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Description

Anne Andrews is a luminary in the world of mass torts. She has gone up against Vioxx, Perdue, and other major pharmaceutical companies. She is currently representing 10,000 clients in a bitter legal fight with the Boy Scouts of America over accusations of sexual assault by troop leaders.

Anne remains one of the few women to found her own prominent law firm. She has never stopped fighting to make the legal profession equitable for women — especially mothers. Over the years, her indomitable spirit and outspoken manner often put her at odds with establishment norms.

In this episode, Luke and Anne draw connections between her personal story and professional successes, from the gunshot that set her career in motion to making room for mothers in a heavily male-dominated profession. If we listen closely, Anne’s compassion for her clients and passion for the art of law will remind us just how much good lawyers can do in this world.

Transcription

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Anne Andrews:
The court’s not your friend. People think the courthouse is a popularity contest. I never saw it that way. I’m there for the right result for my client. I’m not there to win friends and influence people. The respect you’re supposed to have for the bench and the “Mother, may I”, and as women we’re like, “Oh, this judge, it’s his rules”, and all those feelings you have in the back of your head. No, I have a client out there and that person’s life is worth it. I just decided that I had nothing to lose.

Luke W Russell:
Welcome to Lawful Good, a show about lawyers and the trials they face inside and outside the courtroom. I’m your host, Luke W. Russell. Today I’m speaking with Anne Andrews. Anne is a successful mass tort lawyer. She’s been involved in a wide array of product liability cases against major pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma for their role in the opioid crisis. Currently she’s representing 10,000 clients against the Boy Scouts of America, which declared bankruptcy after mounting accusations of sexual abuse perpetrated by troop leaders. She’s a mother and equestrian and one of the few women to found a prominent law firm.

Luke W Russell:
You can probably already tell that Anne’s professional story has a lot to teach us. As I found out during the conversations you’re about to hear, her personal story reveals just as much, from the gunshot that set her legal career in motion to her equestrian upbringing that paved the way for her first mass tort. Over the course of the next hour, Anne will share with us about some of the challenges she’s faced.

Becoming a successful female lawyer, some ideas about how to balance the practice of law with truly living and why we should never fail to speak out for those in need.

Luke W Russell:
Anne, when was the very first time you knew that you wanted to become a lawyer?

Anne Andrews:
I knew I was going to be a lawyer the night my brother got shot. He was a junior in high school. I was a freshman in college, so 19-years old and he came flying into the house and he was white as a ghost and he had blood coming down his arm and he was screaming, “Dale’s been shot. Dale’s been shot.” He and his best friend who was the quarterback of this prominent football team, they were invited over to a girl’s house. This girl was well-known as inviting people over after the pizza party, after the big game to her house for some after-hours shenanigans.

Anne Andrews:
My brother and his friend walked down the side of the house, these are large California ranch houses so you walk down the side of the house to the back where the recreation room was where she said, the sliding glass door will be open for you guys to come in. And this was a common occurrence. Everyone knew this girl had after-hours parties and my brother, standing behind his friend, they pulled the curtain back and were greeted with a shotgun blast. Actually, it was a utility revolver. A gun fired from inside the house went through my brother’s best friend, Dale, and grazed his arm and created a flesh wound that he was bleeding from.

Anne Andrews:
I literally throw on a robe, I think we’re all in night gowns, and drive to the hospital where his best friend will have been taken. He said, “Dale’s going to die. Dale’s going to die.” He was shot through the abdomen. I get to the hospital and find the Los Angeles County Counsel there. Badges everywhere. Suits everywhere. It’s like 2:30 in the morning, and come to realize that Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and a bunch of lawyers were there talking to the family of this kid that’s probably going to die in surgery. These are good friends of the family so I interrupt the meeting to say I want to talk to Dale’s parents and they wouldn’t let me talk to them.

Anne Andrews:
I ended up shouting at these parents, I said, “Don’t listen to them. I know what happened. They did nothing wrong.” I’m screaming in the hospital. “Our boys, the boys did nothing wrong. They were invited there.” Come to find out that the man that shot them, and almost killed Dale, was a reserve Los Angeles sheriff who fired his revolver into two kids. Police officers, representatives of Orange County Sheriff and LA Sheriff were telling the family that they were going to charge their son whose about to die on the operating table with breaking and entering, a felony. They told the family if they signed a release, meaning a release of all civil claims against the Sheriff’s Department, they wouldn’t prosecute the boys for criminal trespass and breaking and entering, a felony for which they would go to prison.

Anne Andrews:
I watched that whole thing happen, screaming at the top of my lungs. I never let them talk to my brother. I think they weren’t really worried about my brother because he had a flesh wound so I pushed him off and said, “You’re not talking to anybody.” But the parents signed the document that night. And it changed, really, the way I thought about what happens in the real world. I was 19 years old.

Luke W Russell:
Where did all of this take place? What was your community like as a young person?

