Photo of Emily Gause

Emily Gause

Class of 2011

Gause Law Offices

What type of law do you currently practice?

Criminal defense, representing people accused of felony crimes in state and federal courts across Washington State.

What did you do before law school and what led you to pursue a law degree?

I knew I was going to law school to become a criminal defense attorney after my first criminal justice class my freshman year at Washington State University. I felt so compelled to help fix a broken system. I remember hearing statistics of recidivism rates and thinking about how prison/jail does no good in preventing crime or rehabilitating those who desperately need support and services. I never considered being a prosecutor. For me, it was always defense.

What law school experiences helped you establish your current career?

I was very active in the Moot Court Board, both as a competitor in mock trials and on the board helping to administer the competitions. Participating in mock trials was fantastic experience in oral advocacy, confidence in the courtroom, and how to prepare for direct and cross examination of witnesses. I was also on the Seattle Journal for Social Justice which helped me become a better legal writer. I gravitated toward courses that I knew would support my desire to be a criminal defense attorney: criminal procedure, pretrial and trial advocacy, death penalty seminar, domestic violence seminar, poverty law, client counseling and negotiation, and the civil equal justice seminar. I also externed for my entire 3L year with the Northwest Defender Association, a public defender agency in King County. I worked in the juvenile unit representing kids accused of crimes.

Describe how the skills and/or knowledge you gained in law school help you in your day-to-day work.

So much of my advocacy for my clients depends on good legal writing skills. A well-written, persuasive motion to suppress may influence the prosecutor into dismissing the charges or giving my client a really great plea deal. Graduating from the #1 legal writing program in the country directly benefits my clients every single day.

What advice would you give to prospective or current students?

Form relationships with your professors. Invest in your education. Get involved in extra-curricular activities. Be selective in choosing courses that contribute to your end goal, in whichever practice area you want to end up in. Be friendly to your future colleagues — you will end up practicing beside them, against them, and eventually (for some of them) in front of them when they become judges. Be mindful that your reputation in law school can follow you. Treat others with dignity and respect. And have fun! Enjoy all those social events with the endless supply of cheese and wine.