Young gun (Best under 40)

Derek J. Allen Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard LLP, Greensboro

You can find me on the patio behind The Green Bean coffee shop. The nature of my practice requires me to “be on” nearly 24-7. Often the lines between my work, civic and social lives become blurred in nonstop activity. But I always make time to stop by The Green Bean in the morning and enjoy planning my day on the back patio. I usually catch up on some e-mails, do a little dictation and make a few phone calls. I even take my daughter there on Saturday mornings.

Vita: Born June 3, 1971, in Greensboro; bachelor’s from UNC Asheville and law degree from UNC Chapel Hill; wife and daughter. Specialty: Land-use law. Why he chose this field: I am challenged by the prospect of working out solutions to problems in a scenario where I can use legal knowledge, practical experience, creativity and diplomacy. What he’d be if not a lawyer: I’d like to own a vintage-record store and be a stay-at-home dad. Memorable case: I’ll never forget the first zoning case I had with significant neighbor opposition. More than 300 opponents attended the rezoning hearing. Several years later, the leader of the neighborhood opposition group called to tell me that the project was everything we had told them it would be and was the best thing that could have happened to the neighborhood. Hero: Ira Allen, my grandfather. As a young man, he sold sewing machines door-to-door to finance the purchase of his first service station. Favorite book: I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books. Don’t ask him to: Ever give up.