Lincoln County’s full-time prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Wright, is leaving his position to open a private practice in Brunswick.
Wright graduated from the University of Maine School of Law in 2003, and after working for two years in the then-Democratic Senate majority office in Augusta, came to work as an assistant district attorney in the area in August 2005, he said.
Wright has worked as an assistant district attorney in the area for the last 10 years, first for four years as a floater between Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties before coming to Lincoln County full time.
With his new practice, Wright said he will be working as a community lawyer with a practice consisting primarily of defense work, family law, and juvenile and child protective matters.
Wright did not attribute his decision to leave the district attorney’s office to a single reason, but said a number of different factors aligned.
“Ten years is a long time to be doing this, and I kind of stood on the precipice and said I’m either going to be here for the rest of my career or I’m going to go out and do something else,” he said.
Wright said he wanted to leave his position while he was still happy doing the work and good at it, and to leave it in the capable hands of those who will still work in the district attorney’s office.
“I think our D.A.’s office itself is a wonderful institution. We have great employees right now, Katie Hollstrom, the other ADA that’s around right now, is a phenomenal prosecutor and I know that she’s going to be able to hold down the fort,” Wright said.
Hollstrom said Wright has been a fantastic mentor for her.
“I couldn’t be more sad to see him leave,” she said.
Wright lauded law enforcement for their work in serving the public of Lincoln County, and said he believes people have always been treated fairly in the court system there.
“I think when I switch over to the other side of things, it’s just one more role in a greater picture of trying to serve and help our community,” he said.
Wright said it was fulfilling to work in Lincoln County, and he was proud to have done so.
“It is just a great place to be. Full of characters and stories, and sad things that we’ve had to deal with and really goofy things that we’ve had to deal with. There’s never a dull day in Lincoln County,” he said.
Wright didn’t go into detail on any specific cases when reflecting on his time as a prosecutor, but said child sex abuse cases are really hard to deal with and opiate addiction in the Midcoast is “a huge problem.”
“We’ve had a lot of cases,” Wright said. “We’ve had lobster thefts and elder abuse and vehicular manslaughters and child sex cases, bad assaults, and oftentimes people in our job seem to get down about the community we’re living in when they’re exposed to all this, but I think that the best way to look at it is this is the slim underbelly of our community, of this wonderful, safe place that we live in, and there’s bad things [happening] everywhere.
“Luckily we have a very small percent of those bad things, but we still have them, and it’s important that the police and the prosecutors and the defense attorneys and the courts and everyone involved is there to make sure that that slim underbelly doesn’t grow into something much worse because we do live in such a wonderful place.”
Geoff Rushlau, district attorney for Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, and Waldo counties, said it will be odd to see a former colleague “on the other side,” but said he wishes Wright well and believes he will be good at his new job.
Rushlau described Wright as very intelligent and having a very good trial record.
“Those are qualities that we’ll miss in the office and we hope that his replacement will be in the same league, but that’s going to be tough because he’s a very, very capable lawyer,” Rushlau said.
Rushlau is hopeful one of 10 new assistant district attorney positions included in the state budget will come to his district, and if so, he plans to add it to either Lincoln County or Sagadahoc County and assign the floater position as a full-time position in the other.
“As to who’s going to be in them, that remains to be seen,” Rushlau said.
Wright’s advice to whoever ends up filling his shoes: “There will never be an end of work, but don’t let it take you down.”
“Just remember that it’s a team approach, and it’s not just the D.A.’s office or the police or the court system, but all of us working together,” Wright said. “If you do that, then you should be successful.”
Wright’s practice, Andrew Wright Attorney At Law, will be located at 16 Union St. in Brunswick, telephone 558-2302.