Anne Andrews:
I grew up in Fullerton, California, which is the north part of Orange County, it’s about five miles north of the Disney Land area, almost exactly. It’s a hilly part of the county that was in the early, all orange groves and ranching and then that part of the county was subdivided into acre parcels with a dedicated bridle trails through the whole community that preserved the ability for horses to go everywhere, underpasses. We commuted around the neighborhood on horses.

Luke W Russell:
Oh wow.

Anne Andrews:
You often knew who was at whose house by whose horse was tied to the mailbox. It was either a bike or a horse.

Luke W Russell:
Oh my goodness.

Anne Andrews:
Horses were like a primary mode of transportation as kids, galloping around.

Luke W Russell:
It sounds like it’s pulled out of a storybook.

Anne Andrews:
It kind of was.

Luke W Russell:
As you were preparing to graduate law school, did you know what you wanted to do within the field?

Anne Andrews:
I graduated in the middle of a recession and I went to a local law school where the owners of the law school took a great interest in me and my career because they were really pushing me to do big things. They were very connected people, the Reese’s, that owned this law school. Mrs. Reese took a real shine to me and she sat and asked me what I wanted to do. I had had a securities course I just loved so I said I think I would really like to interview with the Department of Securities, the SEC, the commission. And so she set up an interview and low and behold I was made an offer for a staff attorney. I had friends in DC at that time who were actually in the Carter administration so I was pretty damn excited. And were staying there even though it was a transitional year, Reagan had just come into office in November.

Anne Andrews:
I had the job for two months and I lost it. Reagan cut the Securities and Exchange Commission by 40%, cut the budget and by the time I graduated, was taking the Bar, the position was no more. I had nothing to do. I literally had no job overnight.

Luke W Russell:
That must have been so frustrating. I imagine that the opportunities in a relatively rural community didn’t quite match up with your ambition. What did you end up doing?

Anne Andrews:
I got a phone call from one of my girlfriends from college, another one who was in horse racing and said, hey, I can get you a job at the racetrack this summer. Why don’t you go on tour with me? The racetracks are seasonal. They move from town to town in the summer. I said, “How much will it pay?” She said, “Hey, we’ll have plenty of money. Our room and board is covered. You can share with me. We drive from track to track. You’ll have a blast. I’ll get you a job something on the backside, paid for by the racetrack.” Some sort of official. You had to be an official, a racing official. So I went on the road and I became the racetrack lawyer, literally. Every jockey, every altercation, every problem with the stewards. The stewards are the court at the racetrack, I became the lawyer.

Anne Andrews:
People bring me their problems and bring me their tragedies, their stories and I would help them. Bailing them out of jail if they got into a fight on Saturday night. I would go down and take care of it. The racetrack world is kind of like the carnival world, it’s a closed system, there are just people in it. It’s generational and they only trust insiders and they don’t know lawyers.

Luke W Russell:
How was it that you ended up going from handling disputes at the racetrack to mass tort lawyer?

Anne Andrews:
As it happened one day on a beautiful summer morning, we were all in Fresno, California where the racetrack goes, the meet goes. It moves around the state. And it was at the Fresno County Fair, I think it was July. There were all sorts of civic activities going on, the Kiwanis Club had a hot air balloon up and we could see it across the parking lots, and horses are worked out and trained in the morning on the track. The balloon started losing descent and failing and crashing and it came down onto the racetrack and the jets on a balloon are very frightening to horses, that sound, that roaring sound. As it crashed down into the racetrack, the horses just freak and panic and some of them are at a full gallop. There were horrible accidents. It bounced onto the track and then got some elevation and then crashed on top of the stable area, the barns. They destroyed over 20 horses.

Luke W Russell:
Oh my gosh.

Anne Andrews:
Horses are so fearful, they will die trying to get away from something they are that afraid of, fire and sounds like that. A dozen people were terribly injured by being run down by horses or thrown off horses.

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
That was my first mass tort. Every one of those people that was hurt that day hired me and I launched a very large, I think we had 40 plaintiff cases in Fresno County against the Kiwanis for their negligence in operating the hot air balloon Kiwanis breakfast that morning.

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
That was my first mass tort.

Luke W Russell:
It’s really interesting how your passion for horses, you would not have been a person that should have ever been in this place if you hadn’t had that interest growing up and cultivated that. And then that really opened up a door into a whole new world for you.

Anne Andrews:
I was not destined to go to Washington, DC, which I thought was every lawyer’s dream. I took another path. I might as well have been in a VW bus at the Grateful Dead, following a concert around the country, it was that time. Instead, I was following the racetrack community. If you have a passion for something and it’s a community, there’s a million ways to get business, but being compassionate and being available and having a personality that is open and engaging with people, and helping people solve problems. And you know the funny thing about being in business for yourself is, the more expansive your life is and the more things you embrace, the more interests you have, the more people you meet that need you.

