California Law Business Magazine| Magazine supplement of The Daily Journal, March 6, 2000, page 4

Firm Watch

Ken Allen Video Productions Studio
Townsend and Townsend and Crew
Live from a Palo Alto Home, It’s
‘Ken Allen Presents’
Ken Allen, a partner at Townsend and Townsend and Crew in Palo Alto, is both a night owl and an early riser.  He has to be to keep up with his law practice, his cable television show, his writing and his kids, foster children and live-in exchange students.
     A home-grown Townsend patent lawyer specializing in the telecommunications industry, Allen is also the producer of “Ken Allen Presents,” a public access cable television show that he’s had since 1991.  Allen provides viewers with what he calls an “eclectic range of shows.” For example, he broadcasts local sporting events, such as high school basketball and football games, and theater and musical productions, such as a glass harmonica performance.  His show airs at 8  p.m. on Saturday nights on Palo Alto’s local channel 6.
     A telecom buff who also has a ham radio license, Allen sometimes spends up to 20 hours a week preparing for the show.  He has a full range of editing equipment set up in his home.
     The show, Allen says, is “enhancing [the station’s] focus of allowing average citizens put quality performances on cable…  It’s ‘long-attention-span TV.’”
     A 1975 graduate of Northeastern University Law School, Allen also spends a significant amount of his time writing.  His essays and stories, which he publishes on a person Web site, are the result of 30 years of researching his family’s history, which dates from the 9th century and includes a great-grandfather who served under General Custer.  Also an avid photographer, Allen adds vintage photos to accent his stories.
     “It takes intense effort,” he says about his writing projects.
     Allen and his wife have four kids ranging in age from 24 to 14.  They have also been foster parents to three children and have hosted a slew of exchange students and foreign graduate students attending neighboring Stanford University.
     For Allen, who is Mormon, being a surrogate parent is really a “recognition that we have something to offer that we need to share with others.  It’s hard to describe in other than a spiritual basis,” he says.
     Believe it our not, Allen, who has a master’s in electrical engineering, also has time to practice patent law and serve as head of Townsend’s partner nomination process.  Among his clients are Metricom, Photon Dynamics and SRI International.
     To fit all these activities in – and others such as rebuilding a 1968 Porsche from the ground up and participating in a church production of “Bye, Bye Birdie” – Allen often goes to sleep in the middle of the night and is then up again at the crack of dawn.
     “The legal profession could absorb my life,” Allen explains. “I’m over 50 now, and I want to do things that could be a little more lasting.”
-- Leslie A. Gordon