Ruthe Catolico Ashley, executive director emeritus at California LAW, is one of five recipients of the 2020 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award. Ashley's not-for-profit organization established a pipeline of diverse students from high schools, community colleges, four-year institutions and law schools into law or law-related careers. She is also a former chair of the California Law Academy Support Council, where she has dedicated the past decade to diversity in the legal profession. Ashley was elected to the ABA Board of Governors in 2014 and is the first Filipina and second Asian Pacific American woman on the ABA board in its 138-year history. Ashley is a graduate of Pacific McGeorge School of Law.
The American Bar Association Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, established in 1991, honors outstanding women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence in their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for others. The award is named for Margaret Brent, the first woman lawyer in America. Brent arrived in the colonies in 1638 and was involved in 124 court cases in more than eight years, winning every case. In 1648, she formally demanded a vote and voice in the Maryland Assembly, which the governor denied. The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession selects the annual awardees.