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Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis

Breaking the Ice: Attorney proud of transgender-rights victory

Name: Andrew Davis

Title: Partner, Stinson

Education: B.A., philosophy, University of Chicago; J.D., University of Minnesota Law School

Stinson partner Andrew Davis is proud to be “part of a case where justice is served” in having won a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling recognizing a transgender student’s right to use a locker room aligning with his gender identity.

Davis and Stinson partner Tim Griffin recently received 2021 Excellence Awards from the Hennepin County Bar Association for advancing diversity and inclusion in their efforts leading a Stinson team that partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota and Gender Justice on the student’s behalf.

“Transgender students now know that they have the right to be free from all forms of discrimination based on their transgender status,” Davis said of last September’s decision.

David has handled asylum cases and other immigration matters in his pro bono service. He has used his ability to speak French — acquired while studying abroad in France and returning to teach English there for a year after college, in various cases.

Davis’ practice focuses on complex litigation and regulatory matters in environmental, energy and transportation law. He likes the mix of public policy, legal, statutory and administrative law issues involved in environmental law.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed a summary judgment win, Davis said, in a long-running environmental indemnity dispute between two major railroad companies.

Q: Best way to start a conversation with you?

A: You could ask me about my garden. I’m a pretty big gardener so that would just get me interested in talking. Or ask about my family. I’ve got three kids so there’s always stuff happening there. Or you could say something in French, having lived in France for a while. I’m pretty rusty so we would probably switch to English right away, but I would be immediately interested.

Q: Why did you go to law school?

A: I studied philosophy in college, but was not interested in a career in academia. I always enjoyed writing and communicating, and with a background in philosophy, the law provided a way of applying those big ideas in the real world. You could actually effect change and make a difference. That was very appealing.

Q: What books are you reading?

A: Erik Larson, “The Splendid and the Vile,” about Winston Churchill in World War II.

Q: What’s your pet peeve?

A: Lawyers who are unnecessarily difficult.

Q: Best part of your work?

A: I like writing. I like writing briefs and memos. I also like mentoring younger attorneys.

Q: Least favorite?

A: Cantankerous opposing counsel, though there are few. The reality is that lawyers here are highly professional and civil.

Q: Favorite activity away from work?

A: I love to travel but haven’t done much of that with COVID.  And it’s hard to do it with three kids. But I do enjoy traveling. And I really enjoy gardening. It’s something that I have done a lot in the last few years and have enjoyed. That and spending time with family.

Q: Where would you take someone visiting your hometown?

A: My hometown is Green Bay, Wisconsin. There would be the obligatory trip to Lambeau Field, although I haven’t been there in forever. I would more likely take someone up to Door County, about an hour north. Just a beautiful place up there on Lake Michigan. We’ve got a family cabin there and I’ve gone there every summer since I was a kid. The natural beauty of the lake and the forests is quite special.

Q: Legal figure you most admire?

A: Broadly speaking, Abraham Lincoln is someone I admire a lot (like most of us do). He was a great writer, a great thinker and somehow a great politician.

Q: Misconception that others have about your work as an attorney?

A: Among non-lawyers, the misconception is that my work as an attorney is acrimonious. Certainly, I’m involved in cases where I’m advocating for my client, but it’s in the spirit of professionalism. While it’s spirited and zealous, it’s rarely acrimonious.


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