Comfortable on her feet in the courtroom, Ashley represents companies in commercial litigation matters, including employment, human resources, business product liability disputes, and works with clients to efficiently resolve problems. She brings a practical perspective to issues critical to the modern workplace through proactive counseling, negotiation, and litigation.
Ashley is a zealous advocate of the business interests of clients -- particularly those in the manufacturing, shipping, healthcare, financial services, professional services and property management sectors -- helping them predict and evaluate the potential risks and legal impacts of business decisions.
Ashley has a uniquely thoughtful approach to addressing the needs of inbound and outbound multinational companies. Her strategies are guided and impacted by her Master of Science degree in International Commerce and Policy, and her experience growing up in a US Coast Guard family. Ashley’s education and experience also supplement her role as Chair of the Charleston Women in International Trade.
Ashley is a leader in the legal community, active in identifying and addressing emerging legal issues and trends. She is a prominent speaker and published author on emerging topics such as ethical issues related to the use of artificial intelligence, incorporation of diversity into legal contexts, compliance with U.S. independent contractor requirements, and the impact of the Zika Virus in the workplace.
Ashley is an active and widely respected leader of the global legal profession. Following her graduation from the American Bar Association – TIPS Leadership Academy, Ashley has served as Vice Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion, Employment, Business Litigation, and Membership Committees. Ashley was elected chair of the South Carolina Bar Association, Employment Law Section, and in such a role, led employment lawyers state-wide in employment and personnel legal developments. The Charleston Regional Business Journal honored Ashley by selecting her for the prestigious Forty Under 40 awards list. She is a South Carolina Super Lawyers Rising Star, a Roper St. Francis Foundation Fellow, and League Attorney for the Junior League of Charleston.
Presentations and Publications
- Independent Contractors: South Carolina, Thomson Reuters' Practical Law, Ashley Kutz Kelley and Harriet Ward (January 2021)
- Wage and Hour Laws: South Carolina, Thomson Reuters' Practical Law, Author
- Independent Contractors: South Carolina State Q&A, Thomson Reuters' Practical Law, Author
- Independent Contractors: South Carolina, Practical Law Company, David B. McCormack and Ashley Kutz Kelley, 2015-2018
- School’s out for the summer – Unpaid Internships, New Criteria for Employers, Charleston Regional Business Journal (May 2018)
- The Workplace is Not Immune: Guidance for Employers on the Zika Virus Outbreak, Association of Corporate Counsel– South Carolina Chapter Newsletter (September 2016), Author
- Top 10 Points of Guidance for Employers on the Zika Virus Outbreak, Association of Corporate Counsel Compliance & Ethics Committee, Author
- The Workplace is Not Immune: Guidance for Employers on the Zika Virus Outbreak, American Bar Association Tort Trial Insurance Committee News (Spring 2016), Author
- Class and Mass Actions Are Back in Vogue: New Strategies You Need to Know for Handling High-Stakes Litigation, ABA TIPS (2011), Co-Editor
- Stipulated Judgments and Covenants Not to Execute: Implications for Insurance Defense Counsel, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (2009), Co-Author
- Rethinking ‘Good Cause’-A New Federal Approach to Grouting Protective Orders Under F.R.C.P. 26(c), 42 Val. U.L. Rev. 291 (Fall 2007), Author
- Immigration and Hiring International Employees: Enlisting Foreign Crew, German American Chamber of Commerce: SME Business Development Conference (May 2019, co-presenter with Jennifer Cory).
- Sexual Harassment and Discrimination in the Construction Industry, National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Women in Construction Week (March 2019)
- FCRA and Employee Privacy: The ‘Rights’ That Will Shock You, ePlace Webinar (February 2019
- Employers Beware: A Speed Round of Trending Topics, The South Carolina Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), CLE Seminar, June 20, 2019.
