Ruby customer feature: Rapid resourcefulness with Ashton Taylor

Reading time:

For lawyers like Ashton Taylor of the A. Taylor Law Firm, recent months have brought rapid change. Ashton, like many lawyers dedicated to using their knowledge and skills to support their communities, has embraced and leveled up his technology, apps, client services, and equipment at a much more accelerated rate than expected. 

We were delighted to sit down with this valued Ruby customer to hear about what has worked, what hasn’t, and how changes have revolutionized his service and trajectory.

Read the Interview

Jill McKenna: So first, this is my first time getting to talk to you, which I’m super excited about. So I’m Jill, I’m the Brand Manager here at Ruby. Do you mind please telling us a little bit about yourself and your work?

Ashton Taylor:
Okay. I’m a small business owner, as you said, an attorney here in Texas. I’ve been practicing on my own for about nine years—well, it’ll be 10 years this year. I started back in early 2011. My background is in accounting and finance. I worked in corporate America and oil and gas accounting finance here in Houston, Austin area. I decided to go to law school, like a midlife crisis thing. A lot of people go backpacking and jumping out of planes—I just decided to go to law school. I went to law school up here in Texas at Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University and got out. It was a change for me.

School was challenging. I was an older student at the time and just wasn’t used to studying and staying up late and having the weekends where I still had to work. I was working in corporate America. As you know, in business, the weekends were for me. But back in school, it was changed because it wasn’t really any weekends. You just worked through the weekends—Sundays, Saturdays, the same. So that was a big adjustment for me, and it was a different industry. Fast forward—I finished, passed the bar exam. My wife—she wasn’t my wife at the time, but she’s my wife now—she’s an attorney here in Texas and she was just looking for jobs and everything, so I came back and I just started my own firm.

In the beginning, I was just doing anything that came into the door. Because I was on my own, I didn’t have a lot of money for overhead, so I had to get the computer and thank God, my wife, we got married, so she had health insurance, so I didn’t have to worry about that, which was a tremendous blessing.

I was able to do a lot of same kind of work with people that couldn’t really afford attorneys. A lot of my work was court-appointed and court-appointed attorneys, indigent defense work. I did some car accidents and things of that sort.

To fast-forward, over the past 10 years, that business has just grown. And I didn’t do a lot of advertising. I was just blessed to get caught appointments, and through that, get some private business also through Facebook and friends of friends, and things of that sort. I have a good foundation of colleagues and friends from working in the corporate world—and then being from New Orleans, a lot of people that transitioned from New Orleans to Houston in ’05 from Katrina.

The thing about New Orleans—and like you were saying earlier about you being from Chicago—New Orleanians like to put their faith in other New Orleanians. That helped me out being in this big pond in Texas, because everybody that I knew with the Louisiana connection would still come to me and, thank God, give me the business.

I’ve touched every area of the law that’s on a solo basis—family law, criminal defense, I had a business client, breach of contract fraud, I’ve been in federal court, probate, wills, estate planning—and that goes back to my accounting background, I was able to do that. But just now, it’s been good. I’ve been able to hire some other associates. I have another full-time attorney who’s working with me now. She came on staff, and so that’s where I am. I have been pretty successful, I will admit, but up to the pandemic…I’ll stop there and explain to you now where I am.

Jill McKenna:
So, first of all, how did COVID change the kind of businesses that are coming to you?

Ashton Taylor:
To be honest, I’m a community attorney, I feel like. Like I said, I don’t advertise, I’m not on a billboard, but I represent a lot of people in my inner circle, which is in my community. I come from New Orleans—I come from an “impoverished background”. My parents were great. My parents always had us in the best schools and everything like that. So I’m not going to tell that story, like, “I didn’t have any money.” My parents took care of us. They took care of us. But I know that area because I know that, so most of my clientele are people that are low-income. And especially when COVID hit, because like I said, I do get court appointed when it comes to criminal, but a lot of people in family law—because I have a big family law business—that are dealing with divorces and child custody issues, I still have to charge them.

