Tragedy struck Ashley Smith in 2004 when her husband of two years died in a helicopter accident. Living in South Carolina as a 22 year-old widow, she found herself alone and on the brink of traveling to different states, such as Tennessee and New York, to pursue a music career. After completing various gigs, such as opening for Lady Antebellum, she returned home to Salem, UT and began working at a law firm as a paralegal.
Ashley remarried in 2006, and around this same time, her interest in law increased. She planned to take the LSAT during her senior year of college at the University of Utah where she was majoring in English. However, the due date of her first pregnancy happened to fall on the very date of the LSAT, preventing her from taking it. Eventually, though, in December of 2014, she did take the LSAT, and describes it as “the worst experience ever.”
“After not taking any classes for six years I got physically sick and had to retake it. I took the LSAT again in February and got a good enough score that I got into BYU. I never thought that I would have gotten into BYU Law School. I’m a stay-at-home mom, I have good work ethic and that is what got me in,” Smith said.
While some may say English degrees aren’t good for much, Ashley definitely disagrees. She describes her English degree as invaluable for law school because it taught her how to analyze. “Nothing in law school is absolute and that is how English is; you think it will follow rules but it doesn’t,” Smith said.
Ashley says the major difficulties she has lived through have helped her depend more on her faith in God and have taught her to trust her strict moral compass. These were big factors as she made her decision to come to BYU Law.
“I chose BYU Law because BYU mirrors my personal values as an LDS mom who also wants a career. BYU Law values family, service, and standards that align with my faith, but they also encourage women like me to chase their dreams,” Smith said.