Andi MacKay (JD '99)

Class of 1998-1999

Andi is a trial and appeal lawyer at Winteringham MacKay. She has appeared at all court levels and is regularly involved in trials dealing with professional liability, criminal cases (both prosecutions and defense), commercial litigation, employment law, products liability, tavern liability, constitutional law, complex insurance litigation and tort litigation. Andi has been involved in many leading cases defining the scope of fiduciary duty and constructive trusts. In the criminal realm, Andi has been a prosecutor of complex criminal cases.

Andi graduated from the Allard School of Law in 1999 and was called to the bar in 2000. From 2000 to 2009, she was an associate at Berardino & Harris and Hunter Litigation Chambers working closely with one of the province’s most respected barristers. In 2009, Andi and her colleagues Janet Winteringham, Q.C (JD ’99) and Sean George formed Winteringham MacKay as a boutique litigation firm in gastown in Vancouver.

What did you do before law school?

Before law school I worked as a server in different restaurants around town. Surprisingly, being a server gave me lots of skills that I have used in my law practice: time management, crisis management, dealing with unruly people and the cardinal rule that smiling under pressure is always the best way to go.

What led you to pursue law as a career?

For me it was an inexorable pull. I did not have anyone in my family who was a lawyer and no real experience with it but somehow I knew that it would all work out and that it was the best choice for me.

What is your most memorable law school moment?

A friend of mine boosted me up to the old “concrete” beams in the old law school to confirm that they were actually painted wood to settle a bet. There was a whole other universe of crawly stuff up there.

What motivated you to leave your previous firm to start Winteringham Mackay?

It was probably overconfidence and a little bit of madness that motivated me. I have worked with Bill Berardino, Q.C., who is for sure on of BC’s top lawyers for my entire career. Bill always taught me to dream and plan how you were going to make it happen. Having Bill’s support and also the support of the lawyers at Hunter Litigation Chambers was invaluable—teaching me that if I had some courage I could do it.

What is the best aspect of your job?

I try not to run from the fear but rather embrace it and use it to help me become a better lawyer. So I’d have to say that the fear is the best part. Fear of being in court, fear of getting something wrong, fear of letting down a client—this is what I like best because it motivates me and makes me better. I also like having a meaningful role in the justice system and answering that question you always get asked at parties: what would you do if you were asked to represent someone you know is guilty? [My answer is always the same: I would represent them because I am their lawyer and not the judge].

What is the most difficult part of your job?

The fear!

What misconceptions do people have about appeal litigation? How does it differ from trial litigation?

Many people think that an appeal is a chance to reargue a case. It is not. The best appeal lawyers I have seen are courageous ones who choose: they chose the best aspect of their case and let the rest go. This is not that much different than trial work because you never want to go into a trial without a well planned strategy. But you don’t have to be quite as selective at trial as you do on appeal.

What do you do in your free time?

I wander around in the woods a lot and take lots of pictures. I am getting into hiking and I’ve always been a closet photographer so the two come together well. I also like to paddleboard and I have a current goal of learning to sail.