Jason Todd Allen ’06
Shareholder, Bass Sox Mercer, Attorneys at Law
Jason Allen grew up in Citrus County, Florida, and received his undergraduate degree from Florida State University. While in college, Jason was a member of the Florida State golf team and was on the Dean’s List. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Mercer University School of Law in 2006. In law school, Jason was a member of moot court, advancing to the semifinals of the Gabrielli National Moot Court Competition in Albany, New York. He graduated cum laude and was named a member of the Order of Barristers.
Jason returned to Tallahassee upon graduating from law school and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 2006. Jason served as a staff attorney for former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio throughout his tenure as speaker, working on a variety of legal issues including constitutional questions.
After leaving the House, Jason worked as a clerk for Florida Supreme Court Justice Ricky Polston. Following his clerkship, Jason joined Bass Sox Mercer in 2009 and has focused his practice on the representation of franchised automobile dealers. In his practice, he has handled cases in administrative, state and federal courts, and has handled several cases involving constitutional challenges to state statutes. Jason has argued before the Second and Eighth Circuit Courts of Appeal.
While he is away from the office, Jason enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, specifically inshore saltwater fishing, hunting, and he is an avid sports fan.
He was appointed to the Florida Elections Commission by Florida Gov. Rick Scott for the term starting on Aug. 24, 2018, and ending on Dec. 31, 2020. Jason is currently a shareholder at Bass Sox Mercer in Tallahassee.
Jason married Amanda Allen, a law school classmate.
Below, Jason answers a few questions about his career path and what advice he would give prospective and current students.
Tell us about your law practice.
I represent automobile dealers primarily in disputes with automobile manufacturers, such as GM, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, etc. Those disputes typically involve an allegation by the manufacturer that the dealer has not upheld its end of the bargain in some way, whether it be not selling enough vehicles, not processing warranty claims correctly, or not having a state-of-the-art facility. At the end of the day, I am representing the small businessman in its efforts to protect its investment from an attack by a much larger corporate entity.
How did you become a “dealer’s lawyer?” Is franchise and distribution law something you have always thought of doing?
The short answer is I needed to find a job after my clerkship concluded, and the firm was hiring. This was in a time (2009) in which the legal job market was tight. The longer answer is that I worked on some automotive issues during my time as an attorney in the Florida House, and the time I joined the firm coincided with GM and Chrysler’s bankruptcy. So, the automotive market (and automotive dealership’s futures) were in great flux, and a ton of novel legal issues were cropping up.
The particular area is not something that I had considered before, although I had some experience with the subject matter. That said, I am extremely grateful to have landed in an area where I get to represent folks that are true entrepreneurs that embody the American dream and, at the same time, work on complex legal issues.
Tell us about your experience in the state House.
I was very fortunate to work for then Speaker Marco Rubio during his term as Speaker of the Florida House. It was a wonderful experience, and I learned a lot. I was exposed to lots of different policy issues and the interplay between the policy and legal worlds.
What is the biggest lesson you learned from your experience as a staff attorney for the Speaker of the House?
Always be prepared. You never knew who may stop by and/or when you’d be needed to address a particular issue with a bill.
What would you say were some of the biggest challenges that you faced while working for the Speaker?
The volume of information and the hours. The legislative session is only 60 days, but throw in committee weeks and special sessions and it was virtually a year-round legislative cycle. At that time, the state was dealing with a rash of hurricane-related issues, including property insurance and property taxes, in addition to all of the “normal” policy matters. So, having a working understanding of those issues was a daunting task.
What skills or values did you learn from Mercer Law that helped you prepare for this important role and throughout your career?
Work hard, be prepared, and speak clearly. People do not have time to listen to a 20-minute explanation of every legal issue. Give them the simple (as simple as possible) summary conclusion, and if they want you to elaborate they will ask.
Did you have a role model in the areas you have practiced? Why? What qualities do they have that our students need to have or learn?
I’ve been blessed to work in settings in which I’ve been able to observe very talented individuals at each stop. The two biggest things that I’ve seen in the folks that I’ve considered the most successful is 1) hard work, and 2) be a problem solver. The latter can be particularly difficult for a lawyer as we are trained to issue spot and highlight areas of concern. But, I’ve found that you can do that but in a way that still brings a solution to the table.
Where do you envision yourself in five or 10 years?
That’s a great question. I don’t know what else I would do long-term other than practice law, but regardless, it will include time for family and outdoor activities.
Looking back, what are some of your best memories or experiences from Mercer Law (friends made, favorite classes, favorite professors)?
My best memories generally are how comfortable Mercer felt, while being very challenging. I particularly enjoyed participating in moot court as that was something that I felt challenged me and really helped me grow. I played sports my entire life and going into oral argument (or moot court practice or competition) was as close to participating in a live sporting event as it gets.
You met your wife at the law school. Would you like to share your #mercerlawlovestory of how you met and how you fell in love?
We met first year, started dating and the rest is history. We both went to FSU for undergrad, but didn’t know each other. When we met at Mercer, we quickly realized we had similar backgrounds and hit it off.
What piece of advice would you give current Mercer Law students?
Take advantage of Mercer and the opportunities available. Work hard, tap into resources the school provides, but don’t obsess about the first job or clerkship. The practice of law is a long road, and Mercer prepares you very well. As long as you are taking advantage of that, you will be successful.
Is there any advice you would give to a recent law school graduate? Or someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Recognize that the practice of law is demanding, and treat it with respect. But, try to see the difficulties as opportunities, and try to learn as much as you can in whatever spot you find yourself early on even if it’s not an area you see yourself in the long run. I was particularly drawn to the constitutional issues while I worked in the House, and I did my best to insert myself on them. I then got to work on similar issues when I clerked, and in private practice, I’ve been able to use that fairly extensively, even though I had no clue I’d be representing automobile dealers back when I was an attorney in the House.