A blossoming legal career: Read about the unique way 2L Ashley Koford started at SLC’s Lotus Company

Dec 12, 2023 | Students

by Lindsay Wilcox

Ashley Koford, a young white woman with short blonde hair curled at the ends wearing a white turtleneck and black vestAfter taking a break from the hospitality industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, 2L Ashley Koford began looking for a new job when restaurants opened again after lockdowns. She didn’t expect a job at a new brewery to open doors for her at a real estate company, but that’s just what happened.

“The brewery was right on the banks of the river and the staff seemed great, so I applied and was hired shortly thereafter. I worked there for a total of a year and seven months, witnessing the brewery finding its footing,” Koford recalls. “The CEO of the Lotus Company, the real estate development company that owned the brewery, spent quite a bit of time there overseeing the business, and he got to know me a little through our interactions there. I ended up talking with him at an event about my educational goals at the S.J. Quinney College of Law and my career goals more broadly. He ended up offering me a job at the real estate development company.”

As a transaction manager at the Lotus Company, Koford corresponds with investors, partners, lenders, and colleagues about different development projects and investments.

“I work with our legal counsel to document and implement business formations, financing, acquisitions, dispositions, and other transactions. I collaborate actively with my colleagues to discuss deal structures, ideas, and research we have been working on as a team to further the goals of the company,” she says. “I ensure that deadlines are recorded and met when we start a project and move through the process. It’s not a field I had prior experience in, but I have had so much support in learning and growing there.”

Because her undergraduate degree is in political science and her previous work experience was within hospitality, Koford says her field placement at the Lotus Company was initially disorienting.

“At first, it was a lot of learning, looking things up, using AI to explain even simple concepts, and a little sprinkle of imposter syndrome. Throughout my time working there, I have begun to be more confident in my knowledge and ability to keep up with the fast pace of the industry (although there is always so much more to learn),” she says.

The best part of her job, Koford says, is the wealth of opportunities to learn not just in the legal space but in the business space.

“My bosses have invested time and resources into mentoring me, growing my knowledge base, and involving me in the process so that I learn more every step of each project,” she says. “It’s kept me engaged and motivated the entire time that I’ve worked there, and I’ve really enjoyed that aspect of it. It helps that my coworkers are great, too.”

When she isn’t at the Lotus Company, Koford is finishing her second year at Utah Law. She says the connections she has made through the college have been invaluable.

“One of my roommates is actually a friend that I met through law school. The fellow students I have met have been so friendly, willing to build each other up, and eager to make law school and life generally more enjoyable,” she says. “The school’s prioritization of the mental health of their student community has also been really valuable to me. As we all know, law school and life generally can be quite a struggle sometimes, and the resources I have had access to through the school have given me the support I’ve needed to be as successful as I can.”

Koford says she is most passionate about combining her knowledge of law with other interests.

“On the professional side, I love seeing the connection between business, real estate, and law. On the personal side, I spend the majority of my free time exploring outdoors, whether that be climbing, camping, hiking, canyoneering, or mountaineering,” she says. “It fascinates me to witness how the legal side of wilderness management factors into the protection of the public lands that I love and seek to preserve for my own enjoyment and for future generations. I think that the value these lands provide to society is absolutely crucial, and legal professionals have the knowledge, and thus the power, to help protect that precious resource.”

Though she still has more than a year until graduation, Koford is planning to stay at the Lotus Company and develop her career there.

“I hope to provide legal expertise after I graduate and pass the bar to help streamline the company’s processes and give insight into current and planned goals and operations,” she says. “I also hope to utilize the business and real estate knowledge base I am cultivating now to provide direction in my studies and in my legal practice after law school.”

Get to know more about Ashley in the video spotlight below—and check out more videos of students and alumni on YouTube.