Joe Andrew: An Advocate of Advocates –

Private equity players are very familiar with the lifestyle: living on an airplane, flying from city to city so counterparts know that you really are dedicated, spending that little bit of free time with family. Sure, being a private equity pro is hard work, but add to that a political career, writing and publishing novels and charity work, and you have the life of Joe Andrew, partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft.

To say that he’s active would be stating it too simply. Andrew has made a career out of juggling several careers.

“I’ve always tried to live a life where I wasn’t doing one thing or the other,” says Andrew. “I wasn’t just a corporate lawyer, I wasn’t just a political activist. I write novels. I publish novels and publish short stories and spent a good portion of my life involved in historic preservation.”

A rush of opportunities presented themselves to Andrew during his days as a young lawyer and an ambitious political campaigner. Through his dedication to various political campaigns, such as ‘s 1984 presidential run, Evan Bayh‘s run for secretary of state and later for Senate, and a number of other races in his home state of Indiana, Andrew developed a network of high-profile political operatives. Simultaneously, his work as a corporate lawyer on Wall Street and later back in Indiana was building his experience in mergers and acquisitions and helping him develop an expertise in regulated industries. “If you’re choosing between Joe Andrew and another lawyer, the reason you choose Joe Andrew is because you want to make sure you have someone who understands the complexities of government in a regulatory environment,” he says.

As a result of this expertise, Andrew has spent much of his M&A practice focusing on industries such as banking, finance, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and, to a lesser extent, transportation.

The Food Chain

Since his first years out of law school in the 1980s, Andrew’s political career has fed his M&A career and vice versa. In the mid-80s, Andrew took a hiatus from Wall Street law firm Sullivan & Cromwell to return to Indiana and help friend Evan Bayh get elected as secretary of state there. During that period, he met the woman who would become his wife, Anne Slaughter, and decided to join Baker & Daniels, a traditional corporate practice in Indianapolis. He later moved to Bingham Summers Welsh & Spilman, also in Indianapolis.

Many young corporate lawyers would have a tough time giving up a position at a Wall Street firm to head to the Midwest, but Andrew says it was just what he needed to give his legal career a jumpstart. “It allowed me to stand out a little bit and allowed me to play a larger role in smaller deals than I ever would have had I stayed in New York,” he says. “I got to play first chair role in the transactions; and while they had a lot fewer zeros on the end of them, they were just as complicated and obviously meant just as much to the clients as the billion-dollar transactions that we do everyday at Cadwalader.”

In turn, moving to Indianapolis gave Andrew the opportunity to continue his political endeavors in Indiana. In 1994, Bayh, who was then governor of Indiana, asked Andrew to consider the position of Indiana state chair for the Democratic Party. In 1995, he was elected to that position and changed the course of Indiana politics forever. Bayh was the first Democrat to be elected Governor of Indiana in 24 years, and was the only statewide officeholder who was a Democrat. So Bayh and Andrew set out to change that trend, and succeeded. “We focused on bringing the business community into our party, making it as inclusive as possible, so that people with a financial interest in the success of Indiana directly-by being leaders of corporations-understood that those interests were shared by the men and women on the street, like people in labor unions,” says Andrew. “We tried to bring a little bit of the sizzle of Silicon Valley to Main Street, Indiana – using new technologies to do old-fashioned grassroots politics identifying voters and making them understand what our candidate believed in, and why they were fighting for them.”

With this strategy, Indiana in the nineties began electing more democratic office holders with fewer self-identified democrats than any other state in the country, electing Governor Frank O’Bannon, Lieutenant Governor Joe Kernan, and Attorney General Jeff Modisett. Additionally, Andrew turned the debt-ridden Democratic party of 1994 into a money machine, raising more money per capita than any Democratic state party in the U.S., with $4.9 million in 1996 and $5.8 million in 1998. That same time period also marked the first time the Indiana Democratic Party had raised more money than the Indiana Republican Party for three successive years. “Other people spend their charitable time trying to change something that they think they can change,” he says. “That’s why I spend my time in politics. I believe that’s the best use of my time and my money to try to elect the people that I think will create at least a U.S., if not a world, that I’m more comfortable with.”