Anne Andrews:
When I talk to young people about how to find business and how to build a reputation, I say you have to go where lawyers aren’t. We all go to these Bar Association meetings and we go to all the conventions and things, you’re not going to find any business there. That’s for networking people that have the business. You have to go and find a community where you can be the smartest person there that’s a lawyer. I belonged to a lot of organizations over my career, most of which were very rewarding because it was such great exposure.

Luke W Russell:
It seems like in addition to the challenges of finding work, you were also running into institutional sexism. I spoke with your long time friend, Senator Joe Dunn of California, and when I asked him about his first impression of you, he said that you were a young, female lawyer from a small firm in a heavily male-dominated world of mass torts demanding a seat at the leadership table. Things seem to be getting better, but even today I think it’s safe to say that there aren’t a lot of women who own a prominent law firm.

Anne Andrews:
Yeah, I think that’s a true statement. I think the thing that I’m proud of now at this stage in my career is that I founded the firm and I founded it early in my career and that it’s always been my firm. So some of the traditional challenges that women have with glass ceilings didn’t pertain to my own infrastructure in my firm, it pertained to the outer structure, if you will. 52% of all law school students are now women, but we don’t see 52% of our gender represented in any other place. We don’t see it on the bench, we don’t see it certainly in traditional law firms, partnerships, women and minorities.

Luke W Russell:
It sounds like you’re happy with your choice early on to build your own practice. Do you think that more women should consider starting their own firms?

Anne Andrews:
The power that you have by being your own boss and by having the ability to take the risk and make your practice your own, whether it’s a small practice and you’re just paying the rent and you’re enjoying a life that is comfortable, but it’s about you making decisions for yourself. I know a lot of women that have smaller general practices that make a very good living, but they don’t take on the challenges I take. They are very self-satisfied. There is something about creating your own destiny and deciding your own fate and being in charge of all that you desire and all that you aspire to, is something that women have to put on their differential, if you will.

Anne Andrews:
I think we always think that we have to work for someone. And I think what I’m fighting for is for women to walk into the legal field or any other field and say, “I’m going to work with you, not for you.” And just the change of one word in that sentence, if you are working with people and not for someone or for a firm, you are going to expand your mind to the opportunities on how to gain power inside even a large law firm.

Luke W Russell:
Senator Dunn also said that you always prioritize family. Can you spend time with your family while also being competitive in your field?

Anne Andrews:
Absolutely. Let’s talk first about having a family. When I was a young lawyer, women didn’t have children. If you wanted to be a successful female professional, there was a choice to be made and you were judged if you had a child and you were working professional. My daughter, when she was born, I was actually getting set for trial in a case up in Monterey, another case involving horses, by the way. See how the racetrack theme keeps coming up?

Luke W Russell:
Yeah.

Anne Andrews:
This was a case where a herd of horses died an unspeakable, horrible death in Salinas. When we investigated it, we met with the vet and we got these hideous phone calls from the owners of this ranch crying. When horses die and the way in which they die, the sound they make, and people losing their livestock in real time, these owners calling me and crying, grown, hardcore very tough cowboys calling me crying that the mares are dying and they are aborting their babies and what is going on, what’s happened. The vet raced out there and immediately found out that they had mis-delivered cattle feed to the horses. Cattle feed has a toxic seed in it called, cotton seed, and it has a chemical in it called, gossypol, which is highly toxic to horses. It would be like giving them arsenic.

Anne Andrews:
They mis-delivered the feed, a very large feed company and over the course of three feedings, all it took was an evening feed of the horses and this grain compiled for these mares and the babies, the livestock, and a morning feeding and by nightfall of the second day, they were dying. Just falling over dead. And horrible things happening to them, neurological things. I represented a guy that wasn’t very likable in Salinas, but the case was extremely provable. And about, I would say about eight months after my daughter was born, the depositions for that case had to be taken and it was going to be in Monterey. I loaded up the nanny, I loaded up the car with baby and baby supplies for a week. I set all the depositions for a hotel in Monterey for a week.

Anne Andrews:
I went on the record and I said, “I have a child here at the hotel for today’s proceedings and throughout the week I will be taking breaks to feed my daughter. And I plan on taking them at this time and this time and this time.”

Luke W Russell:
Yeah.

Anne Andrews:
“Thank you for your attention.” And I went on the record with this. Low and behold, they didn’t want to honor it.

Luke W Russell:
Oh wow.

Anne Andrews:
They refused. This witness has to go. He’s only here for this time. If you leave this room, you’re banning the deposition. There’s no order that allows you to leave. So, can you imagine what I did? I said, fine. I brought my daughter into the deposition room and fed her.

Luke W Russell:
Yeah.

Anne Andrews:
To the horror of all the men in the room.

Luke W Russell:
How dare you feed your child.

Anne Andrews:
Let the record reflect that I am feeding my child. I am breastfeeding my child because these men wouldn’t allow me the 20 minutes I needed to go down the hall.

