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Lessons Learned: How working at Lowrey & Fortner challenged Valerie to step outside her comfort zone

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

Valerie Moss Andrews joined Lowrey & Fortner law firm in November 2016.

She hit the ground running as a criminal defense attorney, working directly with Tom Fortner.

Valerie knew nothing of the firm but had heard about Tom’s success throughout the state.

“Because I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, I applied at Lowrey and Fortner to work for Tom,” Valerie said.

Tom immediately recognized that not only was Valerie a skilled criminal defense attorney, but that they shared a common goal: advocacy.

Valerie was hired and hit the ground running.

Her practice includes:

  • Criminal Felony Cases: Capital Murder (Death Penalty eligible), all other types of murder and/or manslaughter cases; other serious felony charges including but not limited to robbery, burglary, assault and sexual assault, all controlled substance charges.

  • Criminal Post-Conviction Cases: Wrongful conviction, ineffective assistance of counsel resulting in conviction, wrongful incarceration, attacks on guilty pleas, etc.

  • Criminal Appeals: Appeal of criminal convictions from all circuit courts to the Mississippi Supreme Court and Mississippi Court of Appeals.

  • Expungements: Related to eligible felony and misdemeanor convictions.

  • D.U.I. defense

She and Tom quickly built a trust with one another.

“We tried two capital murder cases within my first year,” Valerie said. “Those trial experiences and other significant courtroom experiences have taught me a lot in my first three years of practice.”

Before being hired at the firm, Valerie says she had very little courtroom experience.

“Before joining Lowrey and Fortner, I was mostly into research and writing staying behind the scenes with no courtroom experience,” Valerie said. “In law school, I was on law journal rather than moot court or trial advocacy, so I truly had little to no courtroom practice. Since being with Lowrey and Fortner, that has drastically changed, and I’ve gained more confidence in a courtroom setting.”

Tom’s guidance paired with Valerie’s abilities allowed her to push herself harder when it came to her practice.

“The firm has improved my confidence in my practice by encouraging me along the way to step outside my comfort zone,” Valerie said.

Valerie and Tom both recognize the firm’s 40 years of excellence but know that work is still left to be done.

With Tom’s mentoring and Valerie’s ambition, propelling the firm’s success is imminent.

As they continue to work together, Valerie grows more and more confident in her practice.

“I hope to continue the legacy of the firm by diligently representing my clients through trial and appellate advocacy,” Valerie said. “I have a lot to live up to with Tom as my mentor, and I only hope to be half the lawyer he is one day.”

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