With this post, I’m inaugurating MyShingle’s new “Shingular Sensations” series. Every week or two, I hope to interview a solo or a small firm lawyer who in one way or another represents the best that this genre has to offer. But let me be clear – Singular Sensations is not a “self-promotional” series — through my interviews, I intend to glean solid advice from my subjects that will benefit all lawyers. I’ll explain the concept a little more in subsequent posts, but for now, here’s our first Shingular Sensation, Andy Simpson who heads a two lawyer firm in Christiansted, St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Late last week, Andy Simpson made national headlines winning a $500,000 jury verdict against the U.S. Marshals Service for discriminating against his client Deputy U.S. Marshal Linda Valerino, known locally for hosting a TV show on fugitives in the Virgin Islands. During a 4 day trial, Simpson showed that Valerino’s male colleagues did not want to be supervised by a woman, and over a two year period, filed a series of false misconduct claims against Valerino to block her promotion. Under applicable federal law, the jury’s $500,000 award for emotion stress will be capped at $300,000 but Valerino will also receive $92,000 in back pay.
In this e-mail interview, Simpson shares the backstory on his headline-making verdict and his experience as a solo going up against one of the biggest law firms in the country – the United States Department of Justice. Whether you’re an employment lawyer, an attorney who deals with law enforcement, a solo who goes up against the big guys (or a large firm lawyer who underestimates the small fry), you’ll want to read the entire interview, below the jump.
My practice is primarily insurance defense. I graduated from Tulane Law School in May 1988 and have been in small firm practice ever since. I moved to St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands in 1991 to work with a four lawyer firm and became partner in that firm, which had grown to 10 lawyers. After four years as a partner, I went out on my own in January 2001.