Washington Law Review seeks to Spotlight alumni who have made notable contributions to the WLR journal or legal community. If you or someone you know fits this description and deserves to be recognized, please fill this form to nominate them for our Alumni Spotlight.
Spotlight Feature: Andrea Woods
Graduation Year: 2014
WLR Position: Managing Editor
Andrea Woods is a staff attorney and litigator for the ACLU’s national branch in New York. Andrea currently works with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, where she litigates to reduce the number of presumptively innocent people sitting in a jail because they cannot afford bail. Since the pandemic, Andrea has expanded her focus to include challenges to jails and prisons that are not adequately protecting incarcerated people from COVID-19. Andrea’s work is more important then ever during the pandemic: every day, thousands of presumptively innocent detainees who do not need to be in jail are confined and exposed to COVID-19 merely because they cannot afford bail.
After graduating from UW Law in 2014, Andrea was awarded a two-year clerkship with Judge Coughenour of the Western District of Washington. Afterward, she took a position with the ACLU, where she quite literally wrote the book on bail reform (Andrea is the author of the ACLU’s bail reform policy). In 2019, Andrea settled a case with Glynn County, Georgia where people facing financial hardship were being detained on bail for misdemeanor charges. As a result of Andrea’s work, individuals in Glynn County are no longer entrapped due solely to unaffordable bail. In 2020, Andrea wrote Boots and Bail on the Ground: Assessing the Implementation of Misdemeanor Bail Reforms in Georgia, and published the piece through Georgia Law Review. The article deconstructs misdemeanor bail practice in Georgia in the wake of recent reforms and discusses important issues of bail hearings for defendants facing financial hardship.
As a WLR alumnus, Andrea says that journal experience can give fledgling attorneys a leg up in research and writing. Additionally, she emphasizes the importance of developing soft skills that are integral to legal practice, such as those involved in negotiations or client interviewing. Andrea offers a reminder that lawyers cannot forget about the human element of legal practice, for example having a good sense of the perspectives of other players, such as opposing counsel or a judge. She urges WLR members and law students to seek out opportunities—through internships, clinics, or otherwise—to build those soft skills. Learn more about Andrea’s important work here.