Spirit Moves Her: Attorney earns recognition for her desire to give back

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By Jeanine Matlow
Legal News

Johanna H. Allen has a number of attorneys in her family, including her father and sister, so it seemed like a natural career path for her to follow too. The owner of Johanna H. Allen, P.C, who lives and works in Rochester Hills, specializes in real estate and business, contract review and negotiation, and simple estate planning. She is also a licensed real estate broker.

“I like being able to help my clients understand and navigate situations that are confusing and/or intimidating for them,” says Allen.

Community service was another natural path for Allen, who graduated from Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law.

“Both of my parents saw value in being active and serving in the community in which we lived, and I naturally followed suit when I came back to Rochester Hills to start my law practice,” says Allen, who remembers her mother joining the Junior Women’s Club and taking her and her sister along to help when they were young. 

Her father retired from Oakland County in 1982 after 25 years of service. He was the corporation counsel at the time of his retirement.

Today, Allen’s nonprofit involvement includes the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, where she is a current member, past board chair and past board member, and the Rochester Rotary Club, where she is a current member, past board member and past president.

She has also helped some local nonprofit organizations as an attorney at reduced fees or no cost.

Allen was recently awarded the Sunrise Pinnacle Business Woman of the Year Award by the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“It is great to be recognized for your accomplishments, but especially so by your peers,” she says.

Sheri Heiney, executive director for the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, says she is amazed at how many things Allen is involved in and her willingness to give.

“She just is so thoughtful,” Heiney says. “If she gets involved in a project, she puts all her efforts toward it. She literally puts other people first. She’s one of a kind.”  

The attorney with a giving spirit sees more people coming together during these challenging times. In fact, she says the Rochester Area Neighborhood House hosted a forum a couple of years ago and invited business people, nonprofit organizations and residents to come together to discuss the changing needs in the community. 
“We found out former donors were now among those seeking help,” Allen says.

Several participants who were unemployed said they would be happy to donate their time and skills to people in the community who would benefit. The Community House began hosting a Community Kitchen dinner one night a month and participants also receive groceries. Each month a different charity hosts the dinner.

When she’s not helping others, Allen, who is single with no children, loves spending time with family and friends. She has two poodles, two cats, three nieces and a nephew. She also is four credits away from graduating with an LLM in intellectual property from Cooley Law School.

“I have no agenda for the degree, so I have been able to enjoy the education for knowledge’s sake,” she says.

In the end, it’s her positive outlook that helps her go above and beyond.

“I think listening to the news can give you a jaded and cynical sense of the world, that it isn’t a very nice place,” Allen says. “We need to remember to break things down into bite-size pieces and do what we can do to make a difference locally. Through Rotary, I have learned that one person, one idea can make a difference.”