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2019 Most Influential Women: Ashley Norgard

Kutak Rock LLP

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Ashley Norgard is known for her direct, no-nonsense legal advice.

As an attorney in Kutak Rock LLP’s Springfield office, she serves as outside general counsel to large and midsize companies, with a focus on workforce development, retention and recruitment matters.

“Many midsize companies need sophisticated advice but don’t have the luxury of in-house counsel,” Norgard says. “I help bridge that gap.”

She takes pride in her work as a negotiator and communicator. In late 2018, Norgard’s skills were validated when she says her biggest corporate clients followed her in a transition to Kutak Rock. After five years with Husch Blackwell LLP, Norgard joined the legal staff at Kutak Rock, which had entered the Springfield market earlier in the year.

“My client relationships are my No. 1 priority,” says Norgard, a self-described “professional secret-keeper and adviser.”

“I’m grateful they recognize my loyalty to them and returned the gesture.”

In the Kutak Rock office, she also supervises paralegals, legal assistants and junior associates.

“I like to challenge people to be better versions of themselves,” she says.

She began her legal career in 2013 with Husch Blackwell, after graduating with a Juris Doctor from Faulkner Law in Montgomery, Alabama. She gained experience mediating, negotiating and litigating legal disputes for business clients – often defending employers from claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.

Two years ago, Norgard was part of a team representing a pretrial detainee after he was brutally attacked and left blind in one eye by other prison inmates. She says a federal judge appointed Husch Blackwell to the case, and the firm took it on pro bono.

Her role was to help the client, who had been in and out of jail for nearly two decades on methamphetamine charges.

“I helped him get the necessary medical treatment to restore his vision,” she recalls. “After he served his sentence, we worked to find him stable housing, obtain clothes and toiletries, clear up old debts, and work on his mental health and support network. He has been sober for almost three years, earned a promotion into management at his job, helps others who are battling addiction and is a law-abiding, tax-paying, productive citizen.”

Norgard says it’s one of her proudest professional accomplishments: “He says I saved his life and gave him hope.”

Norgard’s legal work earned her recognition as a Top Business Practitioner in the 2017 Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly Women’s Justice Awards.

In the community, she’s a trustee for the Springfield-Greene County Library District, helping manage its $14.7 million budget this year. In 2018, Norgard served as treasurer for City Councilman Matt Simpson’s successful election campaign, and earlier this year helped the Dickerson Park Zoo create The Flock, a young professional membership group for the zoo.

“If there’s one thing I’m known for other than my direct, no-nonsense legal advice, it’s my introductions of other people,” she says.

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