Elected Member

The Hon. R. Ashby Pate

Birmingham, AL
Lightfoot Franklin & White LLC
University of Colorado, BA
University of East Anglia, Norwich Law School, LL.M.
Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, JD

A former justice on the Supreme Court of the island nation of Palau, Ashby presided over hundreds of cases as a trial and appellate judge there — and he helped create that country’s first-ever jury trial system. He also served as a judicial clerk for U.S. District Court Judge U.W. Clemon, one of Alabama’s civil rights pioneers. He was the editor-in-chief of the Law Review for Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and he later earned an LL.M. from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, where he graduated first in his class and was awarded the Sir Roy Goode Prize in international law.  He was recently inducted as a Fellow into the Alabama Law Foundation in 2020, an honor limited to only 1% of all members of the Alabama Bar. Ashby draws on all of this unique experience in his general commercial defense practice, which focuses on appellate work, catastrophic injury, commercial plaintiffs' litigation and complex government litigation and investigations.

A true advocate at heart, Ashby is frequently involved in some of the firm’s most important — and sometimes controversial — matters. For example, he was appointed co-prosecutor in the widely publicized judicial ethics trial of Alabama’s “Ten Commandments” judge, Chief Justice Roy Moore. Ashby delivered closing arguments in the trial, arguing that an Administrative Order issued by the Chief Justice constituted defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. In a unanimous verdict, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary suspended the chief justice from office for the remainder of his elected term, without pay.

Ashby is also a sought-after public speaker. A recent speech of his, “Be the Light,” stresses the importance of human connection in the practice of law and has resulted in Ashby being invited to speak to organizations throughout the country. He has delivered a keynote address, alongside U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, given presentations to the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Annual Meeting in Hawaii and the Defense Research Institute’s Annual Meeting in San Francisco. He has also spoken to numerous other legal and judicial organizations in Alabama, Wyoming, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Tennessee and many more. 

Prior to law school, he toured across the Southeastern United States in two different bands, releasing two albums of original music. Ashby is also the author of a children’s book about Palau, titled Sweet Dreams Palau, published by the Etpison Museum.

Pate was elected to the American Law Institute in 2014, where he now  contributes to numerous projects.

He is admitted to practice law in all state and federal courts in Alabama and Washington D.C., and is a member of the Defense Research Institute, the Alabama Law Foundation, the Birmingham Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He also serves as Secretary and Director on the Birmingham Aiport's Board of Directors. 

The Hon. R. Ashby Pate Image
Areas of Expertise
International Law
Class Actions (Complex Litigation)