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
I’m going to attend this deposition. That’s how it happened. My daughter was with me all the time, I raised her for the first two years in my office. Because I was my own boss, I had the luxury of being able to do that, not everyone can do that today. We have to change the way we allow women to raise children in the legal profession and other professions because like I always lecture, one of the most common questions I get asked at UCI Law School where I’ve been a mentor and have been on the board there, is by women who say, “How the heck am I going to have a baby and be a lawyer?”

Anne Andrews:
I said, “What you should be asking, your question is, what would let you get in the way of having a child if that’s what you want. Because if all the smart women in the world stop having children because the profession is not going to allow it or you’re going to somehow receive a detriment from it, what does that say about the next generation.” You’re essentially telling the world that you are not going to add to the gene pool of the smartest genes because you’re afraid some male-dominated world in law is going to tell you that you should achieve less. We have to change that.

Anne Andrews:
There are women who told me that I shouldn’t be on the PTO because I was a working mother. I went to a different school, enrolled at a different school, met a principal who was a highly educated, very gifted professional woman in the district. I went to that school and I formed the PTO. And sitting on a board, even in a law school, and screaming in my own most controlled way to a board of mostly men that they better figure out how to equal the playing field so women having children to become partners in these law firms that recruit from our school ought to be number one. It ought to be very, very high on the list of policy decisions, that we apply critical thinking to and skills to and communicate to the bar.

Luke W Russell:
How did your family respond to your ambitions in wanting to be a top-tier lawyer?

Anne Andrews:
My dad always told me that his aspiration for me, I think he knew without saying it, bless his heart, that I wasn’t going to really be in his view, really great marriage material. I was just really one of those women that was just going to tell you what I thought no matter whether you needed to know it or not. Where my sister was much more complacent and much more that kind of girl, I was the one that was inquisitive and bossy and always taking charge and shouting to be heard in a big family and demanding and getting my way. And I was very, very smart and very successful in academics and loved school.

Anne Andrews:
My dad told me that he was really going to be proud of me when he was able to position me for the best position a woman could ever have, you are going to be an executive secretary to the Vice President of Lord Daniel, which was a huge engineering corporation. Fancy offices, think executive suite where I had visited several times with my dad. I was going to be his best friend’s executive secretary. That’s what he told me I was going to do.

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
As I climb the ladder of success with a bunch of other kids in the family, he watched me achieve the status, my father was a huge, huge lover of education. He respected it like no one else, and once I was a lawyer, passed the Bar, he kind of did, “All right. Okay. You really are smart, you really did do this. I want you to come over and pick up all the family files, I have all these patent cases I want you to look into.” I immediately became the family lawyer. That was my dad.

Luke W Russell:
Anne, if you’re up for something a little less traditional, my daughter has a question she would like to ask you, if you don’t mind me bringing her over for this.

Anne Andrews:
Not at all.

Lilly:
My daddy tells me that it is important to stand up for myself. How can I learn to do that?

Anne Andrews:
I think that knowing to trust your instincts and standing up for yourself suggests that there’s a reason to stand up for yourself, and there’s many ways in your young life where you could be asked to do that. For instance, you could be asked to stand up for the truth if someone was lying. You could be asked to stand up for fairness if one of your friends is being bullied or unfairly treated or improperly treated. You might need to stand up for yourself if you feel like your views or your work in school or your role in whatever you’re doing is not being fairly heard or considered. Knowing that that’s the right thing to do, knowing that in our culture you’ll be valued for doing it regardless of your gender and overcoming a shyness or fear that you shouldn’t.

Anne Andrews:
I can remember times when my daughter was in school and somebody did something very naughty to her that was very inappropriate and she was so upset she didn’t want to go to school. She was afraid to tell me and she was afraid to talk to the teacher about it because this person had done something very wrong. I felt it when I was driving her to school and she broke down and cried and told me. And it was somebody who she liked who was doing something very wrong to her. Even my daughter, who is very strong-willed, like her mom, has had moments where she was afraid because the penalty of sometimes doing the right thing and finding your voice scares you. But you have to believe that the grown-ups will be there for you and you have to believe that your friends, your immediate friends will respect you for doing it and will learn something from you.

Anne Andrews:
How old are you?

Lilly:
Seven.

Anne Andrews:
Tell me your name, sweetie.

Lilly:
Lilly.

Anne Andrews:
Well, Lilly, thank you for that question. That was very brave of you just to be able to get on camera and ask a question. See, you spoke up.

Luke W Russell:
Thank you, Anne. How far were you into your career before people understood the value that you bring to the table?

Anne Andrews:
There’s a smile on my face because I think I made about every mistake you could make in the world of litigating mass torts before I was accepted or advanced, but my grace in doing and making them and fixing them and then always volunteering for important projects, always staying present, attending every meeting, never missing an opportunity to give my opinion. And then finding a role in a case that I was particularly good at. One of the challenges of being a lawyer in this setting is that every case requires a new skillset. I had to learn the science of addiction and the science of recovery for the opioid litigation. The challenges now are, I’m having to learn how to represent people who are horribly sexually abused and that’s required a completely different skillset in the Boy Scout bankruptcy where we represent 10,000 clients.

