At an early age, Andrea Pleimling Smith knew she was going to be an attorney.
While some girls played with dolls, Smith and her best friend would play "lawyer" when growing up together in Madison, Wis.
Today, the 35-year-old Fort Myers resident is a partner and shareholder at Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz, alongside her husband, Christopher Smith, who holds the same position at the law firm. That childhood friend, by the way, ended up becoming an attorney as well.
“From a child, I had it in my head that I was going to be a lawyer,” says Andrea Smith, who focuses on personal injury litigation and insurance disputes. “It was just something that I told myself I was doing. I really like the fact that every day is different. I’m all over the place doing depositions. I can never say that I’m bored. I’m always learning new things.”
Andrea Smith says she and her husband, who met on opposing sides in a court trial before they found themselves at the same firm about four years ago, have set a goal to stay with and grow the company.
Smith has also moved quickly through her practice — she joined it in 2014 and rose to partner in three years — where she also manages the firm's office in fast-growing Port Charlotte. Outside the firm, Smith is president of the Lee County Association for Women Lawyers and is on the 20th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, appointed to the influential panel in 2018 by then-Gov. Rick Scott.
The Smiths have also devoted some of their time toward a local Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter because Andrea Smith says they not only often represent clients who have been injured by impaired drivers but that she and her husband had family members who were impacted as well.
“They do such great work in the community,” she says. “It’s great to see how they work with law enforcement to try to stem drunk driving in this area.”
ON THE RECORD: Andrea Pleimling Smith
City of residence: Fort Myers
Employer: Goldstein, Buckley, Cechman, Rice & Purtz PA
Birthplace: Madison, Wisconsin
Years on the Gulf Coast: 10
Marital status/children: Married, no children
Alma mater/degree: Marquette University Law School
Where is the best place to network? Somewhere/doing something you genuinely enjoy.
What's the best business lesson you've ever learned? The importance of client satisfaction — even with all the advertising we do, most of our clients come to us through referrals.
What's your top tip for being productive? Get organized and make a list.
What's the weirdest job you've ever had? I wouldn't say weird, but I worked for my mom's floral business from a very young age until law school. I learned about customer service and hard work through that experience — and can also create beautiful floral arrangements.
What community group or organization are you most involved with? MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), and I am president of Lee County Association for Women Lawyers.
If you could have a side hustle, what would it be? An animal sanctuary — not sure that's really a side hustle, but it's something that I hope to accomplish in the future.
What's your favorite off-hours activity? Back-country skiing
What's your favorite board game or video game? Words with Friends
What's the top item on your bucket list? Climbing Kilimanjaro
Where is your happy place? Park City, Utah
What's your favorite podcast? Gwyneth Paltrow's "Goop" podcast. Healthy living is one of my passions.
Who/what is your favorite musical artist/band? Red Hot Chili Peppers
Who would play you in a movie about your life? Good question. I hardly watch any movies or TV, so that's a tough one.
What was your first album/tape cassette/CD? Madonna
What was your first concert? Britney Spears
What's one song that will get you out on the dance floor? Any classic '90s pop song
What's your favorite karaoke song? I know my limitations. I definitely do not subject people to my singing.
What instrument/role would you play in a band? Definitely not lead singer
Please describe yourself in three words: Hard working, motivated, genuine