Emma O. Gillespie

Member, Seattle

Emma O. Gillespie Profile Picture

Professional Experience

Emma Gillespie's practice focuses on defending people, businesses and schools in civil litigation. Emma has more than a decade of school litigation experience and attended the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Emma earned approval as panel counsel for the Washington Schools Risk Management Pool in 2008.  She has handled more than 100 school liability cases, which has involved representation of twenty school districts.  More recently, Emma's practice focus has included numerous maritime matters.  She has enjoyed the challenges posed by this unique practice area, as well as her involvement in a fascinating and important local industry.

Her passion for school litigation and her active involvement in organizations relating to such litigation reflects her dedication to her field of practice and local community. This results in representation that upholds the integrity of the people, businesses, and schools for which Emma advocates.

Professionally, every case presents new facts and new issues.  The challenge is coming up with new and creative ways to address these issues in a manner that is unique and effective for each particular situation. These challenges keep legal work fresh and interesting, and Emma seizes the opportunity to help bring about solutions to unresolved problems.

Education

Emma graduated cum laude from Seattle University School of Law in May of 2002.

She received a Bachelor's Degree in Politics, as well as a Certificate in Environmental Studies from Princeton University in 1999.

Admitted to Practice

  • Washington State Courts (WSBA #33255)
  • United States District Court, Western District of Washington

Professional & Community Activities

  • Emma is a member of the Washington State Bar Association, the King County Bar Association, and the Washington State Defense Trial Lawyers. She is also a member of the Washington Council of School Attorneys, as well as the Marine Insurance Association of Seattle.
  • She is the Pro Bono coordinator for Preg O’Donnell & Gillett, a program that she initiated and implemented for the firm and through which the firm provides legal services to those in need.
  • She is also an adjunct professor at Seattle University’s College of Education, where she teaches an Education Law course to educators and administration officials from many different backgrounds about a variety of legal issues that affect every day school operations.

Publications & Presentations

  • Presenter, “Search and Seizure Situations in School Settings.” Training hosted by Washington School Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, March 30, 2018.
  • Presenter, “Search and Seizure in Schools: What You Need to Know” and “FERPA: Safeguarding Student Privacy and Avoiding Potential Third-Party Issues.”  Education Law Issues in Washington seminar hosted by National Business Institute, Olympia, WA, December 8, 2017.
  • Presenter, “Student Safety: Ten Hidden Hazards.”  School Law Conference Sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, October 16, 2017.
  • Presenter, “Legal Issues in School Nursing.” Spring Conference sponsored by the School Nurse Organization of Washington (SNOW),  Fife, WA, March 17, 2017.
  • Presenter, “Handling Hostile Work Environment Allegations: From the Offended to the Offensive,” School Law Conference Sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, October 18, 2016.
  • Presenter, “Outbreak! Pandemic! Panic! Immunizations and Tools for Preventing and Responding to Communicable Diseases,” School Law Conference Sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, October 20, 2015.
  • Presenter, “Risk Management for School Nurses,” K-20 training sponsored by OSPI, Olympia, WA, October 21, 2015.
  • Presenter, “FERPA 201,” School Law Conference sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, October 14, 2014.
  • Presenter, "Physical Security of Student Records," National Business Institute Seminar, Seattle, WA, December 11, 2013.
  • Presenter, "Rules for Schools: Steps to Avoid Liability," School Law Conference sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Seattle, WA, October 14, 2013.
  • Presenter, "Farm to School Webinar," sponsored by Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, December 4, 2012.
  • Presenter, "Liability Concerns Arising from Procurement of Local Foods as well as Farm to School and Related School Programs," School Law Conference sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, October 22, 2012.
  • Presenter, "Dangerous Students in Our Schools," School Law Conference sponsored by Washington School Personnel Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Tukwila, WA, October 18, 2010.
  • Presenter, "Athletic Liability Training," Washington Schools Risk Management Pool seminar at the Puget Sound Educational Service offices in Renton and Anacortes, WA, October 8 and November 18, 2009.
  • Presenter, "Media Relations for School Boards and Administrators," School Law Seminar sponsored by Washington Education Association and Washington Schools Risk Management Pool, Seattle, WA, October 26, 2009.

Honors

  • Emma was named a Washington Law & Politics Rising Star in 2009, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.