The Chicago Bar Association is pleased to celebrate 2022 Women’s History Month which commemorates and encourages the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. As a part of the celebration, the CBA is profiling a diverse group of women lawyers and judges who share their personal stories, their perspectives on how to thrive within the profession, their advice for women entering the profession and their predictions for the future. For a full list of the CBA’s Women’s History Month events and programs, visit the CBA’s website here: Women’s History Month (chicagobar.org).
Below is our featured interview with Ashley Rafael, General Counsel for Midwest Moving & Storage.
What is the most important lesson you have learned during your legal career about how to thrive in the profession?
I think it’s important to remember that as lawyers, we are in a service business. We must be client centric, be professional and responsive.
What do you believe are the most important attributes of a leader in the legal profession?
Leadership is removing any bias you may have to do the right thing, even when it might not feel right.
Please provide an example of a person, or a quotation that inspires you. Explain why you are inspired by that person or quotation.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is looking.”- C.S. Lewis
Ms. Rafael is General Counsel to Midway Moving & Storage, Inc. where she practices commercial litigation and negotiates contracts with corporate clients and government agencies such as City of Chicago, Chicago Housing Authority, Board of Elections and Chicago Public Schools. Prior to joining Midway, she was an associate at two plaintiff personal injury law firms. To date, she has tried 25 jury trials to verdict as well as numerous bench trials. She is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association serving on its Commercial Division, Consumer Division, Employment Division and Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Division panels. She is an adjunct Professor of Law at University of Illinois Chicago School of Law as well as a UIC Law Alumni Board member. She teaches Arbitration Advocacy as well as coaches law students for National trial and arbitration competitions. She is certified to preside as Chair Arbitrator for Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program and the Commercial Calendar Mandatory Arbitration Program for the Law Division. She initiated and developed a program that provides employment opportunities for veterans and nonviolent ex-offenders, working closely with Cook County’s Specialty Courts. She is a member of the Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers, served on the CBA Mediation Program planning committee and seminar speaker, chairperson for the ADR committee, and served on the CBA’s JEC committee. She is a seminar speaker at CBA and AAA events. Her published articles have appeared in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Women’s Bar Association Newsletter. She supports many Chicago community organizations and performs pro bono work.