Sometimes people just do nice things. Such was the case with Leslie Ching Allen who, upon reading of my extended stay in Seattle, suggested that we meet while I was in the area. Having not known her while at Punahou, this was an opportunity to make a new friend! How happy I am that Leslie reached out to me for, as our meeting would prove, we are classmates for whom the passing years have sent us down many of the same roads.
After graduation, Leslie moved from Hawaii’s sunny clime to Seattle’s rainy environs to attend the University of Washington along with several of our classmates (Carrie Chang-Talwar, Harvey Lung, Warren Chaiko, Ralph Aona, and Terri Kageyama, to name a few). She must have liked what she found there because she remained at Washington for law school and remains in Seattle to this day.
As Leslie explained it, pursuing a law career was not what she had set out to accomplish. Upon entering college, she enrolled in art classes, following an interest that had been sparked at Punahou. She loved the atmosphere of the studio and took a special interest in ceramics: even taking a semester to attend a special program at The Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities (affiliated with Idaho State U) to hone her skills.
Real world considerations would intervene, however, causing Leslie to switch to an economics major that propelled her through the law school doors. That path would take her to a variety of life experiences including an internship with the Federal Trade Commission, clerking with a Hawaii law firm and a Washington State Court of Appeals judge, Seattle private practice work in commercial litigation and, for the last fifteen years, serving as a Disciplinary Counsel with the Washington State Bar Association. In this capacity she investigates, exonerates, prosecutes, and dismisses grievances that have been filed against attorneys licensed to practice in Washington state.
Leslie was drawn to her Bar Association post for the opportunity it provided to do good work while allowing her the freedom to “go to soccer games and swim meets.” Much of this flexibility was spent on family. Son Nicholas recently graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a major in computer science. Daughter Alexis is a high school sophomore. But don’t think that all of that soccer game time was spent sitting in the stands. Leslie only recently retired from chasing down some of those soccer balls herself in a variety of Seattle area soccer leagues.
Despite the detours or career, family and soccer, Leslie never forgot her artistic proclivities and has nurtured these yearnings through embroidery, needlepoint, and knitting. While visiting with her, just as a guy might admire a vintage car, I couldn’t help but “ooh” and “ah” over her sewing room and the amazing sewing “toys” within. (Bernina, of course, but better than mine!) What she produces with her hands and these machines are incredible and exhibit the creative force that lies just outside her otherwise left brained responsibilities.
Leslie returns to Hawaii frequently to keep in touch with friends and her many family members. She counts many of our Punahou contemporaries as cousins. If you would like to contact her, please email her at email@example.com or “friend” her via facebook.