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winter 2018
Ashleigh Wilson

She's now 'that' person

Ashleigh Wilson ’08 has found her passion advocating for others.

Four days after the historic October 2015 flooding in Columbia, S.C., the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers had a FEMA emergency hotline up and running for people who needed flood-related legal assistance. Ashleigh Wilson ’08, secretary/treasurer of the group, was in charge of implementing the service.

“From mid-October through the first of January, 90 young lawyer volunteers helped more than 500 people in our community,” says Wilson, who also serves as vice chair and former scholar of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers’ Public Service Committee. “I know there are lots of bad lawyer jokes out there, but I hope people learned that the young attorneys in our state were willing to step up in a time of crisis. The American Bar Association raved about how fast we moved and how many young lawyers volunteered to serve.”

Her work during the flooding was just one of the things Wilson loves about being an attorney.

“I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, even before watching too much ‘Ally McBeal,’” says Wilson in the Bowman and Brooke conference room overlooking downtown Columbia. “Growing up, the people in my community doing cool things and advocating for others were attorneys.”

Wilson majored in philosophy at Wofford and went on to law school at Wake Forest University. She clerked for the Hon. Robin B. Stilwell in Greenville, S.C., then worked for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office for almost four years. She’s been an associate at Bowman and Brooke for just over a year and loves every minute of her work as what she affectionately calls a “nerd lawyer.”

“We’re a products liability defense firm with 250 attorneys and 12 sites across the United States. That means I get to spend my days figuring out how stuff works — like guardrails and air bags, for example. It’s a cool job and perfect for a liberal arts graduate.”

In her limited time away from the office or courtroom, Wilson is a Special Olympics volunteer and now serves on the organization’s state board of directors.

“I love working with Special Olympics because it brings sports into people’s lives, and through sports we can learn to be better people,” says Wilson, who particularly enjoys serving as a tennis partner for an athlete with special needs. “I’m a young professional. I can’t always give money, but I can give time, and I get so much more back from the experience.”

by Jo Ann Mitchell Brasington ’89, Fall 2016