Off-Court Assist
Clay Allen ’01 is general counsel for the NBA’s Houston Rockets
Friday, May 6, 2022

Clay Allen ’01 is a key player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association.

No, Allen, a native of Houston, does not fire in 3-pointers, pull down rebounds from the boards, or sink free throws from the charity stripe. However, he handles legal and compliance issues, drafts contracts, deals with risk management, and performs other transactions for the Rockets.

Since May 2021, Allen has been the Rockets and Toyota Center’s general counsel. He received the promotion after serving as associate general counsel since 2013.

“While my work is predominately behind the scenes,” Allen says, “what I do impacts our fans, corporate partners, players, and more. I strive to enhance the championship-caliber experiences that my co-workers deliver.”

Allen began working for the Rockets in 2001, shortly after earning a bachelor’s degree from Trinity in international studies and German. He was looking for a job and thought it would be fun to work for his hometown team. After answering an employment ad, Allen worked his way up from a part-time marketing associate and became the promotions manager in 2005, a position he held for nearly 2.5 years.

He realized marketing and promotions were not the career track he wanted to pursue and decided to attend law school. Allen went on to Baylor University School of Law and earned a J.D. in 2010, with a focus on business transactions.

The Locke Lord law firm in Houston was the next stop for Allen, from 2010-13, handling mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and capital-markets transactions.

After three years with the law firm, the lure of employment in the sports field began to rekindle.

“I decided to look for opportunities outside of the law firm,” Allen says. “Not long after I started that process, former colleagues at the Rockets reached out to tell me the associate general counsel had resigned. As soon as I heard, I called the CEO and asked if he would consider me for the position. A month or so later, the Rockets offered me an interview and eventually hired me as associate general counsel.

“As a lifelong Houstonian and Rockets fan,” Allen continues, “it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to contribute to the success of the team. At the end of the day, I get to walk downstairs from my office and watch a Rockets home game.”

A cum laude graduate of Trinity, Allen participated in many activities on campus. He was a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society, the Golden Key National Honor Society, and Sigma Iota Rho (international studies honor society). Allen also participated in many activities of the Trinity University Volunteer Action Community (TUVAC).

On the fun side, Allen was active in Hallympics and intramurals. He lived next to the sand volleyball courts in Prassel Residence Hall and played several nights per week. As a matter of fact, his team won the intramurals championship!

The study of German was important to Allen during his time at Trinity. Allen was selected as the Most Outstanding German Major, and received a President’s Scholarship. He took nearly every class offered from modern languages and literatures professor Heather Sullivan, who later wrote a letter of recommendation for admission to law school.

Allen spent his junior year at the University of Freiburg in Germany. Not only did Allen become proficient in German, he also had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and make friends all over the world.

“Learning to speak German taught me different ways to communicate,” Allen says. “Using those skills, along with the creativity and the breadth of knowledge I acquired living in another country, have helped me in my life and career.”

Allen imparted some advice for Trinity students, who may not have decided on future careers or areas of study.

“I encourage students not to panic if they haven’t quite figured out what career they would like to pursue,” Allen says. “Continue to take classes that interest you and look into careers in those fields. If you have already mapped out your career path, seek out professionals who work in those fields that you enjoy, and begin to develop your network.”

Allen lives in Houston with his partner, attorney Jimmy Doan, whom he met 20 years ago. The founder of Doan Law Firm, Doan encouraged Allen to attend law school when he was looking for a career change.


Editor's Note: Clay Allen would enjoy hearing from Trinity alumni. He can be reached at


James Hill ’76, more famously known as Trinity's public address "Voice of the Tigers," retired in 2020 as Trinity’s assistant sports information director.

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