In Emily Ambrose’s first year at William Mitchell College of Law, a professor opened one of his lectures with the grim prognostication: the economy was about to tank and a lot of the students would have trouble finding work.
“Nobody bought it and the 3Ls that year all got jobs through the OCI,” Ambrose recalls. Of course, the Cassandra of William Mitchell was right and, by the time Ambrose graduated in 2010, many of the freshly-minted J.D.s were all dressed up with no place to go.
A self-identified nerd who is drawn to the more academic aspects of law, Ambrose lined up a clerkship with Judge Kevin Ross of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. “It was a perfect fit. I enjoy writing and legal research and Judge Ross is one of the best writers on the court,” she says, noting that the output required of clerks – basically, a new bench memo every week — is ideal training for civil litigation.
After a second clerkship at the Court of Appeals, Ambrose joined Blackwell Burke, where, according to colleague Brendan Kenny, her “top notch writing skills” and trial lawyer mentality helped to secure a victory in her first big case — a class action lawsuit brought by consumers over whether Hebrew National brand hotdogs are really kosher.
The case never went to trial because Blackwell Burke’s client – Con Angra – prevailed on standing before the U.S. District Court and the 8th Circuit. But, Ambrose notes, it did earn a mention from Jon Stewart.
Ambrose grew up in St. Paul, where her parents own a locksmith shop. After graduating from Central High School, she enrolled at St. Mary’s University in Winona, where she played ice hockey and majored in psychology and criminal justice.
She now lives in northeast Minneapolis with her wife, a volunteer coordinator at the Greater Twin Cities United Way. The couple is expecting their first child, a boy, in November.