When COVID hit, all the family law business went that way—went up—but the people didn’t have money to pay for an attorney. I had to start just taking things and working with people with payment plans, and it was really, really frustrating, because the level of someone, maybe full-time employer not knowing if they were going to continue to work—I know I have a lot of friends and clients that are bartenders, that work in the hospitality industry, and so you know what happened with restaurants and bars, they immediately shut down. So a lot of my clientele or a lot of people that needed the family law because they’re shut down, but people still have those children issues and those custody issues: “Oh, it’s a lockdown. I don’t want my kids to go to online schooling.” So the issues just went up, but the money didn’t. That was a big challenge. My family, my business—it picked up, but I had to turn down a lot of cases because people didn’t have the money to pay me.

Jill McKenna:
Wow. I mean, talk about a shift in structure, and I feel like we’re seeing that in so many ways. There’s healthcare—people who are out of work can’t afford it. So all of a sudden I feel like we’re seeing more sliding scale, we’re seeing more payment programs arising, and probably that’s an overdue thing for our economy.

Read More

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Title card: Creativity, connections, and client relationships—with Nathan Wilson, The Narrative
Small Business Tips

Creativity, connections, and client relationships—with Nathan Wilson of The Narrative

Illustration of a woman with a lovely voice speaking

How to make your voice sound better

Ruby customer feature series title card: Rebecca Flanagan, Flanagan Legal Services
Customer Feature

Ruby customer feature: Rebecca Flanagan, Flanagan Legal Services

Business handshake: close-up part of two young women shaking hands and smiling while sitting at business meeting with their coworkers
Small Business Tips

Coopetition: how to grow your business by partnering with a competitor

Headsets hangs on powered-off computers in an empty office
Small Business Tips

Worker shortage explained: what 2021’s workforce issues mean for your business

A traffic light sign is nearly submerged by a massive flood—one example of the extreme weather events caused by climate change.
Small Business Tips

Getting real about climate change

Man makes notes in a notebook on a table with a phone
Small Business Tips

What you lose when you send every call to voicemail

An illustration of a phone ringing next to a magnifying glass that reveals text: "Ruby calling…"
Receptionist Tips

Receptionist secrets revealed: 5 tricks to grow your business by wowing your customers

A group of professionals sit in a well-lit office watching a man in a hoodie present and point to a whiteboard
Small Business Tips

How IT answering services help you engage & retain customers

Collage of people on phones with title: Real receptionists. Unreal results. Build lasting loyalty with Ruby.
About Ruby

Getting started with Ruby: what to expect

Female-presenting freelancer wearing elegant sweater and round earrings working in front of open laptop, sitting in cozy home office interior, drinking coffee, browsing websites
Small Business Tips

Does your business really need a website? 6 myths about your online presence

An illustration showing that people who call translate into money for a business, while people who visit a website are left without a next step, and bounce to competitors' websites
Small Business Tips

You don’t leave your callers hanging. But what about your website visitors?

Collage of group of young people over colorful vintage isolated background smiling doing phone gesture with hand and fingers, pantomiming talking on the telephone.
Receptionist Tips

The power of answering the phone in one ring

Ruby logo + Clio logo
Legal Practice Tips

Ruby + Clio = happier clients + more billable hours

Small Business Tips

You don’t have to be the “everything business.”

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Sales Support

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

Ready to turn more callers into customers?

Missed connections translate to lost revenue. With Ruby, you have a partner in gaining and retaining customers. Plus, we’re so confident you’ll love our service, we offer a 21 day money-back guarantee*.

*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the cancelled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner.


The Secret to Successful Law Firms

The inside scoop on Clio’s latest legal trends report.

Phone Thumbnail 2

10 Questions to Ask a Virtual Reception Provider

Ask the right questions and rate virtual reception services with our handy guide and scorecard!