Anne Andrews:
I became an expert in cardiovascular issues because I took my law firm on a journey to sue dietary supplement companies that made dangerous products with stimulants in them that caused heart attacks and strokes. I became an expert on the cardiovascular and electrophysiological issues of the heart, what they call rhythm disturbances caused by the [inaudible]. Every case has its challenge and you have to be able to adjust your game to where the case is taking you. And I think that’s a problem for a lot of lawyers. If you can understand the science behind why a drug is going to cause what it’s going to cause, you can convey it to a jury through the experts.

Luke W Russell:
You mention the importance of experts. What kind of role do you think they should play in mass tort cases like yours?

Anne Andrews:
A lot of lawyers believe the story is told through them and that opening statement and the plaintiff themselves and the case that really impacts a jury is told by, let’s just say, the biased people, the lawyers, their clients, their family. And what I always felt was that the real people who brought juries in the most complex, high-profile cases in the country were through the true, unbiased opinions of experts, that they were the ones who spoke most, first to a judge, and then secondly to a jury. So if you could bring the true world opinion leaders on a subject to a judge, first of all, they are always hella impressed. To think that a professor from Harvard who has a practice of saving lives every day is sitting in a court, that that case, that day is that important to that doctor that he or she flew all the way to that trial in order to tell the judge the story and the jury the story of what happened in this case and why a Vioxx drug caused it, that impresses the heck out of the judge and then the jury.

Luke W Russell:
When we come back, we’ll be hearing from Anne about how she balances the need to be an effective team player with fighting to get her clients the justice they deserve. Stay with us. I’m Luke W. Russell and you’re listening to Lawful Good.

Luke W Russell:
Hey everyone, it’s Luke here, and before you skip ahead, we have some exciting things in the works for our commercial breaks.

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Luke W Russell:
We left off with Anne sharing her views of how to harness the power and authority of quality experts in order to make her case to the judge and jury. She believes it’s the unbiased opinions of experts that help her get justice for her clients.

Luke W Russell:
I’m curious, what do you think underlies or maybe what is it about maybe your mindset or maybe a lack of ego that led you to say, hey, me winning this case isn’t about me, it’s about getting the best experts in the room?

Anne Andrews:
Even though I have a very strong personality, I also know to be successful in the way in which I wanted to work, I knew I had to be a team player. And if you interviewed all the people who I sit on committees with now and have sat of PECs with, and done work with [inaudible], Anne is very opinionated and she always speaks her mind and she’s very, very clear that she will be heard, but she’s mostly right. I’m fair, I would like to think that all the employees, all the attorneys and staff that work for me, I think they think I’m fair but I’m a tough taskmaster. But in doing so, they know how much I care about our clients and they know how important it is for me to be successful for clients.

Luke W Russell:
Would you say you were a difficult person to work with?

Anne Andrews:
Yes. I would. Difficult in a sense that I have very high standards and a lot of shouting goes on in the beginning of a relationship of a case to overcome the deafness. I guess if I had anything to say about my ego, maybe it’s not more about winning a trial that drives my ego, it’s more about having my position be heard and being right and knowing that people will accept that I’m right and then being a team player, knowing that I’m part of a team that puts on a trial. I enjoy the collaborative. I was a musician at one point in my life where I sang in music ensembles and was a trained classical musician so I think ensemble music taught me a lot about how to work with people and if I was assigned a solo, as I often was, stepping out in the foot lights and then claiming my solo role was great fun but then stepping back into the ensemble was the way you do in chorus was always easy for me and I enjoyed it a great deal.

Luke W Russell:
It seems like a lot of your success has been driven by persistence and determination. Can you think of a time when that spirit of persistence was really challenged or a time when you just felt like it was difficult to continue?

Anne Andrews:
I had a writ practice for a long time. You have to figure out a way as a young lawyer to both take writ cases and then take paid cases. My writ practice as a young lawyer also [inaudible] at the racetrack where the stewards of the racetrack would rule on regulations that a trainer or an owner or a jockey was suspended for a violation of the rules of horse racing. Never had a full hearing, no due process, they just make a ruling, they issue it. It’s basically a small tribunal. All the jockeys, owners, and trainers would come running to me when they’d get a ruling and I always tell them, [inaudible], you will lose. But race to my office, have a check ready for this amount and I will get to court with a writ in 24 hours to overturn it and it gets you back, because the license is like a driver’s license.

Anne Andrews:
If you 20 horses at a race track being cared for every day and you don’t have a license to run them, your operation is in trouble pretty fast. So they would come to my office and I would prepare, these were called writs of mandamus to overturn a court. Back in the day, there was one judge in the writs department. I appeared in front of that same judge every time I filed a writ and that judge, in one particular court, in downtown Los Angeles, it was a better experience, I had a better track record, no pun intended. That judge got so mad at my writ practice that he would refuse to come and take the bench and face me for arguments. He would sit in his chambers and just write denied and send it out with the clerk.

