Photos L to R: At home in Santa Barbara; presenting on lawyer well-being at Harvard Law School; with Dave Klaus and Gideon’s Promise at the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama.

Be Sustained is brought to you by Jenny Andrews, a California public defender for over twenty years.

A child of counterculture, raised off the grid by back-to-the-land hippies on the Lost Coast in Northern California, Jenny Andrews is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School.

She started her career as a public defender in Oakland, California in 1996, but left after seven years, after experiencing burnout and moral injury, and didn’t practice law for three years. She returned to public defense work in 2007, and has continued working as a public defender in Sonoma County and Santa Barbara County, in a wide variety of positions, including: Forensic Resource Counsel, Felony Team Leader, Director of Training, and Senior Deputy. Since 1996, she has worked on the front lines of criminal trial courts and has consistently and aggressively litigated cases, including misdemeanor, felony, juvenile, civil commitment (mentally disordered offender and sexually violent predator), mental competency, homicide and multi-jurisdiction (and multi-jury) trials. She has carried specialized caseloads requiring complex, forensic and capital litigation.

She teaches on the faculties of Gideon’s Promise, the National Association for Public Defense, the National Criminal Defense College, the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School, the California Public Defenders Association, and the NAPD Online Academy. She has taught in public defense training programs in New York, New Jersey, Montana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Georgia, and in public defense offices throughout California. She has designed and presented training programming for public defenders working at all levels, from intern through capital litigation, and in specialized areas such as trial skills, challenging forensic evidence, discovery litigation, mentorship, and sustaining well-being. She has conceptualized and launched a Felony Team Unit, a Pre-Arraignment Unit, and Be Well Wednesday, a weekly wellness meet-up with experiential practices for public defenders.

She thrives in collaborative settings and has worked on a team to design a structured public defense mentorship program, led a committee planning national conference curriculum, and collaborates with several national committees and work groups on public defense training, sustaining well-being, and challenging forensic evidence.

She created and teaches a series of online course for the NAPD Academy on Sustaining Well-Being in Public Defense, and presents frequently in public defender offices and training programs on supporting and sustaining well-being.  

She has been a certified yoga teacher since 2004, previously worked in the education department of Yoga Journal magazine, and is a longtime student of yoga and mindfulness practices. She believes in finding supportive practices to sustain a career in public defense—hers include yoga and meditation, writing, sailing, hiking along the beach with her husband and daughter, and tending a rural apple farm in Northern California.