As part of its next five-year strategic plan, New York stalwart Stroock & Stroock & Lavan has hired its first-ever chief operating officer, Ralph Allen, who will join the firm on October 1.

Allen started working at his first law firm while he was still in high school in 1984. For close to four decades now, Allen has risen through the ranks to hold senior management positions at Howrey, Squire Patton Boggs and currently at Los Angeles-based Allen Matkins.