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
So you know what I did? I have a client standing there waiting to have their business reinstated and the judge just says, denied. And they are expecting me to stand up and advocate for them and want to see that their rights and their access to justice was granted, even for five minutes. This judge and I had a notorious experience where I stood at the clerk’s desk with the bailiff watching me, I was also threatened with contempt more than once. I said, “I am not leaving this courtroom until Judge so and so comes out and I’m allowed to argue this writ. I will not accept this. I’m entitled to a hearing, my client is here and if you don’t allow this, I’m going to report this to the presiding judge.”

Anne Andrews:
Over the years as I was president of the local bar association, that judge became an appellate justice and I would see him at gatherings. Senator Dunn had the entire bench at his house all the time because he was always very involved in judicial politics, the finding of the courts and so we had a lot of fundraisers. I would always be in the company of this judge that must have denied me like 20 or 30 writs over two years. Denied, denied, denied. I found myself in his company, he says, “Gosh, you know, you look familiar. Do I know you?” Because he’s a very hotty, appellate court justice now. I said, “As a matter of fact, Judge, you do.” “How do I know you?” I said, “I hold the record of having the most writs denied in your courthouse of any lawyer in the history of Orange County.” I hold that record today and I own it. And I told this judge in front of a lot of other justices, I said, “You know, a very smart jurist told me one time when I kept saying, I have a hard time getting in to hear judges, I have a hard time getting them to listen to me. He told me, “Sometimes you just have to keep knocking on the doors of justice to be heard and never stop knocking until you are.”

Anne Andrews:
In that writ practice, they would close the court, literally wouldn’t open it.

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
I would literally be knocking on the door to be let in for my 1:30 hearing, when he would just say, “Oh, there’s a writ, I’m not even opening the court.”

Luke W Russell:
Wow.

Anne Andrews:
I’ve always said, the doors of justice aren’t always open. You may have to knock and keep knocking and beg and beat them down. It takes a lot of training as a trial lawyer to understand the court’s not your friend. You’re not making friends. People think the courthouse is a popularity contest. I never saw it that way. I’m there for the right results for my client, I’m not there to win friends and influence people. Now, I happen to have a lot of friends who are judges, because I was in a leadership position and interact with the Bar but I didn’t go about trying to make points with the bench. You have to have a judge on your side if you can get them there, but if you can’t, you have to fight with them to be sure the record’s clear and to be sure that your arguments are heard regardless of what they think of them if they are wrong.

Anne Andrews:
I just decided that I had nothing to lose. The respect you’re supposed to have for the bench and the mother may I, and as women, we’re like, “Oh, this judge is …”. it’s his rules and he doesn’t like me and I’m not popular and all those feelings you have and in the back of your head I said, no, I have a client out there and that man’s life has been ended by a kangaroo court that suspended a license and I have to get it reinstated, to get a trial, to get a due process hearing. The law requires it and that person’s life is worth it.

Luke W Russell:
I’m hearing a lot of compassion from you toward the people that you represent. It sounds like you spend a lot of time with your clients. Is that common for someone in your role?

Anne Andrews:
I don’t know that a lot of people in a senior management position in a law firm really talk to as many clients as I do. We’re getting ready for some pretty heavy duty trial work in the Boy Scout case. It’s emotionally draining. It’s a challenge to be able to talk to people who have to describe to you unspeakable acts of suffering and humility and assault and pain and what they’ve been through. And I worry about my staff and my attorneys and I’m constantly checking in with them because if your whole life was spent, your whole professional career is spent talking to people who are victims of horrible abuse, like so many other kinds of trauma, it affects your work and it becomes too much to bear to take on all that suffering from a human being.

Anne Andrews:
And you know, we’ve had some real tragedies. A team of lawyers was on a call interviewing a young Boy Scout survivor, a boy who was abused at a young, young age, seriously, horribly sexually abused along with his brother and during the interview a family member called informing our client that his brother had committed suicide. My whole team, my whole firm just sort of fell into defalcation. But that takes you to a very scary place, that life is so fragile and that you’re really interacting with people at a level that is life and death for some. We gathered up everybody emotionally in our firm’s arms and we got counseling and we sat and talked with people and that’s the part that I have to stay in touch with.

Anne Andrews:
I traveled to Massachusetts several years ago to meet a woman who I much admire and who is a client and who founded a support group for parents who have lost a child to opioid overdose, to addiction and opioid overdose. These were soldiers, we have a Gold Star mom. These were students. These were college athletes. These were policemen. Their children were valuable members of society and I sat with each member of the group and cried with them. You can’t not as a parent. I have children and I couldn’t as a parent not take their grief and feel what they must feel like every day not having that child that I have in my life every day.