- Moderator, Diversity for Outside Counsel at ABA TIPS (Tort Trial and Insurance Practice) Conference (June 2017)
- Moderator, AI: Artificial Integrity at the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) Global TEC (Technology, Education, and Careers) Forum (June 2017).
- Think Fast—Defending Negligent Security Claims, Moderator, ABA Annual Meeting (August 3, 2018)
- Sexual Harassment during the #metoo Movement: Best Practices for Employers, South Carolina Healthcare Human Resources Association (April 13, 2018)
- The How-Tos on #MeToo, South Carolina Bar, Employment & Labor Law Section (Midyear Meeting, May 11, 2018)
- Moderator & Course Planner, 31st Annual South Carolina / North Carolina Joint Labor & Employment Law Conference, Isle of Palms, SC (October 2015)
- Moderator & Course Planner, South Carolina Bar Seminar on Recent Developments in Labor and Employment Law, Columbia, SC (May 2015)
- Presenter, South Carolina Tort Reform Update, SCDTAA Joint Meeting, Asheville, NC (July 2010)
Civic and Professional Activities
- American Bar Association
- Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
- ABA TIPS Leadership Academy, 2014-2015 Class (one of 22 lawyers nationwide, and the only lawyer selected from South Carolina)
- Appointment to the ABA/TIPS Diversity in the Profession Standing Committee
- Vice Chair, ABA/TIPS Business Litigation Committee (2013-present)
- Vice Chair, ABA/TIPS Trial Techniques Committee (2015-present)
- Vice Chair, ABA/TIPS Employment Law Committee (2015-present)
- Labor and Employment Section
- Host Committee for the Young Lawyers Division (Fall 2012)
- Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
- South Carolina Bar Association Employment & Labor Section
- Chair (2018-2019)
- Chair-Elect (2017-2018)
- Vice Chair (2016-2017)
- Programs Chair (2015-2016)
- Moderator and Course Planner for the S.C. Bar Convention (January 2016)
- CLE Coordinator and Course Planner for the North Carolina/South Carolina Employment Law Joint Meeting (October 2015)
- Moderator and Course Planner for the S.C. Bar Employment Midyear Meeting (May 2015)
- Newsletter Coordinator (2014-2015)
- Charleston County Bar Association
- South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys’ Association (SCDTAA), Employment Substantive Law Committee (2011-2012)
- Charleston Women in International Trade (CWIT)
- Chair (2018-2020)
- Vice Chair (2016-2018)
- Executive Board, Member-At-Large (2015-2016)
- Board Member, Chair of the Programs Committee (2014-2016)
- Board Member, Chair of the Scholarship Committee (2012-2014)
- Roper St. Francis Foundation Fellow, 2017
- Alpha Omicron Pi Alumnae Association, Charleston Chapter
- Junior League of Charleston, League Attorney
- Michigan State Alumni Association, Honorary Member
Honors and Awards
- Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America (BL Rankings), Commercial Litigation, 2021
- Selected to the South Carolina Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) in Civil Litigation, 2015 – 2021
- Named to Charleston Business Magazine’s Legal Elite
- Charleston Regional Business Journal Forty under 40, 2014
- American Bar Association, Tort, Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) Leadership Academy, 2014 – 2015 Class
Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.
- Representation of prominent international automobile manufacturer in preventing and defending claims, expanding plant operations, and supporting workforce ramp-up / employment matters.
- Defense of international and stateside employers in federal and state court matters alleging discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract, wage payment violations, and defamation, resulting in grants of summary judgment and dismissal of claims.
- Representation of international toy manufacturer against distributor in intellectual property, contract, trade dress, and corporate dispute.
- Defense of property management groups in employment, business, real estate, and contract disputes.
- Management of investigations by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Labor (DOL), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other state and federal regulatory and administrative agency investigations, and successful resolution and dismissal of related charges.
- Enforcement and domestication of foreign judgments throughout the State of South Carolina for national and international companies, in accordance with the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code.