Ashby Pate is a trial lawyer with unique courtroom experience and a history of handling controversial matters.
Ashby may have one of the most interesting resumes of any Alabama lawyer.
A former justice on the Supreme Court of the island nation of Palau, Ashby presided over hundreds of cases as a trial and appellate judge there — and he helped create that country’s first-ever jury trial system. He also served as a judicial clerk for U.S. District Court Judge U.W. Clemon, one of Alabama’s civil rights pioneers. He was the editor-in-chief of the Law Review for Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and he later earned an LL.M. 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 also 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 organization. Ashby draws on all of this unique experience in his general commercial defense practice, which focuses on international disputes, appellate work, pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, and product liability.
A true advocate at heart, Ashby is frequently involved in some of the firm’s most important — and sometimes controversial — matters. For example, 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 an 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,” stresses the importance of human connection in the practice of law and has resulted in Ashby being invited to speak to organizations throughout the country. He has delivered a keynote address, alongside U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, given presentations to the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Annual Meeting in Hawaii and the Defense Research Institute’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. He has also spoken to numerous other legal and judicial organizations in Alabama, Wyoming, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Tennessee and many more.
Prior to law school, he toured across 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.