When Results Matter, Experience Counts

         Senator Robert F. Kennedy famously called Politics “An Honorable Profession”                                                                       Pay It Forward:

“An honorable profession calls forth the chance for responsibility and the opportunity for achievement; against these measures politics is a truly exciting adventure.”

Robert F. Kennedy

Noel Allen and Jack Pinnix first met and became friends when they served as delegates to North Carolina State Student Legislature during SSL’s Glory Days. Both were already deeply involved in politics on their respective campuses and in the world beyond. Not surprisingly the law firm that they formed a decade later attracted like-minded, civic-oriented attorneys who staunchly believe in our system of laws and equally fervently believe that our system can be made better.

For the sake of their profession and clients Allen & Pinnix attorneys have always strategically engaged in the public arena. This is nowhere more so than in the immigration arena. Realizing that there are no quick fixes for our broken immigration system our immigration attorneys Jack Pinnix and Lynn Calder’s commitment to meaningful reform that will serve our country and their clients is lifelong and total.

Civic engagement is more than passing legislation, it is laboring to secure equitable regulations, advocating for clients before governmental agencies and adjudicators, and shaping public opinion. Our attorneys (some before, some during and some after being with the firm) have served in the legislature, on the Wake County Commission and state boards, as a Wake County Chief Resident Superior Court Judge, run for the Council of State, served as aides to Members of Congress and as campaign managers, coordinators, and advisors for successful- and sometimes unsuccessful- federal, state, and local races. They include a former member of Congress and a President of the American Bar Association.

Three Allen & Pinnix partners were among the eight lawyers who founded what became the Carolinas Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. One, Noel Allen was first Chapter Chair; another Jack Pinnix served two, non-consecutive terms as Chapter Chair and eventually became the first member of the Chapter to serve as national president of AILA. Two other firm members served as Chapter Chair, one- Lynn Calder- continues to this day to play major roles on the national level in AILA. Today the Chapter has over 450 members in the two Carolinas.

When Allen & Pinnix committed to making immigration law a focus of its practice Jack Pinnix became not only the point person but took the gamble of limiting his then varied practice to immigration and naturalization issues; although over the years the firm has morphed more than once, it continues to host the oldest continuing immigration practice in North Carolina.

Jack was a member of the Founding Board and a former Trustee and Vice Chair of the American Immigration Law Foundation-“AILF” (now the American Immigration Council-“AIC”). Today, Lynn, a long time AILF/AIC Trustee continues to serve as an AIC Ambassador. Both Lynn and Jack are Trustees Emeritus.

Before his presidency Jack was tapped to help lead AILA’s first volunteer grassroots advocacy efforts- knowing she’d be an invaluable asset his very first act was to conscript his law partner, Lynn Calder. For years Jack Chaired or Co-chaired AILA’s Congressional Network and Grassroots Committee (and its predecessor Business, Industry and Labor Membership Network Committee); the success of these volunteer efforts were the foundation for establishing AILA’s highly regarded professionally staffed Advocacy Action Center. Since its inception in the 1990s Jack and Lynn have traveled to Washington, D.C. to attend virtually every AILA “National Day of Action” (formerly “Lobby Day”) to meet with Congressional delegations on Capitol Hill.

As president Jack spearhead an effort to form an AILA political PAC. The effort failed by just two votes and sowed the seeds for the formulation of “Immigrants List”, a PAC led by leading immigration attorneys albeit organized outside of AILA’s umbrella. Over the years Allen & Pinnix attorneys have proudly contribute time and money to “Immigrants List.”

Jack Pinnix is one of the very few modern attorneys who has successfully shepherded private immigration bills through Congress.

Jack Pinnix is one of the ten AILA members of “The Founders Society of the American Immigration Law Center”; a commemorative plaque at the Center noted “Their generosity and vision have made the American Immigration Center a reality.” Specifically, the Society members made possible the purchase of AILA’s first brick and mortar home located in Washington, D.C.

Jack Pinnix was the second attorney to receive AILA’s– then recently created –prestigious “Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award”. Named after Jack’s friend and longtime AILA Deputy Director, the “Susan D. Quarles AILA Service Excellence Award” is awarded “periodically in recognition of outstanding volunteer services by an AILA member, over a period of several years, in advancing the mission, development, and value of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for its members and the public it serves.”

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro awarded Jack its Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

In 2015 Jack Pinnix received AILA’s President’s Commendation to recognize him for exemplary service to the President and to AILA; in 2022 and 2023 Lynn Calder received President’s Commendation(s) to recognize her for exemplary service to the President and to AILA. Lynn’s recognition was for her tireless assistance to Afghan Refugees and her leadership in AILA’s wellness initiatives for its members.

Thus far missing just one meeting, Jack has served for over 30 years on the AILA national Board of Governors.

Lynn and Jack are frequent panelists, speakers, and authors on a myriad of immigration related topics.