Amber Ashton, Special Counsel for DSK Law, is inspiring. At the top of her game, professionally and personally, she sat down with #TeamElevate and shared details about her journey to Florida, her present law practice, and her forecast for fairness.
Amber treasures family. When researching law schools, she focused on Stetson University’s College of Law because her grandparents lived in Orlando: “They were ill, and moving from Atlanta to Florida allowed me to help them,” she shared. What Amber doesn’t remember doing is deciding to live in Florida forever: “At some point, before graduating from law school in 2006, I decided to take the Florida Bar. It’s what my law school friends were doing.” Now a mother to five-year-old twin boys, she may have chosen differently. Since her grandparents have passed, having no family in Florida makes managing the moving parts of her professional and personal lives challenging.
Becoming Special Counsel
Amber epitomizes female empowerment. When she became a mother, she realized that nurturing the kind of family life she found fulfilling wasn’t possible with her workload: “I was waking up at 4 A.M. and driving to Miami for hearings while also accounting for my husband’s night shifts and odd hours.” When it came time to discuss partnership, she knew that she could not commit the additional time necessary to help run the firm, but she knew the firm understood her value. Amber explained: “I had too much experience to be compensated as an associate. I delineated what I could do for DSK and offered alternative ways I was willing to work in order to continue being valuable for the firm.” She offered to do things like write more articles and tend to certain tasks in the evenings. DSK agreed, and Amber became the firm’s first special counsel. The firm allowed Amber to blaze her own trail, highlighting her unique strengths. Amber feels fortunate DSK listened and recognized her need for balance: “Law is difficult for mothers because the hours are long. In the end, we all understood how I could be a responsible member of the firm and what I feel is a responsible parent.”
As she continues writing her own story with DSK, Amber has taken to guiding young associate attorneys: “I’m approachable, and I enjoy helping them with time management and learning how to approach things with partners.” In some ways, Amber’s become the matriarch of DSK’s Tampa office. She takes that seriously, as she believes the relationships she fosters with young associates foster loyalty to DSK: “We want to keep people here throughout their entire career. I want to be a part of creating an environment where associates feel they can be heard.” As Amber’s roles in her professional and personal lives evolve, she embraces the importance of adaptability.
Amber’s practice is real property and commercial based. On average, she spends about six hours in the office and appreciates the broad variety of cases she sees: “My specialization is dealing with outliers. Every case is entirely unique,” she said. She’s focused on growing the work she does with local government—similar to DSK’s central Florida office. Amber’s practice keeps her motivated: “We are frequently the plaintiff and working to ensure everyone is treated fairly. I like being the person that gets to make things fair.”
Looking back on one of her most memorable cases, Amber helped a lender find fairness. Following a foreclosure, a homeowners association wanted Amber’s client to pay an initiation fee of $40K in order to utilize country club services: “My client was a lender who wasn’t going to use the services. The documents weren’t clear and we litigated for four years.” In that time, Amber crafted novel arguments in order to persuade the courts: “By the end, while the association sought over $230K, we reduced that to $3,200 and the association ended up paying my client’s attorneys’ fees.”
Amber values family time. She understands that, as her boys grow, the ways they need her change—they also differ from the ways they need her husband: “Even if daddy is there, it’s my knees the boys sit on.” She and her husband enjoy taking their twins to the beach, sporting events, and the family’s lake house in Georgia.
Categorized in: Work
This post was written by Elevate, Inc.