In the Law . . . Andrew Michael Bonderud, “Spirit of Giving” award-winner.

"It’s always nice when former adversaries seek to bring me in as co-counsel in subsequent litigation."

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Andrew Michael Bonderud was a recipient of the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association’s 2018 “Spirit of Giving” award for his pro bono representation of indigent defendants in federal court. A U.S. Navy surface warfare officer before he went to law school, Bonderud practices criminal defense, family law and civil litigation.

Who or what inspired you to become a lawyer? Jack McCoy (a fictional Manhattan district attorney played by Sam Waterston in the television drama series Law & Order).

One person who inspires me: Federal criminal appeal attorney William Mallory Kent of Kent & McFarland.

How do you relate your undergraduate degree to your practice of law? I earned a bachelor’s from Vanderbilt University on an NROTC scholarship. My college experience taught me how to read, write and reason. It was a great foundation for law school.

How did you decide your practice area? And why have you chosen that? I’ve always been a solo practitioner. I’ve defined my law practice not by what I do, but by what I don’t do: e.g., tax, probate, immigration, social security disability and other specialized areas of law. These days, I’ll take a case if it’s intellectually stimulating and if it’s likely to pay the bills.

What has been the biggest change in your practice area since you passed the Bar? It’s always nice when former adversaries seek to bring me in as co-counsel in subsequent litigation.

What do you think will be the next biggest change in your area of law? I plan to narrow the scope of my practice as my law firm grows. Or, perhaps the next big change will be the addition of an associate attorney. We’ll see.

If I could change anything in the legal system, I would ... I don’t control the legal system, but I do control how I show up and interact with it. I will always (imperfectly) try to be the change I want to see: treating others with respect and dignity.

What community service have you pursued and why that? I routinely volunteer my time representing prisoners in connection with civil rights claims. I enjoy representing vulnerable clients in litigation against government actors where clearly established Constitutional rights have been violated.

What’s your advice for new lawyers? You must check out the pool deck at the Duval County Courthouse. Just go up to any attorney at the courthouse, tell them that you’re a new lawyer and ask them where it is.