Managing Partner and Head of the Cannabis and Hemp Department
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Mr. Sacks received his Bachelor of
Arts degree from
Grinnell College (1981) and his Juris Doctor degree from Dickinson School of Law (1984).
He is admitted to practice in all Pennsylvania state courts, as well as
the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and
the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Sixth Circuits. Additionally,
he is a member of the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Five
of his cases have gone before the Supreme Court to date.
Mr. Sacks began his legal career practicing personal injury law in Philadelphia.
Soon he was also administrating several legal service plans for large
labor unions (including Lodge 5 of the Fraternal Order of Police), servicing
a collective membership of more than 50,000 members and their families.
In 1994, Mr. Sacks purchased his employer’s assets and launched the
present firm. The firm continued to handle personal injury, medical malpractice,
and maritime matters. In addition, significant efforts were now devoted
to representing plaintiffs in toxic tort and
environmental contamination litigation. The direction of the practice changed immediately, as it diversified
in order to represent a broader client base.
A satellite firm was formed in New Orleans, closer to the clients whose
land had been contaminated. The firm rapidly pioneered N.O.R.M. litigation,
eventually resulting in the largest, single-landowner verdict in the nation’s
history – a $1.06 billion verdict. The firm is still one of the
country’s leading plaintiffs’ law firms in N.O.R.M. litigation,
as well as in other environmental and toxic tort matters.
Within the framework of the new partnership of Sacks Weston Diamond LLC,
Mr. Sacks maintains his dual interests in general practice law and environmental
law, with special focus on pursuing litigation against any company or
industry that damages the environment or injures property or individuals.
He is justifiably proud that he is one of the few U.S. attorneys who has
handled two cases in excess of $1 billion, including the landmark 2001
$1.06 billion verdict against ExxonMobil (see
here), and has
settled cases totaling over $3 billion. On account of these achievements, Mr. Sacks was admitted to membership in the
Billion Dollar Lawyers Association.
Andrew Sacks is also heavily involved with medical marijuana and industrial
hemp law formation, regulation, and updates in Pennsylvania, and he is
the leading legal professional in the state for these matters. In 2015, he
was selected by the
American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (ATACH) as the only lawyer to serve on their State Level Coalition. He has since
worked extensively with the association to promote fair laws surrounding
medical marijuana, cannabis, and hemp, focusing largely on how lawyers
can advocate legally for people working within those industries. He has
spoken at several seminars, including those for the
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the
Pennsylvania Canna-Business Seminar, and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
Mr. Sacks has personally lobbied state senators in conjunction with ATACH
(The American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp) to
move Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana regulations forward. It is no exaggeration to say that his own efforts have helped Pennsylvania
create the medical marijuana program currently in formation. He played
an integral part in
founding the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Bar Associations' Medical Marijuana
and Hemp Law Committees and in helping the Pennsylvania Bar Association
gain an understanding of the complexities inherent to medical marijuana
law. He is now the co-chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Medical
Marijuana and Hemp Law Committee (appointed by Pennsylvania Bar Association
President Sara Austin), as well as the
Philadelphia Bar Association Business Law Section: Medical Marijuana and
Hemp Committee. But perhaps his best contribution was to get the National Lupus Organization
to recognize the benefits of medical marijuana and to change its policy
to reflect it.
In addition to pursuing his law-related interests, Mr. Sacks served on
the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Tri-State Chapter of the Lupus
Foundation of America. He held this position for six years until he was
retired from the seat, as is policy at the foundation.