legal matters for Marines across the globe. His responsibilities included prosecuting and defending court martials, offering legal assistance, and advising commanders. Allen’s Marine Corps service gave him valuable litigation experience and leadership skills.
Clerkships and Private Practice
Following his time in the Marine Corps, Allen worked as a law clerk for judges on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Business Court. These clerkships provided him with insights into appellate litigation and complex business disputes. Allen then entered private practice, working as an attorney focusing on labor and employment law. He practiced for several years and earned a strong reputation as a thoughtful litigator and trusted advisor to clients.
In addition to private practice, Allen cultivated an academic career. He began teaching legal writing courses at his alma mater, the University of North Carolina School of Law. Allen relished the opportunity to train the next generation of lawyers. His classroom expertise led to an appointment teaching appellate advocacy at Duke University School of Law. Prior to joining the bench, Allen was a Clinical Professor of Law at UNC-Chapel Hill.
North Carolina Supreme Court
In November 2022, Allen was elected to serve as an Associate Justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. He began his eight-year term on January 1, 2023. Allen joined the state’s highest court after developing a broad range of legal experience over the previous two decades. His Republican Party affiliation likely aided his campaign in conservative North Carolina. On the bench, Allen is known for his meticulous preparation, sharp intellect, and commitment to impartial justice.
Although he only assumed office recently, Allen has already made his mark through thoughtful majority opinions and compelling dissents. For example, in a high-profile case involving election fraud allegations, Allen wrote a ruling upholding the integrity of the state’s absentee voting procedures. His reasoning demonstrated his deep knowledge of election law and unwavering support for voting rights. In another decision, Allen dissented from the majority’s extension of certain corporate liability protections. His dissent outlined the policy and legal arguments for holding corporations fully accountable. These early rulings indicate Allen’s independent thinking and meticulous jurisprudence.
2022 North Carolina Supreme Court Election
Allen first ran for North Carolina Supreme Court in 2022 to fill the seat of retiring Chief Justice Paul Newby. In the Republican primary, Allen touted his diverse legal resume and conservative credentials. He went on to decisively win the primary and general election. Throughout the campaign, Allen stressed his commitment to interpreting laws and the state constitution based on their original meaning. He also promised to maintain impartiality and described himself as neither a liberal nor a conservative judge, but rather as a “law and constitution” judge. Allen’s campaign messaging resonated with a majority of voters.
Family and Interests
Allen resides in Chapel Hill with his wife and three children. When he is not performing his judicial duties, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading history, and cheering on the UNC Tar Heels sports teams. Allen is also an avid runner who frequently participates in local 5K races. Friends describe Allen as brilliant yet remarkably down-to-earth. His varied interests and devotion to his community add to Allen’s appeal as a relatable, principled jurist.
In his first months on the court, Justice Trey Allen has already proven himself to be a thoughtful, independent voice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. His journey to the highest judicial post in the state included education at North Carolina universities, Marine Corps service, extensive legal experience, and a successful election campaign. Allen’s dedication to intellectual rigor and fair-minded decision making will continue to benefit North Carolina in the years to come. With his current term running through 2031, citizens can expect Justice Allen to play a key role in shaping North Carolina laws.
Q: Where did Trey Allen attend law school?
A: Allen earned his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law in 2000.
Q: How many years did Allen serve in the military?
A: Allen served 5 years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2000 to 2005.
Q: What legal jobs did Allen hold before becoming a judge?
A: He worked as a law clerk, attorney in private practice, and law professor.
Q: When was Allen elected to the North Carolina Supreme Court?
A: Allen was elected as a Justice in November 2022.
Q: What is unique about Allen’s judicial philosophy?
A: He describes himself as a “law and constitution” judge who approaches cases through neutral interpretation rather than liberal or conservative leanings.