A resourceful, creative attorney accustomed to unorthodox challenges
Andrea Yoak says some attorneys fall into a rut of viewing every legal issue through the same narrow lens. Consequently, they work with a limited array of tools and apply them in a rote, mechanical manner.
“Some lawyers have a hammer and they only know how to use a hammer,” Andrea says. “Whether the situation calls for a screw or a nail or a washer, they’re going to take a hammer to it the same way every time. But people are never the same and circumstances are never the same, no matter how similar they may seem. You can’t treat every client or case the same.”
Andrea is determined to consider all of the tools at her disposal and to apply them in the best way possible for each unique case she faces. As one colleague says, “Andrea isn’t afraid of getting down in the trenches.” A versatile and flexible attorney, Andrea has a knack for thinking creatively to solve the challenges that come her way—and there are a wide variety of them. Andrea represents institutional and individual clients in obtaining adult guardianships, including serving as fiduciary where necessary. She also serves as guardian ad litem for incapacitated adults and for children in infant settlement/personal injury matters. In addition, she is a part of ThompsonMcMullan’s litigation team. Those practice areas contain vast realms of possibilities.
Andrea says she appreciates the unpredictable nature of her practice, which calls on her to be resourceful, inventive and cool-headed as she tackles challenges that test her both emotionally and intellectually. “It’s never the same thing two days in a row,” she says. She keeps a bedbug suit in the back of her truck and has the phone number of a cat wrangler. She particularly enjoys cases that take her to court, a setting where she thrives.
“Every day I need to figure out how to handle something new,” she says.
Andrea considers herself “a doer,” laser-focused on finding efficient, practical solutions to sometimes seemingly insurmountable challenges. She is rarely knocked off stride by problems that arise, guided in part by a natural empathy for clients who are stuck in difficult circumstances. Andrea feels especially rewarded working with the elderly, though the issues at play can be heartbreaking.
“I just try to get to work trying to figure out the best and most efficient way to fix whatever problem comes up,” she says. “I want to do what I can to help things get better for them.”
Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Family Formation
- Guardianships and conservatorships of incapacitated persons
- Resolving estate and trust administration issues
- Compel accounts from attorneys-in-fact
- Estate planning and administration
- Fiduciary and chancery litigation
- Impeachment of wills
- Partition of jointly held real estate
- Reformation of trust agreements
- Suits for aid and guidance
- Substitution or removal of executors/trustees
- Effect distributions of property under UCTA/UTMA
- Selected to the Super Lawyer’s “Rising Stars” Virginia List, Elder Law category (2010, 2013 – 2019)
- Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite,” Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law category (2014, 2019)
- Washington and Lee University School of Law, J.D.
- Davis & Elkins College, B.A, History and Political Science
- All Virginia courts including the Supreme Court of Virginia
- Virginia State Bar
- Richmond Bar Association
- President, Board of Directors, Greater Richmond Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association