You might say that Ashley Dobbs walked the walk before she talked the talk. When Dobbs joined the law school faculty in 2015 as director of the Intellectual Property and Transactional Law Clinic, she came with a background in intellectual property commercialization and trademark work, as well as extensive experience in business and startup enterprises. Looking back, “It’s as if I planned a career to be able to talk to [the students] about all the options that are out here,” Dobbs said.

Before law school, Dobbs worked in corporate communications, started her own business consulting firm, worked at an advertising promotions agency, and started and sold a pet services business. Her interactions with the legal system piqued her interest in the law.

She decided on Richmond Law to launch her legal career and found her first post-graduate job at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). “They thought I was a perfect fit for the IP commercialization group,” Dobbs said. Dobbs thrived doing trademark work with major firms, software licensing for big media, litigation, and more. She also put her passion for animal welfare to good use through the firm’s generous pro bono policy (including the time she worked with Jane Goodall on her trademarks).

After Hogan & Hartson, Dobbs tried her hand at opening her own practice before joining and building up an intellectual property practice to become a shareholder at Bean, Kinney & Korman in northern Virginia. Dobbs describes her career trajectory as a Goldilocks-type experience: “I went to the big firm, and it was too big,” said Dobbs. “I started my own firm, and it was too small. And then I went to the mid-size firm, and it was just right.”

Now, 15 years after she started at Richmond Law, Dobbs has found a new “just right” balance at her alma mater.

“One of the frustrating things about practice … is that I never really got to teach people,” Dobbs said.

She also found an outlet for her other passion: Dobbs is a faculty adviser for the Animal Law Society.