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Allen begins year 42 as Brookhaven school board attorney

Three things stood out Tuesday night as the Brookhaven School District’s Board of Trustees discussed keeping its legal counsel in place for another year — loyalty, longevity and a long run to the end zone over 50 years ago.

Trustees voted 5-0 to rehire board attorney Bob Allen for the 2019-2020 school year.

“We get you for another year,” said board President Lucy Shell.

Allen just finished his fourth decade as the trustees’ go-to guy on legal issues.

“Thank you for your service,” said board member Erin Smith. “Sometimes I look to Mr. Allen not just for legal matters, but he’s also our historian. He’s been our historian for 41 years.”

But Allen’s involvement with the Brookhaven School District began even before the board first hired him in 1978.

Allen, 72, graduated from Brookhaven High School before studying law at Ole Miss. After working as a prosecuting attorney in Hinds County and serving as a law clerk for Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Neville Patterson, Allen returned to Brookhaven in 1973 to practice law with his father, Emmette, who was serving as the school board attorney.

“My dad got back from World War II in ’45 and started being an attorney in ’46, from then ’til ’78, so you’ve had an Allen here for a while,” he said.

Shell recalled a story she heard Tuesday before the meeting involving Allen’s legendary 92-yard punt return against Moss Point his senior year.

“We were sitting next to Moss Point people and that’s the only thing I can remember about it,” he said.

Smith believes Allen bleeds Panther blue and red. He and his wife, the former Patricia Black, are Brookhaven graduates and so is their daughter, Julie Ann Foncea, and their son, William Robert Allen.

The younger Allen practices law with his father at the law firm Allen, Allen, Breeland and Allen in Brookhaven.

Bob and Patricia Allens’ grandchildren are students in Brookhaven schools.

“When that happens, when you see that, you see that you are invested in our community and our schools, an I appreciate that,” Smith told the attorney.

Allen is the current president of the School Board Attorneys Association and is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association, the Lincoln County Bar Association and the Federal Bar Association. He is a Fellow in the Mississippi Bar Foundation and has served multiple terms as a bar commissioner with the Mississippi State Bar Association. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Mississippi School Board Association of Attorneys and the Mississippi County Board Attorneys.