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Andrew Shaw
Andrew Shaw

The POWER 30: Andrew Shaw

Shaw and Shaw

Attorney Andrew Shaw continues to operate his successful legal practice from the small-town office established in Deer River, Minnesota, by his father, Paul, in 1950. After graduating cum laude from the William Mitchell College of Law in June 1989, Shaw returned to the family firm.

Deer River is in Itasca County, a very rural area, “I’m the only attorney in town. I hope to be joined by my son Michael,” Shaw said.

He said he “lives in a legal desert.” There used to be 24 lawyers in Grand Rapids in private practice, now there are seven or eight.

“You end up with a ton of pro bono stuff,” just because people don’t have any money, and there’s not a point in sending a bill. Shaw said. A lot of people get forced into family disputes or real estate partitions, and they are good people with no familiarity with the legal system, he said. There is a substantial amount of litigation over real estate, including boundary disputes.

There is little agricultural property but there’s plenty of lakeshore land that raises issues, particularly among the second generation. “It’s the last chance for a good fight,” Shaw said.

Like most Greater Minnesota lawyers, Shaw is worried about legal services in the future. He noted that the area has seen an increase in population since the unrest in the Twin Cities after George Floyd was killed.

He urges attorneys to come. “Our internet is superior to what you have (in the Twin Cities). It’s been a sea change help. I’m hoping for increased population. Lawyers should head out on their own, it can be done. Other attorneys would tell you what to do.”

There are advantages.  Shaw says he makes house calls because he wants to. “I’m not stuck in a cubicle. I’ve often had a beer at the end of the dock with a client.”