Andrew C. Hall is not the kind of trial attorney whose career can be summed up in mere paragraphs. For one, the list of his accomplishments over more than three decades in practice is voluminous, the details of the cases themselves almost too impactful to be easily explained. Maybe it’s enough to know that he served as defense counsel to President Richard Nixon’s former senior advisor for domestic affairs in the Watergate trials, or that he defended former Ambassador Marvin L. Warner in the aftermath of the Ohio savings and loan crisis. Or that as one of the country’s pre-eminent attorneys representing victims of state-sponsored terrorism, Hall made an appearance before the Supreme Court after the first Gulf War on behalf of the families of American hostages and torture victims.

Yet it barely scratches the surface. No conversation with Hall is complete without discussing his work for the victims of the 2000 terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole, which netted a $316 million payout from the Sudanese government or for his advocacy on behalf of a Cuban exile that ended up with a $2.8 billion judgment against the Cuban government. But spend five minutes on the phone with Hall, and it becomes abundantly clear that he considers it all in a day’s work—and that regardless of how high-profile the case, his motivation is always the same: a deeply rooted desire to speak up. 

“I have sensitivity to the abuse of power,” says Hall, who founded Hall, Lamb, Hall & Leto in 1975. “I have always been victim-oriented. The underlying culture of the firm comes from a personal commitment and a duty to speak for people or businesses who couldn’t speak for themselves.” 

That orientation is in no small part a result of being born in Poland to Jewish parents toward the tail end of World War II and spending early childhood either in hiding or separated from his parents. Today, from his vantage point as one of the leading attorneys of his time, those experiences might seem far off. But Hall—whose role as David versus the Goliaths of the world is one he has always been most comfortable playing—doesn’t take a single day, case, or experience for granted. It’s an attitude he has taken tremendous care to impart to the other attorneys at his firm, which counts fewer than 10 lawyers among its ranks (including his son Adam) and is as comfortable in bet-the-company litigation for multinational corporations as it is handling personal injury cases for individual plaintiffs.

“I always wanted to build a firm that would take pride in being best in show,” says Hall, whose first case—on behalf of his older brother, no less—went to the Florida Supreme Court. “I wanted to be the best at what we do, to gather a group of people who could make the appropriate commitment to being great lawyers.” Hall sticks as close to that commitment today as he did on the firm's first day in business more than 40 years ago. “Here we are,” he says. Indeed.