Allison Dunham has been handling family court cases for over 20 years. A former chairman of the Governor’s Youth Council, Allison has developed a keen understanding of what it takes to not only be effective in family court, but to make her clients’ lives tolerable as they go through the legal process.
“It’s highly emotional and people not only need a lawyer to tell them what the law is, sometimes they just need someone to hear their story and sometimes they need some common-sense advice on day-to-day decisions that they might not otherwise have a problem with because they’re emotionally compromised,” says Allison. “They need a lot of help. It’s a high-maintenance area of law.”
After receiving her J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995, she practiced briefly in a small law firm before joining the Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office, where she was a prosecutor. As a prosecutor, one of her goals was to rehabilitate youthful wrongdoers. She was a member of the Governor’s Youth Council in an effort to bring together a variety of community resources to build a coalition that sought to break the cycle of crime.
After four years, she joined the Department of Social Services as a lawyer focusing on protection of children from parents and guardians. She became the managing attorney of the agency’s legal department and in 2006 she went into private practice with Harrison White.
Dunham describes her practice as one that encompasses almost the full range of family law: divorce, custody and custody modification, child support and child-support modification, and division of assets. In addition, she handles DSS actions in Family Court.
While the cases can be emotionally draining for everyone, Dunham is committed to family law because she believes it serves a crucial role in society.
“It’s one of the most important areas of law, in my opinion, because usually you’re talking about people’s children or their money or both – and there’s not much that’s more stressful to people than those two topics,” she says. “You’re seeing people at the worst times of their lives and they need a lot of compassion, patience, and understanding, so it’s a challenge. But what I like about it is that you can really help people.”
Dunham sees a big part of her job as simply providing emotional support for clients going through challenging times.
“They need to be told there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that they’ll get through it,” she says. “They need to know it will be ok and that life will return to normal, but it will take time.”
In her limited spare time, Dunham enjoys relaxing with her family, camping, fishing, and reading.
Why did you become an attorney?
I wanted to prosecute cases, which is where I started in my career. I know as a lawyer I can help people and make a meaningful difference in their lives.
What do you like the most about the law?
The cases that appeal to me most are when there’s not an equal playing field; when I’m representing the underdog to level the playing field and get them help and justice. Unfortunately, people are often harmed, abused or taken advantage of in some way, and the courtroom is the great equalizer. My job is a tremendous responsibility and a tremendous opportunity, and I love it.
Of all the firms in the Carolinas, why should someone come to Harrison White?
They should come to us because we have a wealth of experience in each area of practice. We are a results-oriented firm and we are litigators, so taking a case to trial is what we do and what we enjoy.
What do people not know about you?
I love fishing and camping. I also love minor league baseball! I love to watch the game and cheer on my team.
South Carolina, 1995
Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina – B.A.
University of South Carolina School of Law, Columbia, South Carolina – J.D.
Past Employment Positions
Thirteenth Circuit Solicitor Office, Career Criminal Prosecutor, 1996 – 2000
South Carolina Dept. Social Services, Attorney and Managing Attorney, 2000 – 2006
Greenville County Bar, 1996 – Present – Member
South Carolina Family Law Section Council, July 2017 – July 2020
Governor’s Youth Council – Former Chairman
Spartanburg County Bar Association
South Carolina Association for Justice
American Association for Justice
Martindale Hubbell – AV® Rated
South Carolina Bar
Kappa Alpha Theta
Areas of Practice