As an Associate in Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s Chicago office, Ashley D. Mitchell supports both the Workplace Safety (OSHA/MSHA) and Labor and Employment practice groups. She represents and advises clients in employer-employee relationship issues, including wage and hour disputes, Title VII discrimination claims, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), workplace policies and procedures, harassment training, and employee handbooks.
In support of the MSHA and OSHA • Workplace Safety Practice Groups, Ashley represents employers during federal OSHA & MSHA and State OSH Plan inspections and investigations. She also guides clients in responding to workplace safety complaints and litigates contests of citations.
Ashley brings valuable experience in employee-side employment litigation. Prior to joining the firm, she interned at the Chicago Park District’s Law Department as a Student Attorney. While at the Domestic Violence & Immigration Clinic, she guided clients through the U-Visa application process.
In 2018, Ashley received her J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law. She also has a B.A. in Government, cum laude, from Georgetown University.
In her spare time, she volunteers by tutoring students preparing for the bar exam.
Get to Know Ashley!
My favorite vacation spot is Cancún. It was my first international vacation and since then, I’ve been several times with family and friends. While I’ve been several times, I’ve never repeated an experience. You can relax, shop, ride an ATV, or explore the culture. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s there—adventure, rest, learning something new.
It’s also a chance for me to practice my Spanish. I often say that I’m proficient in Spanish, not fluent because I learned in academia, so I speak more like an academic than a native speaker. Vacations to Cancún are a great opportunity for me to practice. Keeping up my Spanish language skills is incredibly important to me. My ability to speak Spanish afforded me the opportunity to represent Spanish speaking clients in my law school’s domestic violence and immigration clinic and has proven invaluable in my current practice counseling employers who may have Spanish-speaking employees.
What was your first job?
My first job was at an Alderman’s office on Chicago’s south-side. It was the summer after my sophomore year of high school and I was a member of the support staff.
If you could share a cup of coffee with one individual, living or dead, who would it be?
I would love to share a cup of coffee with Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine. I am inspired by her drive, ambition, and her ability to adapt to change. In fact, that would be one of the main things I would want to chat about—how she remains flexible and grows as the industry rapidly changes from one season to the next, and keeps the pulse of what is happening with all the new ideas, while maintaining her own sense of self.
Additionally, I’d love to talk about how she balances the demands of her career with her personal and family life. She has survived and even thrived in the industry for decades, what is her secret for a long and successful career? How did she cultivate the discipline required for her success? And what she does if/when she is feeling burnt out?
Of course, one could not end a conversation with Anna Wintour without asking her, her favorite handbag of the season and her favorite trends in the upcoming fashion season.
What do you do for fun?
To know me is to know that I am incredibly passionate about my workouts! I played a sport from age 3 until college and beginning in law school I became a regular gym-goer. In fact, when I was studying for the Bar exam, I picked up cross fit. To this day, I really enjoy that hour at the gym, whether I am weight training or taking a yoga class. It’s an important aspect of my routine—for both my mental and physical health. Even when I not feeling motivated, I am always glad that I went to the gym.
Of course I enjoy spending time with friends dining outdoors during the Chicago summers and engaging in outdoor activities, like last winter’s ski trip.
What do you “Netflix”?
Right now, I’m catching up on the latest season of Billions on Showtime. I love this show. I started watching the show in law school. It drew me in because it was interesting to see things we talked about in my M&A class play out in the show. It wasn’t exactly real life, but it showed how things we learn in theory are used in “real” situations.
Billions follows a hedge fund manager as he engages in legal and not so legal activities, while being pursued by the attorney general. Both men are ambitious, and the show follows their successes, failures, and even their fall from grace. I like that in each of the triumphs and failures, we watch the characters learn and grow.
What is your greatest accomplishment (personal and/or professional)?
My greatest achievement is my career. I thrived in academia before law school. Study always yielded great rewards—honor roll, dean’s list, etc. Law school required sheer perseverance and an ability to keep going and push forward. When the outcome was not what you hoped, you had to learn from the mistake, get up, and try again.
Now I work for the number one OSHA practice group in the country. It is truly a privilege to work with and learn from the best legal minds in the country.
What is your most embarrassing lawyer moment?
I’m still junior in my career, so I’m not sure that I have one yet. I have a big personality but I’m also a shy person, and I think that keeps me out of trouble!
I have had some disappointments, mainly the growing pains of being a young attorney. There is this constant want to achieve and be a great associate to the partner you’re supporting. It’s disappointing if you don’t meet the mark after making your best effort. As you gain experience, you learn to do more thorough analyses and your experiences color how you see the case.
My colleagues! Being a lawyer can be tough and challenging. We work long hours, but everyone here is just as pleasant at midnight as they are in the afternoon. I started working here in the middle of the pandemic, so I haven’t had a chance to work in the office yet, but I know that my colleagues are one phone call/Teams chat away.
In addition, my colleagues are among the best in the practice area, and they are always willing to teach and engage. We are truly passionate about our practice area, and I love that no matter how busy, there is always time to exchange ideas about legal theory and practice.
At CMC you are included in things, and your growth as an attorney is supported. It’s a phenomenal place to work!
What advice would you give to a law student?
Keep going! No matter where you are in school or how bad or great you think it is, keep going. You have put in a lot of time and effort to get to this point. Whatever your dream, keep going. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. You have all the tools you need to be successful. Not everyone makes it to law school, but you did.
Connect with Ashley!
On Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at 1 p.m. EST, join Ashley D. Mitchell and Lindsay A. DiSalvo for a webinar regarding Important Nuances of OSHA’s Recordkeeping, Reporting, and E-Recordkeeping Rules.
Although OSHA’s Recordkeeping, Reporting, and E-Recordkeeping rules may seem clear on their face, there are many nuances in all three standards that are essential for employers to understand in navigating their injury and illness recording, reporting, and electronic submission obligations. It is important to understand those nuances for several reasons.
As to recordkeeping, 300 Logs and 300A Summaries are always requested during an inspection and can be an additional tool for enforcement purposes. Injury and illness data can also be a factor in certain employers’ continued operations and sustainability, required to be shared in contract bidding and/or requested by potential customers. Furthermore, reporting a serious injury or illness has a direct correlation to OSHA’s initiation of enforcement activities, often resulting in either a Rapid Response Investigation or an on-site inspection depending on the type or report. Finally, e-recordkeeping data is collected by OSHA and used in developing and executing its Site-Specific Targeting Program (SST annually) based on an employer’s 300A Summary.
Participants in this webinar will learn about:
- How to assess whether an injury or illness is work-related
- What is considered days away from work, work restriction, and medical treatment beyond first aid
- What constitutes reportable in-patient hospitalizations and amputations
- What must be submitted to OSHA under the E-Recordkeeping Rule and any changes to those requirements under the current Administration
- How to properly evaluate cases of COVID-19 for recordability and reportability