Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Jones.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in a small town in Ohio. I’m talking 250 kids in my graduating class. I went to college at Ohio University (had a blast!) and graduated with a degree in political science and women’s studies. My senior year of college, everyone in all of my classes were talking about the LSAT and law school and having no idea what I wanted to do after college, I decided to take the LSAT. I bought some books, studied at home (I had no idea people signed up for courses for this) and went and took it. I remember I had to drive an hour to get to the testing location. I don’t even think my parents knew what I was doing.
I scored well enough(barely!) to apply to law schools. I applied to every law school in Ohio. There are 9. 1 accepted me. So I moved to Cleveland to attend Cleveland Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State. I remember driving downtown the first day and being in the bus lane because I had never driven in the city. When I graduated from law school and passed the bar, I again felt like everyone else had it figured out. I had no idea what to do, but I quickly understood that I had a law license, and the State of Ohio said I could practice law, so I opened up shop. It didn’t make sense to me that I wouldn’t use it.
I started hustling for cases. I hung out at the courthouse. I went to every lawyer and nonlawyer networking event. It will be nine years in November and we now have two office locations, one in Cleveland and one in Akron (home of LeBron James!) and still only do criminal defense which I fell in love with in law school. My husband says its because I hate bullies. I am the co-chair of the criminal law section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the incoming treasurer of the Cleveland Marshall Law Alumni Association.
Has it been a smooth road?
There’s a saying that practicing law is like riding a bike, except the bike is on fire and you are on fire. A tad dramatic, but I am a lawyer.
When I opened up shop after graduating from law school and passing the bar, I was 25. I had no business or marketing background. I don’t come from a family of lawyers and am the first person in my family to go to college. I had 200.00 and no idea how I would make my car payment that month, but I went for it. I always hear it was brave. Maybe. I was just naive. We can think of a hundred reasons why something won’t work. But we only need one reason why it will.
I remember early on barely having enough gas to drive to court. I prayed that I found street parking and that the client brought payment in cash.
I just kept hustling. I knew that stillness was the enemy. And I had so much help. I was introduced to a guy, shout out to Ted Meltok, who designed amazing logos for me that we still use. He let me make so many payments. Someone else built my website for me. Someone gave me an office for practically free. I sought out lawyers who had the skills and expertise I wanted. I picked their brains, probably asked way too many questions, and just tried to soak it all up.
Practicing law is hard. Practicing law as a baby lawyer is really hard. Running any business is hard. And when you wear all the hats (marketing, lawyer, accounting, janitor), it’s beyond hard. But the hustle is real and the hustle rewards.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
We are a full-service criminal defense law firm. We handle a lot of ovi/dui cases and domestic violence cases. We also represent a lot of noncitizens who are accused of crimes. It is so important that those individuals have counsel who understands deportation consequences and other collateral consequences that can occur if a noncitizen is convicted of a crime.
We also help a lot of people apply and successfully seal old criminal convictions.
I am really proud of how we treat our clients. We are often meeting people at the lowest point of their life. They are frustrated, mad, sad, and ashamed. They don’t need a stuffy lawyer judging them. I’ve had clients at my home for Thanksgiving. I’ve had clients knit my daughter blankets. That’s what I’m proud of most.
How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I think Covid-19 has shown the legal industry a lot of antiquated ways of doing things. Everything used to be in person, at least where I practice in Ohio. Now, we are doing so much by phone and zoom and I think that’s here to stay.
- Address: 4403 St. Clair Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44103
- Website: www.ashleyjoneslaw.com
- Phone: 2167368551
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: ajonessabree
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/AshleyJonesLaw
- Other: https://www.avvo.com/attorneys/44103-oh-ashley-jones-4005039.html
Lindsey Beckwith Photography