Ashby may have the most interesting resume of any lawyer practicing in the State of Alabama. He has served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Palau, where he helped design the island nation’s first-ever jury trial system. He also served as a judicial clerk to United States District Judge U.W. Clemon, one of Alabama’s civil rights pioneers. Ashby was the Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review for Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and he later earned an LL.M. in International Commercial and Business law from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where he graduated first in his class and was awarded the Sir Roy Goode Prize in international law. He is one of only 50 distinguished lawyers and judges in Alabama currently serving on the American Law Institute, where he contributes to many of the Restatement projects published by that prestigious body.
Since he returned to the firm in 2016, he has resumed his role as an advocate in some of the most important, and sometimes controversial, matters the firm handles. Most recently he was appointed co-prosecutor in the widely-publicized judicial ethics trial of Alabama’s “Ten Commandments” judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore. Ashby delivered closing arguments in the trial, arguing that a January 6, 2016 Administrative Order issued by the Chief Justice constituted defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. In a unanimous verdict, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended the Chief Justice from office for the remainder of his elected term, without pay.
Ashby is also a sought-after public speaker. A recent speech of his, Be the Light, which has already garnered thousands of views on YouTube, stresses the importance of human connection in the practice of law. Ashby has been invited to speak to organizations across the country and the state, including giving the keynote address, alongside Justice Anthony Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court, at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ Law Clerk Orientation in San Francisco, a speech to the American College of Trial Lawyers’ spring meeting in Maui, a presentation to the Alabama State Bar annual meeting, and many more.
Before his appointment to the bench, Ashby worked at Lightfoot from 2010 – 2013, during which time he cultivated a general commercial litigation practice and was voted a 2013 Top International Law Attorney by Birmingham Magazine’s Survey of over 2,000 Alabama lawyers. Today, Ashby focuses his practice on international disputes, appellate practice, white collar crime, and medical device litigation. He is married to Christine Caiola of Birmingham, Alabama, and the couple now have two young girls. Prior to law school, Ashby toured regionally in the Southeastern United States in two different bands, releasing two albums of original music. Ashby is also the author of a children’s book about Palau, titled “Sweet Dreams Palau,” published by the Etpison Museum.
NEWS about R. Ashby
- Ashby Pate Chosen as a 2017 Top 40 Under 40
- Ashby Pate Delivers Closing Arguments for the Prosecution in Ethics Trial of Chief Justice Roy Moore; Court of the Judiciary finds Chief Justice Guilty on All Counts, Suspending Him from Office
- Lightfoot Of Counsel Ashby Pate Gives Keynote to Ninth Circuit Law Clerk Orientation
- Lightfoot Of Counsel Ashby Pate Appointed Co-Counsel in Chief Justice Roy Moore Ethics Prosecution
- Palau Supreme Court Justice Ashby Pate to Return to Lightfoot as Of Counsel
Presentations & Publications
- Be the Light, Presentation to the American College of Trial Lawyers
- The Future of Harmonization: Soft Law Instruments and the Principled Advance of Lawmaking
- The Big Wet Now: Observations for Young Internationalists, Presentation to the Dean Rusk Center for International Law and Policy
- The Clear Opener: How to avoid mucking up the most crucial part of discourse, Bryan A. Garner, The American Bar Association Journal
- Blood Libel: The Conscription of the Law of Defamation into a Legal Jihad Against the West-And How to Stop It
- Jury Trial Rules for the Courts of the Republic of Palau, Promulgated by the Palau Supreme Court
- Constitutional Law—Public Use Clause—Use of Eminent Domain to Promote Economic Development Held Constitutional,
- Republic of Palau ReportsVolume XVI, 16 ROP 1 (2010) (editor)
- The Cumberland Law Review, Volumes I, II, & III, 37 CUMB. L. REV. 1 (2006-2007) (editor in chief)