CAS 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award: Ashley-Nicole Russell '08

BOONE, N.C. — The Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is pleased to announce Ashley-Nicole Russell '08 as the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award. Russell was presented with the award at the Appalachian State Alumni Association's Alumni Awards Gala on Saturday, July 15.

Russell, Esq. is an award-winning family law attorney, author, speaker and advocate who is changing the way divorce is perceived around the world. As a child of divorce and divorcee, she brings a unique, relatable and personal understanding to AN|R Law Offices and the communities it serves. As the first Collaborative law firm in eastern North Carolina, AN|R Law has office locations in Greenville, Raleigh, Beaufort and Wilmington. With over a decade of experience as a dedicated and passionate Collaborative family law attorney, she launched Delivering Divorce Differently, an online module training platform, to guide other legal professionals in developing firms that focus on out-of-court processes.

Russell graduated Magna Cum Laude from Appalachian State University with a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. She went on to attend North Carolina Central University School of Law where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and earned a Juris Doctor and a Certificate in Dispute Resolution from the Dispute Resolution Institute. Russell trained with the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, a Nobel Peace Prize nominated organization, and was appointed to the group’s International Membership Committee. As a way to further awareness of Collaborative Practice in her home state, she co-founded the North Carolina Collaborative Attorney Network.

Ashley-Nicole Russell, Esq. is an award-winning family law attorney, author, speaker and advocate who is changing the way divorce is perceived around the world. As an alumna of Appalachian State University's Department of Government and Justice Studies, Russell is proud to support her alma mater. Most recently, she provided financial support to name a faculty lounge in the newly renovated Sanford Hall.

Russell is the author of The Cure for Divorce Culture and the host of the “Divorce, Healthy!" podcast. She is an advisor for co-parenting app Fayr, an angel investor of online divorce service Hello Divorce and a member of the national board of directors for the National Parents Organization. She also serves as the Vice President for the Carteret County Bar Association and is on the Board of Trustees for Ann Street United Methodist Church in Beaufort, North Carolina.

As an expert in divorce culture, Russell has appeared on various multi-media platforms to discuss Collaborative law, conflict resolution in the workplace and the future of divorce in America. Russell has been featured in ForbesThe Washington Post and ABC, NBC and CBS news affiliates. She actively shares her mission nationwide by speaking at events, conferences and trainings focused on family law, human resources and shared parenting.

With wide-ranging experience in the legal industry throughout North Carolina, she co-founded and co-owns two additional law firms with varying services. McLawhorn & Russell, PLLC, with locations in Raleigh, Greenville and Beaufort focuses in employment law, family law and civil litigation. Michael & Russell, PLLC, headquartered in Wilmington, focuses on adoption law and Collaborative family law.

The CAS Outstanding Alumni Award was instituted in 1998 to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves through their remarkable contributions to a profession, through their ability to provide leadership, through public service activities, through outstanding creative endeavors or through other accomplishments. To learn more about the award, visit


About Alumni Affairs
The Office of Alumni Affairs provides networking opportunities, affinity program discounts, alumni chapter gatherings and special events, merchandise and travel tour options to Appalachian State University alumni. The Appalachian State University Alumni Association consists of nearly 142,000 living App State alumni. Membership is free and open to all graduates of App State. The association’s mission is to help alumni remember their App State Experience and stay connected with current Mountaineers, and to work to ensure that those experiences are available for future App State alumni by raising support for the Alumni Memorial Scholarship and The Appalachian Fund.

About the Department of Government and Justice Studies
Appalachian State University’s Department of Government and Justice Studies offers undergraduate programs in political science and criminal justice, and graduate programs in political science and public administration. Housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, the department has over 600 undergraduate majors and more than 70 graduate students. Learn more at

By Lauren Andersen
July 17, 2023

Ashley-Nicole Russell '08, the recipient of the Appalachian State University College of Arts and Sciences' 2023 Outstanding Alumni Award
Published: Jul 17, 2023 8:45am