PABA is proud to announce the recipient of this year’s PABA Trailblazer — Ruthe Catolico Ashley!
Ruthe Catolico Ashley, Executive Director Emeritus of California LAW, incorporated 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 supports the 22 existing high school law academies, 26 community colleges, 8 undergraduate institutions and law schools who are partners in this project to diversify the legal profession in the State of California through the educational pipeline.
Ashley is considered the Pipeline Guru for the legal profession in California. She chaired the Diversity Pipeline Task Force for the State Bar of California in 2007, which jump-started the pipeline work in this state. After the Task Force sunsetted, Ashley founded and created the Council on Access and Fairness with the State Bar of California – now a leader in legal diversity across the nation. She was also the first President/CEO of California ALL, and the first Executive Director of California LAW, two non-profit organizations with a mission to diversify the legal profession. She was the founding mother of the first 6 high school law academies that formed the nucleus of the California Partnership Academy high school law pathway. These law academies were the first “boots on the ground” program focused on diversifying the legal profession starting in 10th grade in California. Ashley was responsible for overseeing the success of these law academies and continues to nurture and build new academies.
In numerous areas, Ashley has broken barriers for women, women of color and Filipinas in leadership statewide and nationally for the legal profession. She was elected to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Board of Governors in 2014 and is the first Filipina and 2nd Asian Pacific American women on the ABA’s board in its 140-year history. She chaired the board’s Public Service & Diversity Committee leading the change in a new and improved Diversity Structure for the ABA. Currently she chairs the Public Education Committee which includes responsibility for Law Day nationally. She 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 as the first Filipina 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.
Ruthe is a past president of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) receiving its Trailblazer Award in 1998. The recipient of numerous awards including a Special Diversity Award from the State Bar of California (2010), Francis Newell Carr Women Lawyers of Distinction Award from Women Lawyers of Sacramento (2011), Alumni of the Year from Pasadena City College (2014), she graduated from Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1988 and practiced law as a trial attorney 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.
For more information and to purchase your tickets for the gala, please visit our Gala webpage at http://philippineamericanbar.org/?page_id=1048.