Hello, I am Phil Andersen and I am very excited to be serving as your next Board President. I have had the pleasure of working on the Board for the last seven years, and have met many of you, but for those who don’t know me, let me tell you a little about myself.
I have been married to my wife Candace for 33 years and we are the parents of six children ranging in age from 18 to 31. Four of our children are married and we have three grandchildren with one more on the way. Our youngest son is serving as a Mormon Missionary in Salta Argentina.
I was born in Los Angeles but when I was five years old I had the great fortune to live on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. My parents moved our family (7 children) to the North Shore of Oahu (Laie) where my father worked as a Dean of what is now BYU Hawaii. Living in Hawaii was an amazing experience, but when I was 13, I got to leave one beautiful place for another – my family moved to Alamo where my father worked as the Executive Director of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). I love the Bay Area. I am a graduate of Monte Vista High School in Danville (Class of ’74 – Go Mustangs!).
I attended BYU for both undergraduate and law school, and it was there that I met my lovely wife. After law school, I began my practice in one of my two favorite places – Hawaii.
Hawaii is a special place for both of us. My wife’s family lived in Hawaii for five generations and her parents still live there, so we began our lives together in Hawaii. I started out at a small insurance defense firm in Honolulu. We lived with Candace’s parents for a few months before we rented a small cottage in Manoa Valley, close to the law school where Candace finished her last year.
After three years in Honolulu we decided it was time to move back to the mainland and we were drawn back to my other favorite place – the Bay Area. I was hired on by the insurance defense firm of Ropers Majeski in San Jose. I worked there for seven years until I was recruited away by an insurance company (USF&G) to manage their in-house insurance defense offices in San Jose and Walnut Creek. I enjoyed trying cases for them and managing the offices. They merged with St. Paul Insurance Company and my office moved to Oakland and increased in size. In 2003 I was recruited away to be the managing attorney for the State Farm in-house office. I have been with State Farm for 13 years now. Although I “fell into” insurance defense work, it turned out that I really enjoy the practice. I enjoy getting to know other attorneys, trying and settling cases and helping my clients.
Actually, that is really how I got involved with the Bar Association – by getting to know other attorneys. I had gotten to know Larry Cook trying cases on opposite sides. I enjoy working with him and his firm, along with the many other plaintiff firms in the Bay Area. He encouraged me to apply for an opening on the Board of Directors and helped me get nominated.
I consider myself lucky to be counted among the members of the board. I initially joined because I wanted to increase the scope of my networking with other attorneys, give back to the legal community and to help other lawyers in their practice. Now, having been on the board for seven years, I really appreciate the hard work that the board members do and the friendships we have developed.
One of the most rewarding parts of serving on the board is mingling with the sections and their leaders. I also enjoy working with the young lawyers and mentoring and helping them network. Recently, I have been fortunate to be part of the Diversity Committee under the leadership of past CCCBA president, Robin Pearson. In that role I was proud to invite Paulette Brown, the president of the ABA, to speak to us.
In addition to my work on the board, I am the president of the Insurance Staff Counsel Committee of the State Bar. I also serve as a volunteer pro tem judge and mediator for both San Francisco and Contra Costa counties. I am the Chair of the State Farm In-House Law Department Diversity and Inclusion Committee. I also serve as the chair of the San Francisco Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
Outside of my work in the legal field, I am also involved in many County events through my wife Candace’s work as a member of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors (District 2). Finally, and most importantly, I am involved in church service. In my “free time” I like to jog, sing and play the guitar for hospice patients and spend time with my three grandchildren.
During my time as Board President, my vision is to continue to emphasize and strengthen the 20 sections of the CCCBA and to focus on diversity and inclusion. In my view, the role of the bar is to “empower our members to deliver outstanding legal service to our community.”
I do not see any reason we cannot accomplish this. We have a very well-run association thanks to our Executive Director, Theresa Hurley, and our board and section leadership. I am looking forward to getting to know many more attorneys this year and giving back in any way I can.