Member Spotlight: Ashley Tollakson

Ashley Tollakson is a family attorney and co-founder of The Compassionate Alliance. She can be reached by email at, by telephone at 515-223-1631, or by mail at 2700 Westown Parkway, Suite 245, WDM, Iowa 50266.


Tell us about yourself
I grew up in West Des Moines, Iowa, having graduated from Valley High School. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of Iowa and my law degree from Drake University Law School. I was admitted to practice law in Iowa in 2009, and embarked on a career dedicated to helping families in transition/crisis. In May 2015, I partnered with Kim Stamatelos and together we formed Stamatelos & Tollakson, PLLC. I am also a certified family law mediator, and regularly mediate divorce and other family law related matters..Lastly, for the past two years I have been teaching Mediation as an adjunct professor at Drake University Law School.

I reside in Des Moines, Iowa with my husband, TJ, son Theo (4), daughter Drew (3) and daughter Frankie (1).


Your notable achievements?
I qualified and competed in the 2012 Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Houston, Texas.

In 2013, I also had the opportunity to present a case before the Iowa Supreme Court, In re Marriage of Michael, 839 N.W.2d 630 (Iowa 2013).


Why you do what you do?
I am passionate about helping families transition peacefully and launching them successfully post-divorce. My law partner Kimberly Stamatelos and I formed The Compassionate Alliance because we are committed to reclaiming the practice of law as a healing profession. Our innovative methods are designed to restore dignity to all parties and contribute to a healthier society. Our primary concern is finding the most appropriate solution for our clients and their families. Our clients receive dedicated legal representation and a comprehensive plan tailored to their unique family situation, including parenting, divorce and post-divorce plans. Our approach helps set them on a path to healing that will last long after the completion of their case.


What you do to get away from work?
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, running and hitting up a yoga class at Powerlife Yoga. I also enjoy shopping, visiting local restaurants and the occasional glass of wine ☺


What you do to give back to the community?
I serve on the Board of Directors for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. In addition, I provide pro bono legal / mediation services for indigent people in Polk County and I enjoy mentoring young lawyers.


Best thing about the Polk County Bar Association?
The best thing about the Polk County Bar Association is its commitment to helping young lawyers and its willingness to facilitate access to legal services to members of our community who otherwise couldn’t afford them.


Words to live by?
“We rise by lifting others.”


Your favorite book?
The Compassionate Lawyer, by Kimberly Stamatelos. This should be a required reading for all attorneys.


Best place to visit in Polk County?
I love being outdoors, so my number one place to visit in Polk County would be Gray’s Lake. It’s the perfect place for a run, walk with the family or a little water sports action.


Anything you would change about Polk County?
Add more protected bike lanes so that I can stop worrying every time my husband leaves for a bike ride (which is almost daily). My kids would also love to have an indoor BMX track so that they could ride their bikes year round.


If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor and why?
I consider myself very fortunate to have had several excellent mentors throughout my legal career. Most notably, my first boss, J.D. Hartung, and my current law partner, Kimberly Stamatelos. Kimberly Stamatelos has been a pioneer/innovator in our law community for many years and I am lucky to be able to work alongside her in our practice every day.


What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Like a lot of kids, I started out wanting to be a veterinarian. I soon realized that I wasn’t cut out for that. The thought of a dog suffering and/or in pain is too much for me to handle. I knew I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in middle school. I was frequently grounded for attempting to point out the flaws in all of my parents’ arguments and having the last word.


What songs are included on the soundtrack to your life?
Tom Petty – Running Down a Dream; Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling; Bon Jovi – Living on a Prayer; Celine Dion and Neyo – Incredible; Jay Z and Rhinanna – Run this Town; and Aerosmith – Dream On.


Last movie you saw? (Or favorite movie and why)
I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater. The last movie I watched was Boss Baby…one of the many luxuries of having three kids under the age of five ☺