Still, Andrew’s dedication to law and corporate transactions never waned. In early 1995, while in the midst of his political achievements, Andrew and Gerald Richardson, then chief executive officer of Biosound, set up The Anson Group, a private equity firm that focuses on investments in the biotechnology and medical device industries. Andrew met Richardson as the two worked together to engineer the buyout of Biosound by Italian medical conglomerate Esaote. The Anson Group, based in Indianapolis, was created to do consulting for the biotechnology industry in addition to providing venture capital for management teams in related areas. In the late 1990s, Andrew sold his stake in The Anson Group in order to make his play in the national political arena.

The Big Leagues

With his M&A legal practice going strong, a private equity group up and running and the Democratic Party of Indiana thoroughly impressed, Andrew was about to be drafted to the big leagues. In the second half of the 1990s, the democrats were falling on hard times inside the Beltway. The campaign finance scandal was doing damage to the party, the National Chair Steve Grossman decided to retire to tend to family matters, and the party was in need of a new leader. “They had a need or interest in finding someone who was outside of Washington, who had not been tainted by the scandal, who would be perceived as a white knight and turnaround expert, who had tried to find ways to get Democrats elected where they weren’t usually elected,” Andrew says. “Lo and behold, people stumbled across me.”

So, in 1999, Andrew was off to the nation’s capital, where he became the youngest chair of the Democratic National Committee in its 164-year history. Suddenly, he was the CEO of a major organization with more than 5,000 employees and hundreds of thousands of volunteers. And Andrew didn’t disappoint, helping the party rebound from debt problems and the impeachment of then-President Bill Clinton. “We raised $250 million over two years, which was almost 100% more than the party had ever raised before,” he says.

Not only did his role as DNC chair put Andrew clearly on the political map, but it gained him the respect of heavyweights like Senator Tom Daschle, Congressman Dick Gephardt, then-President Clinton and then-Vice President Al Gore. It also brought new inspiration to his career in law.

In Andrew’s words, lawyers are, by definition, the kind of people who want to be involved in their communities hence, his dual passion for law and politics. Equally, it explains why Andrew chose to work for Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, a law firm whose roster reads like a who’s who in politics. Andrew’s addition to the firm marked the debut of a new kind of law initiative. In addition to his role as partner, Andrew is the chairman of the newly formed public affairs group, which addresses the overlapping issues between M&A transactions and government regulation issues.

Joe Andrew


Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft

Born: March 1, 1960, Indianapolis, Ind.

Education: B.A., Yale University, 1982; J.D., 1985

Career Path: Sullivan & Cromwell, summers of 1984, 1985; Baker & Daniels, 1986 – 1983; Chief Deputy Secretary of State for the State of Indiana, 1989 – 1991; Bingham, Summers, Welsh & Spilman, 1991 – 1995; Chairman, Indiana Democratic Party, 1995 – 1999; The Anson Group, 1995 – 1999; Johnson Smith LLP, 1997 – 2001; Cadwalader, Wichersham & Taft, 2001- Present

Last Book Read: The Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks

Favorite Book: Raintree County by Russ Lockridge

Last Movie Seen: Whatever they show on the airplane

Favorite Movie: Touch of Evil

Favorite Food: Italian

Favorite Web Site:

Wheels: Chrysler

Favorite Travel Destination: Tuscany

Pet Peeve: Pessimism

Most Admired Historical Figure: Thomas Jefferson

Favorite Quote: “It’s time for me to go.” – Al Gore, December 2000

Hobbies: “My kids’ soccer and baseball teams,” jogging, novel writing

Investment Philosophy: “Keep it simple.”