Meet Ashley Collette (JD ’19)

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Ashley Collette (JD ’19) talks about her summer position at the National Center for Lesbian Rights and her decision to attend Wake Forest School of Law.

Where do you call home?

Findlay, Ohio, but I now consider Winston-Salem my home.

Where did you study for your undergraduate degree?

I studied at the University of Kentucky for my undergraduate degree (go Cats!) and attended Marquette University for my master’s degree.

Are you working your 2L summer?

Yes. I am a policy clerk at the National Center for Lesbian Rights in Washington, D.C.

Are you working in a specific area of law?

I am specifically working in policy, which is the type of work I hope to pursue after graduation. Policy work embodies much of what I love about the law, and I have the daily opportunity to work with incredible and like-minded individuals, who are working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ+ individuals through policy, litigation, legislation, and public education.

Describe a typical day at your summer position.

So far there have not been too many typical days. I have written opposition letters to judicial nominees, attended Senate hearings, met with D.C. City Council members, worked on a local campaign initiative, lobbied for members of the House of Representatives, and drafted arguments in opposition to a proposed regulation. I also worked on a memo for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) regarding a federal anti-discrimination law on sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”).

I have also been able to attend many coalition meetings and incredible events, including a panel discussion on Reducing Bia-Motivated Violence Targeting LGBTI Persons at the U.S. State Department.

Did you work your 1L summer?

I participated in the Wake Forest D.C. Summer Judicial Externship program last summer.

Why did you decide to attend Wake Forest Law?

I chose to attend Wake Forest Law for its strong academics, outstanding legal writing program, small class sizes, incredible professors, and the pro humanitate spirit embodied in the promotion of pro bono and public interest.

Describe the Wake Forest community.

The Wake Forest community is welcoming and supportive, yet challenging. With a small school like Wake Forest, it is easy to get to know your classmates, who quickly become your friends and support system, and your professors, who are very accessible and incredibly invested in students both in and out of the classroom.

What is your most memorable experience during law school (thus far)?

There are many. However, I have to choose my first cold call in Professor Parks’ Civil Procedure class. Having spent more than a couple years out of school prior to attending law school, I was shocked when my hand was visibly shaking as I frantically searched my notes for the right answer to his question. Seconds felt like hours in that moment, but remarkably, by the end of my second semester of Civil Procedure, I felt very comfortable being on call, with only very minimal hand-shaking.

What are you involved in outside the classroom?

I serve as the executive director of the Pro Bono Project, a research editor of the Wake Forest Law Review, and am a member of OUTLaw. I also work as a reference research assistant and will be a teaching assistant for our Legal Analysis, Writing, and Writing program (LAWR).

What do you do for fun in Winston-Salem when you aren’t studying?

I enjoy spending time with friends, hiking, yoga, visiting breweries, and attending the many local events in the area.

Where do you want your law degree to take you?

I want my law degree to enable me to follow my dream of working tirelessly to advance the civil and human rights of women and minorities both domestically and internationally.