About Andy Steiner

Andy Steiner Articles written 27

Articles written by Andy Steiner

From Scrubs to the Courthouse

Law may be Mary Shearen’s second career—she started out as a nurse—but it’s her true calling

Years ago, before she became an attorney, Mary Shearen was a nurse. She worked at the University of Minnesota hospital, first in the transplant unit and then in Labor and Delivery. When she left the hospital in 1980, Shearen was head nurse, experienced and knowledgeable in medicine; later, when she went to law school, everyone just assumed what area she’d specialize in. “Usually they put former nurses in litigation, malpractice and family law,” Shearen says with a quiet chuckle. Then her …

Divorce With Dignity

Family lawyer Debra Yerigan has a knack for making the transition bearable

Debra Yerigan didn’t set out to help people end their marriages. “What kid thinks they are going to grow up to be a divorce lawyer?” Yerigan says with a laugh. “Getting to where I am today was a complete accident—but then again my whole career path has been nothing but a series of accidents.” Back in 1975, when Yerigan graduated from high school, she took a chance, put college on hold, and took a step into the working world. “When I was getting ready to finish high school I …

In a Word: Moxie

Linda Crook Martin tends to get what she wants

To land a job at a city’s top firm, a young attorney usually has to go through a lengthy, ritualized hiring process. Not Linda Crook Martin. Back in 1980, after following her then-fiancé from her home state of Tennessee to Tulsa, the new law school grad decided to take the radical step of just showing up at law offices and asking to see the partner in charge of hiring. “When I got to town, I looked up every law firm that had a woman attorney on staff,” Martin recalls. “There really …

The Trailblazer

Jean Uranga took the LSAT on a dare and became one of the first female attorneys in Idaho

Though Jean Uranga is a genuine trailblazer—one of the first 50 women admitted to the Idaho State Bar and among the first in the state to open a law practice with her husband—Uranga prefers not to make a big deal out of her achievements. "I never set out to be the first woman to do anything," she says. "I just did what I wanted to do and as it turned out I was one of the first women to do it. Things just happened that way." In fact, Uranga never even set out to be an attorney. In the …

Batter Up

Mark Zebrowski helped create a baseball monument for his city

Often, when attorneys win a case, there's not a lot of tangible evidence of the effort they've expended. Of course, many lawyers are well-paid for their work—and certain cases are more attention-grabbing than others. But the majority of lawsuits are concluded quietly, without a lot of ballyhoo or public recognition. At least that's the way Mark C. Zebrowski, managing partner in Morrison Foerster's San Diego office, sees it. Zebrowski has been practicing law in San Diego for a quarter century, …

Thirteen Schools Before High School

Military brat Vickie E. Turner finds her home in San Diego and trial law

A military brat, Vickie E. Turner spent much of her childhood on the move. But it wasn't until she applied to law school that she realized just how far she had traveled. "When I was a child, we lived in Okinawa, Japan; New Mexico; Texas; Washington, D.C.; Georgia; Las Vegas," Turner says, ticking off stops in her father's military career.  "When I was filling out law school applications, I discovered that I had attended 13 schools before high school." Turner never resented her family's …

Written in the Cards

Like her literary heroes, Anne Ellefson's happy ending seemed predestined

As the first woman in the state to head up a firm of more than 100 attorneys, Anne Ellefson made history last year when she was appointed managing shareholder of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd.  The appointment was significant enough to merit mention in the local press, but until someone else made a big deal out of it, Ellefson's historic accomplishment was news to her.   "This firm has a history of being incredibly open to women," she explains. "We had a female partner who was admitted to the bar …

A Family Affair

What's it like to work every day with the person you wake up next to each morning? Or to settle payroll disputes with the man who paid your first allowance?

Attracted to Law For Laurie Higginbotham and Jamal Alsaffar, life and law mix 24/7 Laurie Higginbotham inexplicably assumed that everybody knew she and Jamal Alsaffar, her partner in the Austin law firm of Archuleta, Alsaffar & Higginbotham, were married. She was wrong. Last year, when the firm handled federal tort claims cases related to Hurricane Katrina, they hired a number of temporary workers to tackle the mountain of paperwork. One day, some of the temps were talking when one …

The Listener

Laura Clark Fey's secret weapon: her ears        

A successful defense attorney can't be a shrinking violet, but that's just how Laura Clark Fey describes her younger self. And until recently she didn't realize just how outgoing she had become. "When I was a kid, I was actually really shy," says Fey, partner in the Kansas City office of the international law firm Shook, Hardy & Bacon. "I think some of my childhood experiences still affect how I view myself. So when I recently took the Meyers-Briggs test, I learned that I was extremely …

Easy Lawyer

Harley-riding attorney R. Pete Smith mixes two-wheel adventure with a historic practice

A restless rebel at heart, Kansas City attorney R. Pete Smith puts 15,000 miles a year on his Harley, roaming around the United States and Canada. "Usually, I'll drive anywhere from 600 to 1,000 miles a day," says Smith, 63. "You can go farther in a day on a motorcycle than you can in a car. You never get tired or sleepy. You just want to keep going and going." Smith may be a man who lives for epic adventure, but his off-the-road life is surprisingly stable. He's been working at the same …

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