Attorney at Law Magazine Jacksonville Publisher Tom Brady sat down with Ashley M. Myers to discuss her win on the Barry Sinoff Award Of Excellence.
AALM: Do you have any mentors or professors that encouraged you along the way? What is the best lesson they taught you?
Myers: If I had to choose one thing that has had the most significant impact upon my practice and professional quality of life, it would be my mentors. I am constantly amazed by my mentors’ generosity with their time. I treasure the support, advice, confidence, friendship and encouragement that they have given me and am truly humbled by their faith in me.
As I have “grown up” in the legal field, I have sometimes felt like a kid who’s always watching the “adults” around her. I am still watching, learning and trying to emulate behavior that I respect. I believe that when you treat someone else as if she is smart, capable and worthy of respect, she will tend to act more in line with those expectations. At least, that is how I responded to the attorneys who didn’t choose to underestimate me. They treated me as if I brought just as much to the table as themselves, regardless of age, gender, experience, attendance at the “right” school, or anything else.
Mr. Barry Sinoff treated me this way. Confidence inspires competence.
AALM: What case most defined or redefined your practice?
Myers: When I had barely been issued my Florida Bar card, I fell into a paternity case in which I represented the unwed mother with scant resources. The father was a famous baseball player. The case spanned three states, involved multiple third parties and experts, my opposing counsel’s experience far exceeded mine, all kinds of nasty allegations swirled amongst the parties and there was prolific media coverage. I was clearly out of my league, but my bosses at the time, had tremendous confidence in me, which inspired me to perform and gain confidence in myself, which led to greater competence in the field of family law.
AALM: What was it like to be the first woman in the Jacksonville area to be honored as a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers?
Myers: Very humbling. I never wanted to be a part of any club that would have me as a member, but this one is different. It is without a doubt, the most valuable professional experience of my career. The AAML has it all – inspirational colleagues, a bevy of resources and provides lifelong friendships. I just cannot say enough positive things about it.
AALM: Did you ever have the chance to meet Mr. Barry Sinoff ? If so, please share a little about it.
Myers: Yes, and he is someone I watched intently. He set an extremely high bar for professionalism and competence. He somehow managed to combine advocacy with humanity. As opposing counsels, we dealt with extremely volatile and sensitive subject matters and situations that also had very high personal and financial stakes. He showed me how to navigate those waters with grace and integrity.
I hope one day I will be granted the opportunity to emulate him and show someone else coming along how to do the same.