September 14, 2020
Associate Ashley L. West, a graduate of University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, joined Dysart Taylor in 2019. She also served as a legal intern in 2018 while still in school. An innovative problem-solver who works closely with businesses and individuals to help them plan for the future, Ashley brings a unique perspective to her practice in estate planning, tax and business law.
Ashley has significant experience in legal research pertaining to tax implications on trusts, probate statutes in Missouri and Kansas, and Missouri business statutes. She also guides clients through preparation of estate planning documents including wills, trusts and powers of attorney.
Read on to learn more about Ashley in our Attorney Spotlight:
Why did you want to become an attorney? What made you decide on this field?
“To be honest, right out of undergrad, I wasn’t too keen on the idea of being an attorney. But after working for a couple of attorneys, I realized the impact attorneys have on our world, our communities and our individual lives. After a couple of years working in the legal field, I finally understood that I could accomplish a lot in this profession, at whatever level I practice at.
For me, a great example was my stepmom, Laura West. She was a solo practitioner in southern Missouri who practiced mostly family and criminal law. Through her work she was able to impact the lives of her neighbors and her community. After seeing what she was able to accomplish, I wanted to be able to do the same. I wanted to help others like that, to leave a mark and enhance society. Even though I’ve chosen a different area of law than she did, I feel like I’m still able to accomplish that goal and help those around me … whether it’s with estate planning, business planning, construction, or surety-related matters.
Everyone deserves help and I’m able to offer it through my education and experience. Ultimately, I decided to become a lawyers because I wanted to make an impact and help others.”
What is your most significant memory or case in your career?
“I tend to do a lot of pro bono work with the family justice system and volunteer attorney projects. Those cases are very significant to me, even though they fall outside of the typical areas I work in. It’s a joy to be able help a parent obtain custody, help a child get out of the court system and to help relatives with guardianships and conservatorships for the betterment and in the best interest of another. It’s a time when you know these families are experiencing hardship and you can help them. The justice system can be hard to maneuver for anyone, so it is especially nice when you, as an attorney, know how the system works and are able to help others because of that knowledge.”
What is the best advice you’d give an up-and-coming attorney?
“Be flexible; you don’t have to decide what law you’re going to practice as soon as you graduate and pass the bar. Be willing to branch out and learn new things – you might just like it! I thought I would do only estate and business planning but then I was exposed to construction, civil litigation and surety law, and I’m so happy that I was. The opportunities are endless, so don’t be short-sighted.”
What was the biggest adjustment to working from home during the shutdown?
“Not having to commute and battle traffic! It wasn’t a huge adjustment for me, as I worked from home prior to and during law school, so it was a welcomed and familiar work environment. Familiarity and convenience aside, the biggest adjustment was not being able to walk down the hall and consult with others to brainstorm, to ask questions or just socialize.”
How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
“I enjoy spending time watching college football with my boyfriend. We’re die-hard LSU fans (Geaux Tigers!), hunting and fishing, working on cars and traveling. Whether far or near, I enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the average day. I also have a niece who keeps me pretty active and busy. We’re always doing something outside, whether that’s playing ball, hunting for monsters, swimming or just enjoying nature.”