Allison Mendel, founding partner of Mendel Colbert & Associates, Inc. has lived in Alaska since 1982. She earned her law degree from U.C. Davis King Hall School of Law in 1980, where she received the Order of the Coif. In the summer of 1979, while still in law school, she clerked for the Alaska Supreme Court. Following graduation, from 1980-82, she clerked for Judge Betty Binns Fletcher of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
On returning to Alaska, Allison worked for Jermain, Dunnagan & Owens and for Alaska Legal Services before founding her own practice in 1987. Since then, she has been in private practice concentrating in the areas of family law, civil rights, and appellate matters in both state and federal courts. Allison's wide-ranging appellate practice has resulted in numerous reported decisions in the Alaska Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit.
Allison has been at the forefront of litigating issues relating to the legal rights of same-sex partners and their children. She spearheaded the campaign against the DOMA amendment in Alaska, was head of the legal team on the case which led to State of Alaska employees being able to receive benefits for same-sex partners, and was one of the legal team who secured same-sex marriage rights for Alaskans.
Allison was also instrumental in launching the Alaska Association of Collaborative Professionals, introducing the practice of collaborative family law to Alaska. This work reflects her commitment to preserving the dignity of all families in the dispute resolution process. Her practice now consists about equally of collaborative and litigation cases. In recognition of her work on behalf of families, Allison was named a “Super Lawyer” in the area of family law in Alaska in 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Allison is also committed to promoting excellence and ethical conduct in the legal profession. She has served two terms on the Alaska Bar Board of Governors, including one term as Vice President, and has also served on the Committee of Bar Examiners, Fee Arbitration, and the Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection Committee. She was formerly co-chair of the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association (now the National LGBT Bar Association), an organization of which she has been a member for twenty years.
Currently, Allison is a member of the National Center for Lesbian Rights National Family Law Advisory Council. She is also a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and its Family Law section, and is a Fellow of the ABA. She has presented numerous Continuing Legal Education programs to the American Bar Association Family Law Section, the Alaska Bar, and the National Lesbian and Gay Bar, as well as for commercial CLE firms. She is frequently invited to speak to professional and community groups on different areas of her practice.
Allison has four children and five grandchildren. She spends her free time traveling, gardening, biking, and camping.