MARTINSBURG – An Air Force Judge Advocate General is Martin & Seibert's newest attorney.
Sandra Kay Drewniak joined the firm in mid-July after nearly a decade of service in several capacities with the United States Air Force. Most recently she was a Staff Officer for The National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va.
"A lot of people on the outside think military law is easy … that it's all upstanding individuals," Drewniak said in a recent interview. "Unfortunately, that is not the case. We have everything you see on the outside."
During her military career, Drewniak served as a staff attorney, Trial and Defense Counsel and Disability Defense Counsel. She also held several leadership positions within the Air Force, serving as Chief of the Military Justice Division and later the Civil Law Division. She was awarded an Air Force Commendation Medal for her outstanding trial work and later received a Commendation Medal from the Department of the Army for her work in the relief efforts during and after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
She said her background will help her in her new job.
"I believe my vast litigation experience in both the civilian and military communities will make me a valuable asset to this firm." Drewniak said. "I look forward to making immediate positive contributions to the firm and its clients."
Drewniak grew up in Borden, Ind., and worked in Indiana after receiving her law degree in 1997. She joined the military in 2000 and first was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base.
A former colleague was an Army colonel, and he told Drewniak she would be a good fit in the military.
"He was in the Guard, and he talked to me about the military," she said. "He said, 'You're high speed and like to give it to people. It would be a good fit.'
"I still am a JAG, currently in the Guard. I'm up to eight years of active duty service."
One of her last full-time military positions was a supervisor at the Camp Dawson Joint Interagency Training and Education Center in Kingwood, W.Va. She also worked at the Memorial Tunnel facility outside Charleston.
"My time was up … and I found this position with a chance to move back to the country," Drewniak said. "I'm happy. I love it here. This a very professional office and group of attorneys. I'm honored to work with the folks here."
Walter M. Jones, Managing Shareholder at Martin & Seibert, said the firm's litigation group will be in a position to bring a new level of representation to its clients.
"We are excited to have Sandra join our firm," Jones said. "We are a litigation firm, and the acquisition of an attorney with her trial experience will only enhance our ability to properly represent and defend our clients."
A graduate of the Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Drewniak was a member of the school's Moot Court and founded the Regent University Chapter of the American Trial Lawyers Association. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Louisville, where she graduated magna cum laude and was awarded membership into several of the schools ranking academic honoraries.
She is married and has one daughter named Savannah, who is almost 3.
"The one thing the military teaches you is that you become very flexible. You learn new areas of law very quickly. You become very adaptable. It makes you very versatile, and I know I can apply that here."
She said West Virginia and its hills remind her of her Indiana home.
"The people are so friendly," she said. "It's so nice to be in a place you can call home, where people actually say hi to you."