Ashley is a partner at Dumas & Vaughn, Attorneys at Law, in Portland, Oregon, where she represents survivors in child and adult sexual assault civil cases across the country. She graduated cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2011. During law school, she was a Lead Article Editor for the Lewis & Clark Law Review, worked as a certified law clerk as a prosecutor’s office, and participated in the CLVC Clinic. After law school, she worked as an associate attorney at O’Donnell Clark & Crew LLP and Dumas Law Group, LLC, doing the same type of work she does now. She is an active member of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association and volunteers for the “We the People” constitutional law program.
Describe your current profession / most rewarding thing you have done in your professional life.
I represent survivors of child sexual assault and adult sexual assault in civil lawsuits against the perpetrators and institutions responsible for the assaults. Most of my cases involve adults who were sexually abused as children. I often represent survivors in cases against large institutions of trust, such as youth-serving organizations (e.g. the Boy Scouts), religious organizations, and schools. The most rewarding part of my job is helping my clients process their trauma and transform their lives. Sometimes that process is due to their civil case and finally having the opportunity to seek justice; sometimes it is due to reuniting with their families; sometimes it is due to finally seeing a good therapist. Most often, it is a combination of these and many other factors. Not all cases are successes, but when I am able to help clients live better lives, instead of suffering in silence, that is the best part of my job.
What was your favorite part about participating in CLVC?
Participating in CLVC helped me learn to think more creatively about the law and solutions. So often in law school, we are taught about black and white rules that have been set in stone for decades. As a (still) emerging area of law, victims’ rights advocacy is not always so clear-cut. In CLVC, I witnessed attorneys thinking creatively about how to best implement and change the law for survivors. Effective advocacy requires creativity.
How did participating in CLVC inform your thinking about law and/or your career path?
In law school, I worked as a certified law clerk in a prosecutor’s office. There, I saw victims’ rights’ laws in action. As I grew closer to finishing law school, I became aware that I did not want to be a criminal attorney working but I still wanted to help survivors. Through participating in CLVC and making connections with attorneys who do victims’ rights work in the community, I learned there are many ways one can use a law degree to promote victims’ rights and represent survivors.