Attorney at Law Magazine Cleveland Publisher Jim Shultz sat down with Ashley Jones to discuss what she’s looking forward to in the upcoming year.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about being a criminal defense attorney?
Jones: I find it rewarding to be able to help people who feel like they are in a hopeless situation. Whether it’s a traffic case or serious criminal allegations, there is some level of fear and helplessness that people feel when they have been accused of something and have to go to court. To be able to guide those individuals through a justice system that is less than user-friendly, is rewarding. I believe that’s an aspect of advocacy that we sometimes lose sight of – certainly as lawyers – this is a scary unknown territory to our clients. In addition to diligently defending our clients based on the law, we have to remember we also need to serve as a helpful guide.
AALM: What events are you most looking forward to this year?
Jones: I’m looking forward to serving my first term on the board of trustees of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. I was just sworn in June 3, and am really excited to get to work. The CMBA has provided me the opportunity for much personal and business development, and I am eager to work on strengthening the CMBA and finding ways for every lawyer in Cleveland to experience its benefits! Also, relating to the CMBA, I am the chair of the solo/small section and am excited to continue growing it!
Really, there is a lot to be excited for. I serve as the program coordinator for the Solo Practice Incubator at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, and am excited for the coming year where we believe we will have the maximum capacity of 10 lawyers in our incubator. It’s a blessing to help young lawyers hang their shingle because it was the best decision I ever made for my life and career, and I am honored to help others do the same.
AALM: What was the greatest lesson you learned in law school?
Jones: The greatest lesson I learned in law school was that your success will be determined by your preparation and the work you put in. I found this to be especially true when studying for the bar exam, and it’s the advice I give to any new law graduate studying for the bar. If you put the work in, you will be fine. I always remind myself of this lesson in my practice – be prepared, do good work, and you will be successful and get good results. Often, that means late hours, and going to the office on Saturdays to catch up, but it’s what my clients and my practice deserve.
AALM: What do you most hope to accomplish in the future?
Jones: My future goals are to continue building my practice and providing the best legal representation that I can. I would love to bring on an associate (or two!). I want to work on strengthening my second office which is in Akron, Ohio, and I also would like to teach, maybe at my alma mater, Cleveland-Marshall. I have also thought about running for judge in the future! I guess you would say I want to accomplish a lot, and am open to whatever the future holds!
AALM: What accomplishment are you most proud of achieving?
Jones: I am most proud of being the first in my family to attend college. My parents worked tirelessly to give me a great childhood and a great education. They instilled in me the values of hard work and perseverance, and always expected my best effort. To have come from a small Ohio town, to now living in Cleveland, a true city on the rise, is a testament to hard work and God’s blessings. I wasn’t one of those kids who knew that they wanted to be a lawyer. I actually thought I wanted to be a teacher, and, I guess, in some ways I am. But I never dreamed I would have the ability to help so many people through my practice. Lesson learned – be open to change.
AALM: Tell us about your practice and your daily role.
Jones: In solo practice, you are constantly juggling providing great legal representation with handling the business of the practice. You also wear a lot of hats (floppy hats, ball caps, straw hats, just joking). You wear the hat of phone answerer, networking extraordinaire, social media manager, blogger and janitor. And you have to consider, where do I find new business while also litigating and working diligently on existing cases. I am constantly trying to balance all of the work, while also finding innovative ways to market and grow my business. That’s probably the biggest challenge, but as is usually the case with challenges, is also the most rewarding aspect of my practice. Not only am I a lawyer, but I own a business. I have a paralegal, someone who is employed by me and depends upon me to provide a paycheck; that’s empowering. Empowering to work harder, do better, and do good.
AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Jones: Outside of work, I love anything Cleveland sports! My husband and I are huge Cleveland sports fans. I’m an Indians girl through and through. My husband always tells the story of when we first started dating and he was talking about the Indians and citing some player stats. I told him he was wrong and proceeded to school him in Indians stats! Despite all that, he continued to date me, and even asked for my hand in marriage! We love watching and going to Indians, Cavs, and yes, Browns games. We also love hanging out with our dog, Leroy. He is a miniature pinscher and the love of our lives!