“Reflections on Three Decades of Serving Families” – By Dennis McAndrews, Esq.
Over the past thirty (30) years, I have experienced the privilege of representing individuals with disabilities, the elderly, and their families as a major part of my law practice. Working in this field has taught me that the synonym for “attorney” – – i.e., “counselor” – – has particular relevance. Drafting documents for our clients in these matters is often the easiest part of our work, because families with a disabled or elderly family member generally require more than merely documents. The families we serve frequently need connections to resources such as therapists, in-home services, residential facilities, and assisted living communities. Working in this field for three decades allows our firm to offer a large database of services and useful information which all of our attorneys and staff share with our clients.
Another attorney once asked me to describe the work of our firm. I explained that we provide a variety of legal services to allow clients to maintain critical public benefits, avoid unnecessary taxation, connect with services and providers which can enhance the quality of life to the people we serve, and obtain improved special education programs for children to become independent and self-sufficient. My colleague replied, “that is so much better than what I do every day – – I just move money from one person’s pocket to another.”
In our legal family, we do far more than draft documents and offer advice. We serve families, and in the process, we have the capacity to improve their lives. We are fortunate and blessed to be given this opportunity every day.
For over 25 years, McAndrews Law Offices has been committed to providing exceptional legal services in our areas of practice. The genesis of our firm began in 1982 when Dennis C. McAndrews, the firm’s founder, began his private practice of law.
The early years of his practice focused upon disability law and estate planning for persons with disabilities, much of which developed from the expertise Mr. McAndrews obtained in serving as Executive Director and Staff Counsel to two Pennsylvania Senate Committees which investigated the system of care for disabled persons in Pennsylvania.
Work in the field of special education was subsequently added to the practice, and in 1989 Mr. McAndrews was appointed as a part-time special education hearing officer, a post in which he served for over 15 years. The reputation of the firm was enhanced in the 1980s by Mr. McAndrews’ teaching appointments at Villanova University and Immaculata University, and he continues to teach at Villanova University to the present day.
From 1982 to 1995, Mr. McAndrews also served as a member of the Office of the District Attorney of Delaware County, and held the posts of Deputy District Attorney for Special Prosecutions and Deputy District Attorney for Law and Appeals. He resigned in 1995 to devote himself full-time to the private practice of law.
In February, 1996, The District Attorneys’ Office asked Mr. McAndrews to return to that office to work as a special prosecutor in the trial of John Eleuthere duPont, widely regarded as the wealthiest murder defendant in American history. After the successful prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of the defendant in that matter, Mr. McAndrews returned to the full-time private practice of law, and the growth of the current practice began to take shape.
Over the next decade, an array of talented attorneys and support staff have been added every year, and today form a highly collaborative and collegial team of professionals who enjoy their work, and who share a passion for serving the important needs of our clients every day.
For example, Heidi B. Konkler-Goldsmith is one of the most experienced and accomplished education law attorneys in Pennsylvania. Tanya Alvarado worked for the Disability Law Project and handled discrimination cases before coming to our firm. Heather Hulse combines two Master Degrees in psychology with her law degree and with her extensive experience in Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts and Special Education. Lesley Mehalick possesses a Masters in Tax Law and extensive experience in Estate Planning, Special Needs Trusts and Civil Litigation. Jennifer Bradley has quickly established herself as an accomplished special education attorney, using her extensive litigation skills obtained in seven years as an Assistant District Attorney in Berks County and Dean M. Beer recently joined us from the Philadelphia Public Defender’s office with over two decades of legal experience.
The biographies and resumes of our attorneys and our incomparable support staff are available on this web site. The relevant experience, education, training, and commitment of our staff are, we believe, unmatched in any firm in the United States which practices in our areas of specialty. Each member of our staff possesses invaluable legal and professional experience and training, as well as a commitment of service to the clients we represent.
Our Commitment to Service
Over the past 25 years, McAndrews Law Offices have developed a reputation for providing services to persons in need across the Delaware Valley. Our work on behalf of individuals with disabilities frequently affords us with opportunities to obtain appropriate educational programs and access to public services which families were unable to obtain on their own. In many cases, we have provided pro bono services or representation under which this office took substantial risk in accepting legal matters for individuals who were unable to pay legal fees. To the extent reasonably possible, McAndrews Law Offices assists individuals with unique personal and financial needs to obtain an enhanced quality of life.
Our office also provides dozens of informational seminars at no charge every year to interested members of the public.
McAndrews Law Offices is committed to providing community service in Pennsylvania in a variety of means. In addition to our extensive programs of providing pro bono and low cost legal services in selected cases, we offer a wide range of seminars to community groups and parent groups to provide public education with regard to special education, estate planning, and special needs planning.