Anne Andrews:
No one cared about opioid addicts when I started that project. No one cared about the suffering of the people who were addicted by Purdue and other companies with an intentional scheme. No one cared about them. No one spoke for them. Everyone spoke for the government. The Indian tribes, all of the municipalities and insurance companies were there and nobody was speaking for the victims, the people who actually were damaged by these drugs. And knowing that they were raising money and going out and having bake sales and doing 5Ks and getting sponsors to raise money to bury children because these families did not have the money to bury a child who was lost in overdose. Just meeting people and having them in your life along life’s journey like that, what a rich reward. I’m talking in the most human way and representing the world’s forgotten people.

Anne Andrews:
The Boy Scouts of America didn’t want to know that there were 80-some thousand men who were abused over 40 years. They still don’t accept it. And they are attacking me? They are calling me names in court, that’s fine. I’ve heard it before. They are attacking my clients. They are calling them names, frauds. I represent those people. That’s life-changing. It’s not just what gets you up in the morning, it’s what gets you to stay late at night and work on the weekends and make you feel like every minute you’re spending in this world of these people, doing what you know in your heart is right, that they don’t have a voice. And as Mike Papantonio and other great lawyers would say, giving a voice to the voiceless.

Luke W Russell:
I imagine some of our listeners might be hearing you and thinking, wow, Anne, she is an extraordinary woman. I wish I could be like her, but I don’t have it in me. What would you say to that person?

Anne Andrews:
I didn’t think I had it in me. I just did it. And to the people who have doubt, you put one foot in front of the other, you have good days, you have bad days. Listen, everybody talks about all the cases they won. You want to talk about the cases I lost? Picking myself up off the ground literally for two weeks feeling like I had a horse sitting on my chest and couldn’t get up. The pain of loss was so hard on me and I’m the person that could lose the unloseable case because I did. The courtroom and the jury system is precious but it’s also extremely unpredictable and volatile. Overcoming doubt, it was hard for me. I look back at my career when I was just starting out, I didn’t know how I was going to pay the bills or keep the lights on, I just did it. And I think what we talked about earlier, knowing that I could never work for someone, I could never give that power to a male-dominated structure and a male-dominated law firm that was never going to give me the power back.

Anne Andrews:
No matter how many times I tried to get the power back, I knew never working for another firm, for another infrastructure that was male-dominated, always being able to self-determine. And then finding a way to finance my own cases. That’s a whole nother course that we need to teach women, how to find financing and how to take risks in things they believe in.

Luke W Russell:
Anne, how do you take care of yourself? As you’re bearing all of these stories and I hear you talking about taking care of your staff, how does Anne take care of Anne?

Anne Andrews:
She probably doesn’t do as good a job sometimes as she should. I do have a terrific partner. My partner, Sean Higgins can run this firm and I can go away and say, not a problem. I think that’s very important that you have people that you can trust and rely upon to go and relax and that they are saying I got this and you can believe it every minute of every day.

Anne Andrews:
It’s funny the things I don’t do. I’m not a golfer. I guess I’m more of a naturalist, I enjoy nature. I hike a great deal. I have gangs of friends that, we crawl around the various parks and mountain areas. I’m a big fan of national parks. Don’t tell anyone, but one of the best relaxation, quiet places in the world that no one goes to is Death Valley because there’s no one there because tourists don’t want to go anywhere that starts with Death in the name. It’s so far off the grid and it’s so relaxing, otherworldly, there are so many beautiful things to see in the desert and we’re going there for several days. We usually make a couple of trips to Europe a year. I manage to play really hard even while I work.

Anne Andrews:
One of my favorite things about New York, when it’s operating normally, I’m a huge theater fan and a huge opera fan and a huge just walker so I promised myself unless there’s rain or really bad conditions, I’m always walking. I’m never in an Uber, I’m never in public transportation. I walk everywhere. My daughter was a theater kid so we have a lot of friends in theater now so I’m often following careers so we see a ton of theater. Big, big fan and patron of the opera. Everybody knows in New York when there’s a meeting, it’s got to stop at 6:15 because Anne’s running across Times Square to put her fanny in a seat at some fabulous show or she’s running up to Lincoln Center and that’s non-negotiable. I am out, on my way. And it’s every night when I’m in New York. Every night. I do not miss a thing.

Anne Andrews:
I find that the arts takes you away from the law and gives you the sense of a bigger side of yourself and a community and an experience that soothes the heart, challenges the brain. I go to very emotional things. I’m not just a happy-go-lucky kind of art consumer. I go to what my daughter and I call ugly criers where we’re going to some really serious play or music drama tonight and it’s going to be an ugly cry night. I’ve always had horses and when you’re riding a horse, you cannot, it’s impossible to force yourself to think about anything else. No matter what your level of experience is, and I’m not a very proficient dressage rider, but I do challenge myself. You cannot think about anything else. You are literally away from every other stressful or complicated thought when you’re guiding a very large animal through a series of challenging maneuvers that may be beyond your ability.

