Ashlee Johnson is one of six paralegals at CLG who work to keep our clients’ cases moving forward. We asked her a few questions:
How long have you been with CLG? I joined the firm as a paralegal in August 2015 and time has flown by since! I work mostly with our workers’ compensation cases.
What is your previous experience? I worked for the Richmond Circuit Court for six years as an in-court clerk, assisting two judges. I helped them arraign defendants, draft plea agreements, complete jail worksheets, draft court orders, and was responsible for all evidence. Then I moved to the Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office as a legal secretary. I drafted indictments, prepared jury documents for jury trials, scheduled show causes — that’s when a person is ordered to appear in front of a judge — and prepared capias orders. I’m currently working toward a degree in Criminal Justice.
What inspired you to go into the legal profession? Originally, I wanted to be a magistrate, but I’ve learned that I really like helping people on a one-on-one basis. I’ve found a great place to fulfill that desire here. Most of the time when someone comes to our offices or calls us, they’re having the worst day ever. Something has gone seriously wrong in their lives. Sometimes they’re in tears, and we can help them feel better by talking them through the next steps and connecting them with the right attorney. I like the legal side of things, working with people to answer their questions and hopefully solve their problems.
What’s satisfying about working here? Helping our clients from day one when they first call us through the end of their case. We get to know most of our clients quite well. We untangle the mess that has been created. To see a complete turnaround for them when the case goes their way is amazing. It makes me feel so good that I played a part in that. We also help people on a daily basis. For example, one of our workers’ compensation clients couldn’t get a prescription filled because the insurance company denied it, so she had been in pain for three days. She was in tears! I worked things out between the insurance carrier and the pharmacy that same day, and she was able to get her prescription filled. Little things like that are so impactful to our clients. I didn’t expect that aspect of it – it makes us feel so good to resolve these situations!
What’s a typical workday like? My workday usually starts with a text or email request before I even set foot in the office. When I arrive, I go through my tasks for the day and start making phone calls to make sure everyone is taken care of. Some clients have trouble with making doctors’ appointments, and we help with that. For example, sometimes their primary doctor refers them to a specialist, but the insurance carrier denies it or says they won’t pay for any treatment until there’s been a hearing. Sometimes it’s just a delay because the insurance carrier hasn’t contacted the doctor’s office with authorization before the appointment. I do my best to stay on top of those situations and troubleshoot by calling the doctor’s office to make sure the authorization has arrived before our client’s appointment. Our clients are grateful when we can smooth out those situations.
What’s your proudest moment at CLG? Again, it was working with a client to straighten out a mess. There was a lot of confusion surrounding one of our clients and his doctor’s note about specific work restrictions. It was causing our client a lot of stress, so I used extra care in working through the situation. It took half a day to do, but I got to the root of the problem and it was extremely satisfying to tell our client, “Everything’s taken care of, don’t worry about it.” When I make a promise to a client that I’m going to do my best to fix a situation, it makes me work even harder for them.
Do you have a personal motto or a favorite quote? “Be the change you want to see in the world.” ― Mahatma Gandhi. I think about that a lot ― it inspires me to examine my choices and behavior.
What do you do to relax? I’m a part-time DJ! My husband and I are “DJ Beauty and the Beat.” We spend nights and weekends DJing birthday parties, weddings, proms and community events. It’s something I really love to do. It doesn’t feel like work – it’s more like my husband and me spending time together doing something we love. Before that, I owned a dance studio called Just Dance for girls aged 7-17. We taught hip hop and jazz and had a great turnout! I’ve been dancing since I was four; I enjoy anything that has to do with music and the arts.