J. Allen Harrington – Founding Partner

The Lawyers and Staff of Sanford Law Group (formerly Harrington, Gilleland, & Winstead, LLP) would like to share this special autobiographical feature of our late senior partner J. Allen Harrington.

“I was born in Moncure, North Carolina on November 10, 1914. I attended school in Brickhaven and later Moncure High School, graduating in 1931. I quickly landed a job at a brick plant making ten cents an hour. In those Depression years, I also worked construction, farm jobs, as a café counterman and waiter, industrial insurance salesman, and finally as a sales representative with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

The War

During World War II, I entered military service with the U.S. Army in September of 1942. I was selected as an officer candidate and graduated from OCS about six months later. As a first lieutenant, I sailed for England on the Queen Elizabeth in February 1944 with 15,000 other soldiers. Following the initial assault on Normandy by Allied forces, my unit (First Army) went ashore on Utah Beach on June 26, 1944. My unit was then assigned to Patton’s Third Army, and served throughout the battles in France, including the Battle of the Bulge. I was promoted from first lieutenant to captain, and I was in Regensburg, Germany at the time of Germany’s surrender to Allied forces.

I returned home on Christmas Eve, 1945. At age 31, I went to college, enrolling in Duke University’s summer school session in 1946. During my college years, I worked at Duke Hospital for money and meals. I graduated with a law degree in the spring of 1951 and entered the Federal Bureau of Investigation, becoming a special agent, serving in Seattle and Tacoma, Washington.

Coming to Sanford

Desiring to return to North Carolina, I resigned from the FBI and entered law practice in Sanford in 1953. I was an assistant district attorney for a total of about eight years. I was general counsel for and incorporated The Pantry convenience food stores and was general counsel or The Carolina Bank prior to its merger with BB&T. At various times in my legal career, I have partnered with George McDermott, Orton Cameron, Gerald Shaw, Jimmy Love, as well as my current partners, including Robert Gilleland, who has worked with me for the last 29 years.

I am proud that I have practiced law for over 50 years in an ethical and honest manner. It has given me a great deal of satisfaction over the years to be able to help various people that were being pushed around by someone in a more powerful position.”