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Sara Stout Ashcraft

Sara Stout Ashcraft

Partner, Ashcraft Franklin & Young, LLP

Years in current role: 19

What do you enjoy most about practicing family law?

What I like most about the practice of family law is that it is never static. The particulars in each case are different and the evolution of statutory law and — even greater — case law requires attorneys to stay on top of issues.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with over the past year?

The biggest challenge I’ve dealt with over the past almost two years are the changes in legal practice suddenly brought on by the pandemic. The abrupt shutdown of law offices and court closures threw my practice into limbo. There was no information up front as to what was going to happen to pending cases, and clients were sometimes distressed because I didn’t have answers to all their questions.

What do you see as the biggest changes in family law in the next 3-5 years?

The biggest changes in family law over the next 3-5 years will likely be adjusting to more elaborate internet courtroom protocols. While technology has improved, it is certainly not seamless. Additionally, being able to comfortably deal with evidence and witnesses in virtual trials is going to present a steep learning curve for most attorneys. Beyond the technology, there can be difficult issues involved with virtual court appearances. For example, as happened in another state, an abusive spouse could be secretly in the room threatening the other spouse who is appearing before the court.

What is one personal goal you have for the next year?

I want to go on vacation to a warm place and not have to worry about having to carry a mask and back-up mask with me.