Ruthe Catolico Ashley, Interim Executive Director of California LAW, is incorporating this new non-profit as the foundational structure that will connect, collaborate, coordinate and communicate between the existing pipeline programs in the State of California. California LAW will support the 14 existing high school law academies, 24 community colleges, 6 undergraduate institutions and 6 law schools who are partners in this project to diversify the legal profession in the State of California through the educational pipeline. As former chair of the California Law Academy Support Council, she has dedicated the last decade to diversity in the legal profession. In 2010, under Ashley’s leadership, a collaborative effort of the State Bar of California and the California Department of Education created 7 new high school law academies in California under the California Partnership Academy Model. These law academies were the first “boots on the ground” program focused on diversifying the legal profession starting in 10th grade. Ashley was responsible for overseeing the success of these law academies and continues to nurture and build new academies. Fourteen law academies are now in existence with four more in planning.
Ashley was elected to the American Bar Association’s Board of Governors in 2014 and is the first Filipina and 2nd Asian Pacific American women on the ABA’s board in its 138-year history. She is a former Presidential appointee to the Committee on Public Education, co-chaired the Women of Color committee for the prestigious Commission on Women in the Profession and served as chair of the Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. She served on the State Bar of California’s Board of Trustees from 2004-2007 chairing the Diversity Pipeline Task Force and leading the BOT in forming the Council on Access and Fairness, one of today’s leaders in legal diversity.
She is a past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association receiving its Trailblazer Award in 1998. The recipient of numerous awards including a Special Diversity Award from the State Bar of California (2010) and the Francis Newell Carr Women Lawyers if Distinction Award from Women Lawyers of Sacramento (2011), she graduated from Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1988 and practiced law for 15 years before returning to her alma mater as Assistant Dean of Career Services. Now retired, she devotes her time to diversity in the legal profession by building the educational pipeline into the law.