The fiery intensity of a Legal Aid attorney backed by a lifetime of litigation experience. Civil rights attorney Stuart Andrews combines the two, bringing intensity, determination, and perseverance to every case. Both through clients he’s fought for and the policies he’s helped create, he’s devoted decades to generating systemic reform and giving lower-income South Carolinians greater access to the courts.
Stuart began his career as Legal Aid attorney, eventually rising to lead the state legal services policy program. In that position, he helped author two major pieces of legislation with lasting impact: the South Carolina Residential Landlord Tenant Act and the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act. The first helped balance landlord-tenant relationships, establishing legal protections from which renters today continue to benefit. The second was the first time South Carolina recognized domestic violence as a separate crime.
After his time with Legal Aid, Stuart joined a large regional law firm and established its first structured pro bono program. Within three years, his efforts resulted in honors from the American Bar Association as the National Pro Bono Firm of the Year.
A major piece of reform litigation brought under the pro bono program was a case in which Stuart was a lead partner against the South Carolina Department of Corrections. The class-action lawsuit led to a six-week trial that resulted in a ruling in favor of incarcerated men and women with serious mental illness. The judge found that the department’s inadequate services and punitive treatment of the plaintiffs put them at serious risk of substantial harm. The case was settled while on appeal, leading to the appropriation of millions of dollars by the South Carolina Legislature to increase the department’s mental health professionals. Other changes included new programs and specialized residential units and the adoption of new diagnostic and treatment standards. The case itself has spanned nearly 20 years and drew national attention, particularly to the cruelty of the solitary confinement of inmates with mental illness. Stuart later testified about that topic before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee.
In addition to civil rights, his practice at Burnette Shutt & McDaniel will include administrative law and qui tam whistleblower cases.
Stuart has represented healthcare systems for over 30 years in a wide range of civil and administrative litigation. Before joining Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, Stuart founded healthcare group for the largest law firm in the state. He advised hospital and medical executives in matters related to compliance with the complex field of Medicare and Medicaid laws and regulations, representing them in governmental investigations and whistleblower litigation. Stuart now brings to Burnette Shutt & McDaniel that deep knowledge and experience that can help whistleblowers navigate their claims with the government and their relationships with their employers. Stuart has been recognized for his healthcare practice by the Best Lawyers of America for over 25 years and as the Healthcare Lawyer of the Year for Columbia, SC,in 2010.
Stuart also fights for systemic reform through his volunteer work for advocacy organizations. He’s a long-time board member of the ACLU of South Carolina, currently serving as chair. He’s also a board member of Turn90, a nonprofit that offers classes, training and job placements for people transitioning from prison life. He is the former chair of the boards of Appleseed Legal Justice Center and South Carolina Legal Services and The South Carolina Access to Justice Task Force.