R. Ashby Pate

R. Ashby Pate

Of Counsel


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Birmingham, AL

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  • B.A., University of Colorado, Boulder, 2000 summa cum laude with highest distinction
  • J.D., Cumberland School of Law - Samford University, 2007 magna cum laude
  • L.L.M., Norwich Law School, 2010 first in class; highest distinction


  • Alabama, 2007
  • District of Columbia, 2017

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.

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