Anne Andrews:
I’ve gone to Spain and I’ve traveled in foreign countries to places where you can have these equestrian experiences with great horses, other riders, other trainers. And so the horse community, the equestrian community is a very tight-knit one. I’m friends with people all over the world who I’ve met at various programs where I’ve sharpened my skills in a certain area.

Luke W Russell:
I feel like, for me at least, it’s romanticized this idea of being able to ride a horse and just hearing you describe, you can’t think about anything else and I’m imagining going across fields and up and down hills. It sounds amazing and I’m venturing a guess, there’s probably a few hundred hours required to get to a place where I might even be able to half way do that. Is that probably accurate?

Anne Andrews:
You know, it kind of depends on the person. You can start out with lessons at a local riding stable. There are lots of places where you can learn how to get your seat. It’s harder than driving a car because it’s a living thing, but it’s sort of like it took you a while to get used to driving a car. Some people are better drivers than others. But I think people find it so rewarding because the animals are so compliant. There’s a reason why horses are featured in art. They are featured in therapy. They are featured in romance.

What commercial haven’t we seen recently where the gorgeous white horses of Camargue aren’t running across the beach in France. Those are wild, white horses. We have the wild mustangs in Nevada. Horses are magical creatures that communicate with humans very well and that connection has been shown to be very important in therapy with children and with ill people. And they bring a lot of compassion to your thinking and the sensitivity of them.

Anne Andrews:
There is some great, great courses where you don’t even have to ride a horse. You can go and have an emotional journey, an emotional experience. There’s a great trainer up in the Santa Barbara area, north Santa Barbara named Marty Roberts who puts on a clinic where all you do is interact with a horse and learn how to use its energy to move it.

Luke W Russell:
Oh wow.

Anne Andrews:
So some people just really love the interaction of understanding a horse’s energy and how to move it without touching it. And it’s the horse whisperer kind of approach to training horses. I’ve gone to those clinics. I’ve watched people engage in them and a lot of really emotional work comes out of it, people who are traumatized, who are there for reasons, it’s very healing. Those clinics are fascinating and there are a lot of places in the country where you could have an experience with an animal in the horse world that isn’t what you think, just get on and ride around the plain, but you can do it in stages, however you like.

Luke W Russell:
Do you own horses to this day?

Anne Andrews:
I do.

Luke W Russell:
How many and what are their names and breeds?

Anne Andrews:
I have two Arabians, Polish Arabians. Laura and Mosata. However, they are very senior citizen, statesmen, retired super champion show horses. Horses, when they are really well cared for and when they, and Arabians in particular, can live a very long life. I’m happy to report they are healthy and although we’re not driving them into the bit and charging around on them as much, they get exercise and enjoy, they are in their 90s in horse years, but they are loving life and they are very dear. They put a lot of years in carrying myself and other people around the show ring being champions and they are enjoying a terrific life.

Anne Andrews:
I would like to add to my equestrian family. I also love horse racing and I may or may not be investing in a few shares of fractional ownership with Spencer Farms. Everyone has to have a team, I’m not a sports fan. I love sports when I’m watching them in person, but I’m not somebody who’s going to watch baseball games and basketball games every Friday night for 85 nights out of my life. But when there’s horse racing going on, I’m all about it. Owning a fractional share of a string of horses and I’m doing this with a girlfriend whose very proficient, whose family has been horse racing forever. We’re kind of doing it as a girls club kind of thing. We’ll follow them and keep it sane. Horse racing is for the most part for the very, very, very wealthy, mostly people from other countries. Mostly people from the Middle East these days. But owning a fractional share in a spendthrift investment is a fun way for, everybody could do that and have great fun.

Anne Andrews:
We go to the Breeder’s Cup every year, which is two days of basically the Olympics of horse racing two days every year.

Luke W Russell:
Okay, Anne. It’s your 80th birthday celebration. People from all throughout your life are present.

Anne Andrews:
These are great questions.

Luke W Russell:
A gentle clinking on glass can be heard and a hush washes over the room. People raise their glasses to toast to you. What are three things you want them to say about you?

Anne Andrews:
She fought for people who deserved justice when no one else would. She fought for her gender when no one else could. And she’s lived a life that not by accident, but by the strength of her character and convictions. Meant a lot to many people and we were honored to know her.

Luke W Russell:
Thank you, Anne.

Luke W Russell:
To learn more about Anne’s law firm and the litigations that she’s currently involved with visit AndrewsThornton.com. Thanks so much for listening to us this week. This podcast was produced by Kirsten Stock, developed in collaboration with Max T. Russell. Edited by Kendall Perkinson and mastered by Guido Bertollini. A special thanks to the companies that make this project possible, X Social Media, Russell Media, and the SEO Police. You can learn more about these groups by visiting our website, www.lawfulgoodpodcast.com. I’m Luke W. Russell and you’ve been listening to Lawful Good.