LEADERSHIP IN LAW 2016: Ashley N. Osak

Associate, Plews Shadley Racher & Braun LLP, Indianapolis; Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 2013

May 4, 2016

In Ashley Osak’s short time as an attorney, she has made a positive and lasting impression on colleagues, clients and those in the community. She joined the firm in 2014 and quickly made an impact, helping to strategically grow the firm’s health care practice. She exhibits first-rate professionalism, leadership and instincts, and has even been described as a “rock star.” She represented a physician in his relocation to Indiana to take a medical director position at a hospital and eased his concerns about the state after the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015. Ashley represents the kind of attorney that will define the legal profession in the future.

osak-1col.jpg (IL photo/Eric Learned)

Why do you practice in health law?

I have been surrounded by health care providers my entire life, but always knew I didn’t have the stomach to be one myself. When I committed to law school, I knew I needed to focus on something I was passionate about and that would continuously challenge me throughout my career. Having an understanding of our health care system, especially at a time where it was and is going through such significant change, sounded like the perfect niche for me as an attorney.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mentor?

This is a good one. I had some really incredible mentors guide me through law school and I have gained several more during my career. They’ve all taught me a lot, including the importance of asking questions when you’re unfamiliar with a topic or issue, and the value of networking with other professionals (not just attorneys) who work with similar clients and in similar settings. My mentors have also done an outstanding job of showing me how to balance both work and family, which I’ve learned is quite an art.  

What’s your guilty pleasure?

In-N-Out Burger. I grew up in Southern California, so when I head back for visits, it’s usually my first meal after I land at the airport and my last meal as I head back.

What do you like the most about being an attorney? What do you like least?

I really enjoy helping people solve some of their most difficult problems. On the other hand, the stress level can sometimes be a little much.

What’s something about you not many people know?

I took voice lessons growing up. For most of my youth I swore I would be a country music star.

What civic cause is the most important to you?

Children and the elderly. These two groups of individuals are such a vulnerable population and I think those of us in the middle need to constantly be aware of how decisions we make can affect them in the most drastic ways. My volunteer efforts and community outreach have almost always centered around children, the elderly, and their health and well-being. I am a board member at both Heritage Place of Indianapolis and the Little Wish Foundation, where I can impact individuals in these populations on an ongoing basis.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

That seems so far away! I hope to still be practicing health law and enjoying it as much as I do today. I also hope to have traveled much of the world by then, but definitely Thailand, South America, and Greece.

If you couldn’t be a lawyer, what would you do for a living?

I would teach Pilates and barre classes. I’ve come to love these classes and the effect they have on my mental and physical health.

Why is it important to be active within legal and community organizations?

I think it is so important for people to be involved in organizations that affect and support their careers, as well as organizations within their communities. Being part of something outside of your day-to-day work gives you the opportunity to see the issues and experiences that others around you have. Involvement also brings a sense of self-awareness and opens up opportunities to give back.

What will the legal profession look like in 15 years?

That’s tough to predict. I think it will largely continue to evolve and incorporate technology in different ways, some good and some bad. But the law isn’t going anywhere; it’s just getting more complex and various fields are always being increasingly monitored and regulated (like health care). The legal profession will have to keep up with these changes because clients will still need someone knowledgeable to help guide them through it all.

What was the most memorable job you had prior to becoming an attorney?

I worked at a hotel spa while I was in undergrad. I was surrounded by some of the most calm, centered people I had met in my life and the perks were great! I definitely miss free massages.


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