Our Lawyer Spotlight series highlights Illinois lawyers who are demonstrating the ideals of professionalism in their daily lives.
Ashley Davis is a Partner at FeldmanWasser in Springfield. She practices primarily in family law, custody, divorce, adoption, and guardian ad litem work.
Ashley is a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Sangamon County Bar Association, and Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association. She earned her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.
How has your practice evolved during the last few years?
With the pandemic, everyone has had to adapt in some ways.
There has been a move towards more remote or virtual meetings and court appearances. I still value face-to-face contact, but court hearings via Zoom or conference call has helped keep costs lower for the clients.
In addition, as everyone has become more adept at videoconferencing, I am able to offer that as a way to meet clients if they are unable to come in due to work, family, or other constraints.
What’s one piece of technology you couldn’t function without?
My iPhone. It is my calendar, my email, my way to speak to clients or judges, my camera, and a myriad of other things.
How do you manage your well-being?
I have learned how to separate my cases from my personal life. Doing family law, you are dealt high stress situations daily.
I have to remember that I am there to help clients, but I can’t change the facts. They created the facts, and I have to help them find a way forward, but it’s not my fault for the situation in the first place.
Keeping my personal life separate from work allows me to focus on my family. I am appreciative every day for my family and how they support me.
How do you remain civil in tense situations?
It should never be difficult to stay civil, especially with other attorneys. We all advocate for our clients, but we can do so in respectful ways.
Advocating doesn’t mean putting the other attorney down or being dismissive, but rather respectfully stating your position.
If one side becomes disrespectful, you have to remember to not stoop to that level. Stay respectful, even if it is not reciprocated.
How can attorneys advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession?
Encouraging and hiring more diversity is key. At one time, female attorneys were a small percentage of the bar. Now, women make up a sizeable percentage.
We need to make the same strides with other diverse groups. We can’t be dismissive of ideas or suggestions with which you may not be familiar. Be willing to adapt and change, even if it’s uncomfortable.
What is an attorney’s role in furthering public confidence in the rule of law?
Always be truthful. You can be a zealous advocate, but don’t cross ethical lines.
At the same time, don’t be afraid to help educate the public if a widely held belief is not legally accurate. Sometimes the public needs to understand our job first.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Ask questions and be open to help. Lots of attorneys are willing to help younger attorneys, but don’t want to overstep.
It’s easy [for more experienced attorneys] to forget that someone may be new or not have the same experience. But if a young attorney asks a question, older attorneys are usually more than happy to go out of their way to offer help.
What do you do for fun?
Spend time with my family, including my husband and daughter. Play sand volleyball.
Our Lawyer Spotlight recognizes attorneys throughout Illinois who are admired for their professionalism and civility. Check out more interviews with attorneys here.