Alumna Feature: Ashley Campbell '03

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Name and Year of Graduation from UNC Law:

Ashley Huffstetler Campbell, UNC Law Class of 2003

Place of employment:

Ragsdale Liggett PLLC, Raleigh

Area of practice:

Business Litigation with a focus on real estate litigation and professional malpractice matters, particularly accounting malpractice.

Favorite class/professor in law school:

Professor Robert Byrd who taught 1L torts. He was very “old school” in the vein of the Paper Chase. He was an excellent and exciting teacher who always kept us on our toes.

Pro Bono experience in law school:

I started a project called the HIV/AIDS Legal Assistance project that provided estate planning services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

What inspired or prompted you to start doing Pro Bono work?

My parents taught me from an early age that we should serve those in need. I volunteered as a teenager in the first home for people living with AIDS in North Carolina, the House of Mercy in Belmont NC, and it inspired me to serve people living with the disease. In the 1990s and early 2000s, AIDS was still a death sentence for many people carrying the disease. Today, thankfully, many people live healthy, productive lives with AIDS.

What does your current Pro Bono practice look like?

I currently serve as the Board Chair at StepUp Ministry, which is a non-profit located in Raleigh that helps the jobless find jobs and develop skills to improve their lives. In that capacity, I provide advice to the non-profit on a variety of legal and business topics. I also typically provide legal services to non-profits that hire me at reduced rates. I have also volunteered in the past for Legal Aid of North Carolina, assisting victims of domestic violence with obtaining domestic violence protective orders.

Which Pro Bono experience gave you the most professional pride?

I began my career as a lawyer with Legal Aid of North Carolina. One of my roles was to represent tenants in disputes with their landlords. During my first year of practice, I handled an appeal to the NC Court of Appeals with my friend and mentor, Ted Fillette, a renowned poverty lawyer. We prevailed, and in a published opinion Dean v. Hill, the court reaffirmed the rights of North Carolina residential tenants to safe and habitable housing. I have since had many successes in the Court of Appeals but this decision, which continues to hang on my wall in my office, is my greatest source of professional pride.

Name one new thing you learned from Pro Bono work that you would not have known otherwise.

When you work with people who are living in poverty, you realize that they have life challenges that impact your representation of them. For example, many of them work low wage jobs with little time off and cannot meet you for an appointment during regular business hours. Many do not have reliable transportation or telephones. You must adapt to your clients’ needs when you work with people living in poverty. It gives you tremendous respect for how difficult life is for so many who do not have access to the basic resources that many of us take for granted.

How do you locate Pro Bono projects?

Many people know about my background as a legal aid lawyer and will request that I provide assistance on an as needed basis. For example, I was recently contacted by the Wake County Clerk of Court to assist with a domestic violence project that involves helping the clerk’s office begin a process of electronic filing for domestic violence orders.

Do you prefer to handle Pro Bono projects on your own; or do you like to work with a non-profit or other partner organization?

I typically prefer to work with a non-profit partner who will screen the client or the issue before it comes to me.

What is the single best reason you can give a law student to continue Pro Bono service in practice after graduation from law school?

There is nothing more satisfying that helping a person who is truly in need. I was told on more than one occasion by a client that I was the only person in their life who had ever advocated for them in any capacity. It was incredibly moving.

Posted by Jared S. Smith on Tue. June 30, 2015 12:00 PM
Categories: Alumni Features
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