Erin B. Ashwell Partner

Erin is a partner for the firm’s nationally ranked Government Investigations & White Collar Litigation Department. Erin recently served as Chief Deputy Attorney General for Virginia and has a strong background in government investigations that encompass regulatory, criminal and civil matters. Erin assists clients in consumer protection, criminal litigation, political and state attorney general enforcement and investigation issues, and appellate cases in the education, labor & employment, and healthcare industries.

As Virginia’s Chief Deputy Attorney General under then Attorney General Mark Herring, Erin set legal strategy for more than 500 employees tasked with representing Virginia’s executive agencies as well as the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She played key roles in major consumer protection, including the bipartisan, multistate action against the opioid manufacturers. She also coordinated legal strategy and advice for Virginia’s COVID-19 response, including reviewing and defending Gov. Ralph Northam’s executive orders. Her work during a time of crisis prompted the National Association of Attorneys General to honor her with the organization’s meritorious service award.   

Before her government role, Erin provided legal services to clients at a Roanoke, VA-based law firm, where she had a diverse litigation and appellate practice, carrying out a variety of Title IX and Title VII investigations, often when they overlapped with alleged criminal conduct. She began her career as a trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division. She also served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia for then Magistrate Judge, now Chief Judge, Michael Urbanski from 2009-2010.

Erin is the co-founder of Turn the Page, a volunteer organization providing books and food in coordination with Roanoke City Public Schools and the Roanoke Bar Association.

Experience

Supervised first pattern and practice investigation against law enforcement entity on behalf of the Commonwealth.

Formulated legal strategy for successful defense of state executive orders over nine-plus weeks of successive preliminary injunction challenges.

Won reversal of a $5.75 million judgment in Supreme Court of Virginia appeal that established new affirmative defense.

Resolved consumer protection matter involving dual criminal investigation and consumer protection litigation.

Conducted internal investigation into allegations of bullying and discrimination at a nonprofit organization.

Advised public school system on employment matters, free speech, and school law.

  • Harvard Law School, JD, cum laude, 2006
  • Harvard University, AB, Government, magna cum laude, 2002

Member, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules Advisory Committee

Member, Boyd-Graves Conference

Board Member, Appellate Council, Virginia Bar Association

Former President, Roanoke Chapter, Virginia Women’s Attorneys Association

Former Member, State Board, Virginia Women’s Attorneys Association

Former Member, Ted Dalton Inn of Court

Former Adjunct Professor, University of Virginia School of Law

Former Lecturer, Hollins University

Co-Founder, Turn the Page

Former Board Member, Virginia State Board of Historic Resources

Former Trustee & Executive Board Member, Boys and Girls Club of Southwest Virginia

Co-Founder, H-Pop, Harvard Institution of Politics

  • Virginia
  • California
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court of Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Named to "Influential Women of Law," Virginia Lawyers Weekly, 2022

Recipient, "Meritorious Service Award," National Association of Attorneys General, 2021

Emerge Virginia Graduate, 2019

Named "Virginia Business Legal Elite," 2015, 2017-2020

Named "Virginia Business Legal Rising Star," 2013-2016

Recipient, "President’s Award for Volunteer Service," 2013

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