Andrew Stroth, Action Injury Law Group Managing Partner, discusses how his civil rights law firm uses technology to obtain justice for families that have been torn apart by police violence. He describes what motivated him to leave his job representing celebrities to start a civil rights practice, and discusses the racism that still plagues society in 2020.
Watch the full conversation below, or read the highlights below.
“Data Is Driving Our Firm”
Stroth’s firm uses Litify for case management, building a network of connections, and for gathering and analyzing data, which powers the work they do.
“Data is driving our firm, whether it’s evaluating settlements and verdicts, whether it’s leveraging the platform to help us be efficient on all of our filings,” he says. “I want to be able to run a national law firm from anywhere in the world, and we need the technology, and we want to leverage the technology in a big way. So when I saw the platform you guys have built, it’s amazing to me.”
The Action Injury Law Group is an extremely tech-savvy firm that uses data, surveillance footage, drones, programs, and expert input to reconstruct injury scenes. In the case of 84-year-old Verona Gunn, who was killed in a car crash, the firm was able to discern the exact moment the light changed and the exact speed the vehicles went through the intersection.
Moreover, Stroth says that he needs data to reinforce the settlement and verdict numbers he seeks. “I can’t go to the mayors of these cities, or the corporation council, without the data to support the ask,” he says. “If I’m going to ask the city for ten million dollars, I’m going to have the data to support that ask.”
He calls technology “the great equalizer,” adding, “When you combine great legal work with a ground game, with a vision towards advancing civil rights, and technology, that’s a pretty powerful combination. And that’s why we’re winning.”
Using Social Media to Amplify Victims’ Stories
Though he acknowledges that social media is a double-edged sword, Stroth says that it can be a boon to his team when a story goes viral.
“The power and speed of social media is just incredible,” he says. “On one hand, it’s been helpful for us when we filed a lawsuit and released a video that created a fire on social media. Everyone in the world is now a citizen journalist, because everyone has a cellphone. There have been many situations where video’s been captured that showed the truth as to what happened. But a lot of people spread mistruths and hatred on social media. I don’t know what the balance is.”
He cites the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery as an instance in which “but for that video evidence, people would not believe that that’s happening.”
Stroth started the Truth, Hope and Justice Initiative on Facebook to give the mothers of victims of injustice, such as Arbery (or Tamir Rice, or Laquan McDonald, or Michael Brown, or Freddie Gray) a platform to share their stories. “I can’t bring their son back. But how do we lift up their voices? Every mother I represent has a story.”
“Our mission is to advance civil rights in America, and to amplify the voices of the mothers. Mothers are the first responders,” he says.
Two years ago, 100 of these mothers marched on Washington, D.C. and met with members of Congress. On September 17 of this year, they will have a virtual day of action advocating for the PEACE Act: a bill aimed at making the use of police force more consistent and less deadly.
Stroth says it will be an uplifting and inspiring event. “How do you turn the pain into purpose?”
“How Do We Leverage the Law to Advance the Rights of Others?”
After many years of representing star athletes like Dwyane Wade and Donovon McNabb, Stroth walked away to found his civil rights firm and devote himself to advancing civil justice. He wasn’t sure if he’d made the right decision until December 2019, when Jose Nieves’s killer, Lowell Houser, was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to ten years in prison — only the third time in 50 years that a police officer was convicted of murder.
Walking out of the courtroom and hugging Nieves’s mother, Stroth’s doubts evaporated. “It reinforced to me that I’m right where God wants me to be, and we’re doing exactly what we’re supposed to do to advance this cause at this moment in history.”
He hopes to inspire other attorneys to think not only in terms of the money they can make but the difference in people’s lives. “I would challenge the lawyers in the Litify network and all of us, how do we leverage the law, and our experience and expertise, not just to make money — of course they’ll make a lot of money — but how do we advance the rights of others?”
Stroth feels that Litify has “built a DNA and a culture of people who want to make a difference,” and it’s a network of “bright attorneys with complementary practices” that he will continue collaborating with in order to advance his cause.
“How do you combine your purpose and your passions to make a real impact?” he says. “At the end of the day, you can’t take all that money to the grave. So how can you use your law license to effect real systemic change?”
“I don’t want my legacy to be that I represented Donovan McNabb and Dwyane Wade. I want my legacy to be that I advanced social justice in America.”