Allan Head: Leader, Mentor, Advocate, Friend

The Paralegal Division, the NCBA, and the world lost a great man on February 17, 2018 with the passing of former, longtime NCBA Executive Director Allan Head. Allan was a staunch supporter of paralegals and the driving force behind the creation of the Legal Assistants Division, now the Paralegal Division.  Allan worked closely with past Paralegal Division Chairs until his retirement in 2016. He motivated us, believed in us and even pushed us to move outside our comfort zones.  He made us better leaders and people.  To highlight and pay a small tribute to the mark he left on the Paralegal Division, our past Division Chairs share their memories of Allan.

Sheri Wall, ACP, NCCP (Original Chair 1998-1999) With his trademark smile, Allan Head was there with open arms welcoming the new kid on the block, the Paralegal Division (then the Legal Assistants Division), to the NCBA family in the spring of 1998.  We were excited and anxious to learn the ropes of the NCBA for we had a lot to prove.  Allan was instrumental in making sure we felt welcomed, that we had a voice and that we had all of the necessary tools to be successful.  We were now a part of the NCBA family, and we were on Allan’s team.   I will always be grateful for Allan’s guidance, encouragement and support.  We have lost a wonderful man who gave us so much.

Rick Reich, NCCP (Chair 1999-2000) When I received the November 2016 edition of North Carolina Lawyer, on its cover was the smiling face of NCBA Executive Director, Allan Head, who was retiring after 43 years of outstanding service. With his recent passing, I again pause to reflect upon Allan and how during 1998-2000 he offered encouragement to all of us on the council of the new NCBA Paralegal Division (formerly Legal Assistants Division).  During our division’s critical formative years, it had no stronger champion of support than Allan Head. I especially appreciated his sage guidance during my terms as the division’s first vice-chair (1998-1999) and its second chair (1999-2000).  Allan Head’s support for our division never faltered.  I join the growing chorus of so many others to acknowledge Allan Head for his sincere dedication and exceptional service to the NCBA, and in particular to the NCBA Paralegal Division.  Godspeed, Allan.

Grace Ward, NCCP (Chair 2001-2002) Allan Head was the golden piece of the Paralegal Division’s puzzle. In the division’s initial years, we would not have been complete without him.  Allan Head was our cheerleader and our captain; he brought us into the NCBA to be part of the team.  He supported the council’s desire to increase the number of members to attend the Bar Foundation’s excellent CLEs and helped us meet that goal.  Not only did Allan contribute to the paralegal profession and our division, he valued his personal life.  He talked about Patti, his children, and grandchildren with energy and excitement.  He demonstrated to me that it is possible to balance a professional life and personal life.

Sharon Robertson, ACP, NCCP (Chair 2002-2003) Allan Head’s support and guidance was instrumental in the creation of the Paralegal Division, and his tremendous support for paralegals never wavered.  Beginning in the late 1980s, Allan offered his advice and tirelessly worked with the leadership of the North Carolina Paralegal Association after we first submitted our first request for creation of a paralegal division, and continued his support until the Legal Assistants Division (now Paralegal Division) was approved by the NCBA Board of Governors in 1997.  Allan continued to encourage me and many other paralegals to branch out and become more involved in NCBA committees to make sure our “paralegal voice” was heard and considered.  Allan was always encouraging everyone to look at the broader picture to make sure our decisions were not only for the good of the Association, but also for the good of our society, our communities and our legal profession. I will always remember and cherish Allan’s smile, encouraging words, and advice.

Katie McVeety, CP, NCCP (Chair 2005-2006) Allan had the great gifts of a warm and magnetic personality combined with fierce intelligence, kindness and sense of purpose. He used all these gifts for the good of his profession and his community. He made everyone he worked with better – and then applauded and supported their success. I will miss him.

Bill Everhart, ACP (Chair 2006-2007) Allan was one of those individuals you never forget. His encouragement and guidance prompted me to volunteer and participate actively in the Paralegal Division. He always seemed to have a positive word and sage advice. A lot of my committee involvement was the direct result of Allan’s suggestion to get involved. He will be missed as will his cheerful attitude.

Stephanie Crosby, NCCP (Chair 2007-2008) Allan was always a big supporter of the Paralegal Division.  From its inception until his retirement, we could always count on his guidance and support.  When I served as the chair of the Paralegal Division from 2007-2008, I really felt like he was my personal cheerleader.  He encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and was always there for me when I did.  He regularly told me that he was proud of the work that the Paralegal Division was doing.  When I was named as Chair of the 4ALL Statewide Service Day and was the first paralegal to chair a committee at the NCBA/NCBF, he called me himself to tell me how excited he was for me and how proud he was that I was getting this opportunity.  He was very special to me.

Teri Bowling, ACP, NCCP (Chair 2008-2009) Allan was a stalwart supporter of the Paralegal Division who worked tirelessly to further integrate us into the Bar Association.  When I served as chair of the Paralegal Division (2008-2009), Allan was a frequent attendee at our council meetings, always bringing greetings to and accolades for the division from the Board of Governors and other NCBA sections and divisions.  While his support of the Paralegal Division and its mission was unwavering, it was his support of volunteer leaders on a personal basis that had the greatest impact on me. He checked in frequently, always asking what he could do – what the staff could do – to better support us and give us the tools we needed to succeed.  It seemed that his greatest professional joy was found in nurturing others, helping them to grow professionally and personally, and encouraging them to succeed with confidence. We are all better for having known Allan – better legal professionals and, more important, better people.

Phyllis Hines, CP, NCCP, NCCA (Chair 2009-2010) What a good man! Blessings and prayers were bestowed upon so many lives fortunate enough which crossed his path.

Yolanda Smith, NCCP (Chair 2011-2012) Allan had a warm, generous spirit. When I was chair of the division, Allan always made me feel welcomed and included at the Board of Governors meetings.  I will always be thankful for that.

For more on Allan and his life, see the tribute on the NCBA website