Emily Thompson was drawn to criminal law by the stories of the people involved, particularly the victims.
“I was also drawn to prosecution by a desire to protect the rights of crime victims,” said Thompson, an assistant attorney general for the Wisconsin Department of Justice. “Working in this field seemed to me to be a real-time way to help them, while at the same time working to prevent future crime.”
Thompson has been in her current role for six years, working as a traffic safety resource prosecutor. She is responsible for helping prosecutors across the state with traffic crimes, primarily serious and complicated operating while intoxicated crimes in which the local district attorneys’ offices may need help.
One of the biggest challenges in her field is talking to families who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
“The vast majority of the cases I handle are vehicular homicides, in which a person is killed through no fault of their own, often by an otherwise decent person who made a series of terrible mistakes,” she said. “Although working with victims is something that drew me to criminal law in the first place, it’s extremely difficult to watch victims’ family members go through the process of grief, and to go through the process with them.”
Prior to joining for the state Department of Justice, Thompson worked in the Dane County District Attorney’s office, where she also specialized in vehicular crimes.
“I love that my job provides me with the best of all worlds: I get to argue in court and take cases to trial as a litigator, I get to present to groups on various topics, I get to teach others and I get to write for various audiences,” she said.
Outside of work, Thompson enjoys outdoor activities like biking and hiking, traveling, dressing in costumes and hanging out with her husband and three teenage sons.
“Emily is very generous with her time in helping attorneys all across the state and deserves recognition for her great work,” said Douglas Hoffer, deputy attorney for the City of Eau Claire.