Andrew Lacy ’12 to open one of the only African American-owned civil law firms in PA

Created: February 2, 2021

Last Updated: March 16, 2021

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In 2021, Andrew Lacy is breaking down barriers as he takes the next step in his already impressive legal career.

The Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) and Cornell Law School graduate is opening his own labor and employment law firm, one of the only African American-owned firms of its kind in the state of Pennsylvania.

The move is the next in a line of successes during his career in law after working for 5 years with Reed Smith LLP and completing a federal clerkship with the Honorable Cathy Bissoon.

While it’s a big jump into the unknown from the safety of working at an established law firm like Reed Smith, Lacy is ready to take the leap.

“I tried an employment case a year and a half ago, and I really liked it,” he said. “I like that it’s civil rights issues, combined with that fact that you’re helping individuals rather than a large company.”

By focusing exclusively on employment law, Lacy is carving a niche for himself that is sorely needed in a complicated society that is beginning to take a more careful look at cases of  discrimination in the workplace.

“I think people underestimate how much race impacts law. A lot of people might think of its effects in the criminal system…but they don’t know what goes on in the civil system,” he said. “I think that’s especially true for employment law. I want to help those who were discriminated against or harassed based on a certain characteristic, like race. It only takes one bad boss to ruin your livelihood.”

His employment practice will not only focus on workplace discrimination, but on other areas of labor and employment law such as disability, the FMLA, and wrongful termination.

Lacy has seen tough realities play out in a courtroom, and sat on the other side of the bench as a federal judge clerk, earning important perspective from those opportunities—but it all stems back to his first experience learning from different perspectives other than his own at W&J.

“Dr. Disarro was one of my first mentors, and I consider him to be a friend,” he said. “A lot of what he taught me was practical for law school and my work now. What he taught me inside the classroom more than prepared me for law school. I think I did well there partly because of him.  But what he taught me outside the classroom was most important. He taught me how to work with people who had different opinions to my own, effectively network and, most of all, to have fun with my career and in life.”

Lacy’s firm is slated to begin taking clients in February 2021.

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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