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WJA 2021: Ashley E. Benoist

When she encountered people in Ecuador who didn’t have clean drinking water, Ashley Benoist decided to focus her life and career on helping people.

benoistBenoist began her college education as a pre-veterinary medicine major. During a study abroad program that focused on preserving the integrity and natural landscape of Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, her attention shifted to the people who live there. When she returned to the U.S., she changed her major to political science and then went on to law school. She holds a B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from the University of Missouri School of Law.

Her career includes interning with the Office of Chief Counsel for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She was the executive director of a Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) lodge, representing police officers in negotiations with local governments. She also served as a legislative analyst for the Public Safety Committee in the Missouri House of Representatives.

In her current position as a Senior Associate with Stanton | Barton LLC in St. Louis, Benoist handles civil litigation cases involving torts, transportation law and products liability. Her responsibilities include representing companies that manufacture automobiles, industrial and manufacturing equipment, chemical products, and electrical equipment. She also continues to represent police officers through the FOP. In addition, she supervises and mentors younger associates and chairs her firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

“I practice law across the country,” Benoist says. “I currently have cases in Louisiana, New York, Wisconsin and Arizona. Pre-COVID, I did a lot of traveling related to products my clients are producing and how those products are being used. I once toured a copper smelting mine in Arizona.”

One of Benoist’s recent career successes is also one of her favorite moments as an attorney. She filed and argued a motion for summary judgment in a pro-plaintiff venue and won. “I didn’t expect us to win,” she says. “We did, and the case was dismissed. Our client was a small business owner. It was a really good feeling to be the advocate for them and get the resolution they deserved.”

Outside the courtroom, Benoist continues to give back to her community. With the support of her firm and the partners, she and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee began the Futures for All Scholarship Program for St. Louis County teens. She is also a fundraiser for ALIVE — helping women and families affected by domestic violence — and the South County Foster Care Closet. She organized a food pantry at her church and currently serves as troop leader for two Girl Scout troops.

“My biggest professional accomplishment this year is achieving work success and family success,” Benoist says. “I’m mom to two biological children and a foster child. When I look back over 2021, I can’t believe we’ve survived all this. We are coming out of this stronger and with a strong sense of where we want to go.”

Women's Justice Awards 2021