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Ashlea G. Schwarz | Up & Coming Lawyer

Ashlea G. Schwarz, 32, attorney, Paul McInnes, Kansas City

Practice areas: Commercial litigation

Law school: University of Kansas School of Law

Collective actions for unpaid wages are the kinds of cases that seem almost destined to result in a settlement, but Ashlea Schwarz has managed to beat those odds by taking several to jury trials or arbitration. In doing so, she’s managed to fend off defense attorneys from larger firms to win multimillion-dollar awards for workers who were misclassified as managers or required to work extra without compensation.

This summer, Schwarz moved her practice to the Kansas City firm of Paul McInnes, where she continues to prosecute contingent-fee commercial, bankruptcy, and employment litigation.

When home for the holidays, Schwarz volunteers at a food shelter in Wichita. When she learned that they needed small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, she realized she had the perfect resource — a network of lawyers traveling across the country. She began to hit them up for their “leftover” bottles from hotels and is now able to deliver sacks of toiletries to those in need.

What was your least-favorite class in law school? 

If professional student was a (paid) profession, I would be one; I’ve not met a class I didn’t like at least a little bit. But subject matter is another story — I wisely chose a practice that doesn’t require me to ever understand the Rule Against Perpetuities.

What’s been your favorite moment as an attorney so far?

My first cross-examination, which happened to be a blind cross on a witness about whom I knew nothing more than her name and that she worked for the defendant. Most thrilling, exhilarating and terrifying moment. And, helpfully but unintentionally, she gave up the farm!

What’s your favorite website or app and why?

I’m going to be honest and go with Some days you just need some fluff to counterbalance the intensity of the legalese.