By: Jessica Oates
“There is nothing you can mess up, besides blowing a deadline, that I can’t fix. So, go out there and be fearless!” Attorney Andrea McNairy remembers the mentoring she received as a second-year law student and revisits his message daily. As a law firm leader at Brown & Crouppen, she emulates her mentor’s philosophy to her fellow attorneys, paralegals, and other associates. While his advice was specific to the practice of law, she also finds his words applicable to most areas of life.
Andrea believes most problems have a solution. Mistakes can be undone, and a “wrong” decision often means one simply has to pivot and find another means to get to the desired end. This is an empowering message to a young attorney. She heard her mentor say, “I trust you to educate yourself, make the best decision you can and if it ends up not working out, we will figure out a way around it together”. Because he had confidence in her, she felt driven to seek the best decisions. Andrea did so with tireless research and by putting in the time to educate herself on how to best proceed. The work she put into making decisions empowered her to be confident in what she decided. All the while knowing her leader was there to support her, whether she made or mistake or not.
This enabled her to be fearless herself. In her appearance on This Week with Tammie Holland, Andrea was asked about the “secret of her success”:
“Work ethic. When you’re a younger lawyer, or a woman lawyer there will be things you cannot control. You can’t control if someone else has more experience, or the school they went to but what you can control is you can be the most prepared person in the room…If you look around and don’t see a lot of other women or minorities in the room, if you are well prepared and strategically plan, you can overcome barriers and help others through along the way.”
Andrea seeks to impart this wisdom on new attorneys, especially those who face unfair bias. Her philosophy is to lift as many people up as possible to share in the success. Because of her own blue-collar background, Andrea seeks people who may not fit the traditional view of a lawyer. Andrea stresses the importance of the legal industry catching up with diversity and inclusion initiatives. “Don’t be silent. There is a way to say things respectfully and have a voice in the rooms where decisions are being made.”
She has encouraged others to be outspoken in the legal community about the benefits of diversity and inclusion in practice and in business. Andrea never turns down a chance to speak about these issues in the organizations she belongs to or join a group that promotes these ideas. She welcomes the chance to be in a meeting where decisions are made or steering committees to ensure diversity is considered and promoted within the discussions.
Andrea McNairy is a trial attorney with emphasis on wrongful death, product liability, premises liability, and complex auto accident litigation. She is a managing attorney at Brown & Crouppen Law Firm where she leads a team of attorneys, paralegals, law clerks, and legal assistants. She is a Missouri Association of Trial Attorney member, serving on the Leonard Cervantes Diversity Committee. Andrea has been awarded the Women’s Justice Award in Litigation, Up and Coming Award, and Winningest Plaintiff Attorney award from Missouri Lawyers Weekly. She is a 2018-2020 Superlawyer. She received her Juris Doctorate from St. Louis University School of Law where she was Managing Editor of the Public Law Review and received an Academic Excellence Award. Andrea received her undergraduate degree for the University of Missouri-St. Louis, graduating Magna Cum Laude.