Making It Legal

Alumna fulfills childhood dream

If there is one question attorney Allison Oasis Kahn (’98) has heard over and over again, it is this: Is there a special significance to the name “Oasis?” Her answer is not what you might think. “My grandfather arrived at Ellis Island as Harry Osais,” she says, “and disembarked as Harry Oasis.”

When she was growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, family and friends probably knew Kahn was destined for a legal career. She was just 8 years old when she discovered her interest in the law. “When I was that age, we had approximately five television channels,” she said. “I watched courtroom dramas presided over by pseudo-judges and was absolutely riveted.”

At Georgia Southern University, Kahn majored in English, was active in her sorority Zeta Tau Alpha and involved in the Student Government Association and the Model United Nations. American Literature, Poetry Writing and Art Appreciation were among her favorite classes. “Liberal arts education focuses on reading, writing and critical thinking,” she explained in an email. “Lawyers need all those components to be effective.”

Alumna Makes Good as Attorney
After graduating from law school, Kahn clerked for an appellate judge where she got a “crash course on how courts work behind the scenes.” Today, she is a member of The Florida Bar, an Attorney Member of the Florida Bar Grievance Committee, an expert in employment and labor law, and a shareholder at Carlton Fields in West Palm Beach, Florida. Her job, she says, is challenging and rewarding. “I love taking depositions, analyzing the law, writing briefs, and arguing in court. I have made meaningful friendships with other lawyers in my firm and in the community too. It’s a nice perk that I learn something new every day.”

In her practice, she defends employers in discrimination, retaliation and wage and hour matters in state and federal court. “One day, I may be negotiating with the U.S. Department of Labor over an interpretation of a regulation, and the next day, I may be counseling an employer on rights or responsibilities in the employment relationship,” Kahn explains.

The expert in labor law understands what it means for companies that offer internships, and for students who want to connect what they learn in the classroom with real world experience. “There are many employers who have internship programs to be good corporate citizens,” she says. “They want to train and educate students. … The best internships give training and constructive feedback in the intern’s area of study, which is an enormous benefit to the student’s education. Employers, can and sometimes do, get some benefit from the unpaid work performed by interns, but the primary benefit should go to the student.”

Finding Balance
The Georgia Southern alumna with a demanding career is also a devoted wife and mother of three who has figured out how to prioritize work and family. “Coffee, technology and family support are all essentials,” she says. Her hobbies are limited to what she considers “exciting things like walking the aisles of the grocery store all by myself.” In her downtime she loves “to bike ride with my kids, have date night with my husband, hang out with friends and family or even see a movie before it’s digitally released.” — Sandra Bennett