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Carol R. Ashley

Of Counsel
Washington, D.C. Region*

*Admitted only in IL

P 703-483-8300 F 703-483-8301

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Carol R. Ashley

Biography

Carol is committed to serving the interests of businesses, educational institutions, and other complex organizations in their efforts to eliminate discrimination and harassment and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. She specializes in complex sexual harassment and race discrimination investigations and litigation. 

She has supervised and conducted hundreds of investigations, including recent high-profile sexual misconduct and harassment investigations of systemic conduct. For example, she led high-visibility federal investigations to determine whether universities handled serious sexual misconduct and sexual harassment allegations in compliance with federal laws. Post-investigation, Carol worked with institutions to develop effective and sustainable changes to increase awareness and foster a positive climate to prevent sexual misconduct and harassment. Over the course of her work as Senior Executive Service career official with the last three presidential administrations, she has also provided expert policy and legal advice regarding a federal agency’s enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. In addition, Carol interfaced with national and local advocacy groups regarding the enforcement of federal civil rights and related policies, procedures, and guidance.

Carol also chaired a law firm’s discrimination practice and handled matters involving federal and state claims, including sexual harassment and other discrimination matters. As lead counsel in federal class-action discrimination lawsuits involving sex and race, race, national origin, and other protected classes, she effectively managed and monitored post-settlement and court-ordered decree implementation of remedies; and achieved positive outcomes by establishing collaborative relationships and partnerships with court masters, monitors, and experts, community groups, businesses, and local government officials. 

In addition, Carol led a national nonprofit organization as the vice president of advocacy, committed to achieving economic and racial justice through litigation, policy development and training. As vice president, she oversaw advocates’ work in wide range of matters, including the areas of criminal justice, housing, healthcare, workforce matters, and a special project on women’s law and policy. Carol also collaborated with regional and state advocacy organizations on leadership and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Leveraging her regulatory oversight, investigation, and litigation experience and insight, Carol proactively advises clients on issues pertaining to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, gender, LGBTQ+ identities, race, national origin, disability, and other equity-related matters. She approaches her work as a partnership with senior leadership and is mindful of engaging stakeholders. She also partners with clients to develop comprehensive compliance systems to ensure adherence to federal and state sexual harassment and discrimination laws. 

Carol works with a variety of clients, including corporations, nonprofits, and educational institutions, on compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended. 

Professional Associations and Activities

  • American Bar Association

Speeches

  • “Legal Aid Committee Racial Justice and Implicit Bias Seminars,” Chicago Bar Association (Chicago, IL, 2014) (moderator and co-presenter)
  • “What Legal Services Advocates Need to Understand about the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court Rulings Fisher v. UT-Austin and Shelby County v. Holder,” National Legal Aid & Defender Association’s Annual Litigation and Advocacy Directors Conference (Los Angeles, CA, June 2013) (co-lead presenter)
  • “2011 Joint U.S. Departments of Education and Justice Guidelines on Race-Neutral and Race-Conscious Student Assignment/Practical Implications of Socio-Economic Measures,” American Association of School Administrators National Conference (Houston, TX, February 2012) (lead presenter)
  • “Termination of CPS Desegregation Consent Decree,” WTTW Chicago Tonight (Chicago, IL, September 2009) (panelist)