SGB Attorney Spotlight: Andy Boes

Mar 15, 2023

When SGB attorney Andy Boes graduated from college, he didn’t initially anticipate pursuing a career in law. However, what ultimately motivated him to become a lawyer was a sense of urgency to empower the most vulnerable communities to obtain justice. 

After volunteering with the Peace Corps in a rural Peruvian village and working in nonprofit consulting after college, Andy was compelled to pursue law after witnessing attorneys step up to fight against discriminatory policies, an action that aligned with his own personal sense of urgency to help those neglected by the system.

This passion brought him to Harvard Law School, where after earning his Juris Doctorate and serving in the Washington State Attorney General’s office, he joined SGB to advocate for clients who have endured wrongdoing at the hands of powerful institutions.

Learn more about Andy and what he’s accomplished during his career below.

How did your background motivate you to pursue a career in law?

AB: My younger sister, Tori, lives with autism. Growing up, seeing the juxtaposition of my privilege with the challenges Tori faced was striking: the same institutions that extended a world of opportunity to me reduced my sister to an afterthought. Our community’s failure to include my sister colored my perspective on law, justice, and equity from a young age. The experience motivated me to empower people that the system does not—which is how I ended up serving in the Peace Corps.

After two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru, I returned home to work in nonprofit consulting. Though the work was interesting, the current political climate drove me to feel a greater sense of urgency to serve neglected and underrepresented communities. I wanted to do more but didn’t know how. Around that time, the president signed an executive order blocking travelers from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, and I heard about attorneys who were going to the Boston airport and volunteers to help reunite impacted families.

That weekend, I started studying for the LSAT.

Can you talk more about your volunteer experience in the Peace Corps? How did that impact you?

AB: After graduating from college, the Peace Corps sent me to a remote village in Peru. To get there, you had to endure a 24-hour bus ride, followed by a 2-hour car ride to the east side of the Andes mountains. My role as a volunteer was to work with the local community to design and implement youth development programs for the local community, with a focus on healthy lifestyles, vocational orientation, and leadership development for youth ages 10 – 24.

Along with the development work, one of the most impactful parts of my time in Peru was the relationship I made with my host family. There were 10 of us living under one roof between the host parents, their three daughters, and four grandchildren. They immediately welcomed me as a member of their family. Being a part of the kids’ lives was the most formative part of my experience there.

I still see the family to this day. Last year, I introduced my host family to my partner and our son. My son is now about the same age as those kids were when I first moved to Peru, which was a heartwarming parallel.

What drew you to practice with SGB?

AB: I worked for the Washington State Attorney General’s office in the Complex Litigation division throughout my second summer and third year of law school. The main project I supported was a multi-state challenge to a 2019 change to the Public Charge Rule, a policy that punished people seeking permanent immigration status who received social services like food stamps. The policy was rescinded in 2021.

I found personal fulfillment in fighting for justice against discriminatory policies, and one of my mentors at the attorney general’s office encouraged me to pursue plaintiff-side work afterward because it aligned with my personal values. He sent my resume to several firms, including SGB. After speaking with some of SGB’s attorneys and staff, I remember thinking, “This is the kind of work I’d like to do.”

What’s the best advice a mentor gave you, and how do you incorporate that into your life?

AB: When facing a tough decision about a case, my colleague Lindsay once shared with a client, “Life comes first.” Remembering the human element of our work is critical because the law doesn’t operate in a vacuum; it functions in the context of people and communities. Helping our clients make important decisions does not just involve finding the right “legal” answer. It also involves understanding the client, their needs, and their goals. I always strive to tailor my approach when working to empower clients.