Gemma
Zanowski
Senior Partner

 Gemma Zanowski
About Gemma Zanowski

I was seven years old when I decided I wanted to be a lawyer.

A first-generation immigrant, raised by my father, who is an adventurer at heart.  I inherited his spirit for adventure. I don’t sit still. I also learned to work hard. Really hard. 

It was in childhood that I began to experiment with storytelling. I wrote poetry and short stories and read novels. My adventures unfolded in my mind, taking me to magical places. 

In the pages of books or through the tip of my Number 2 pencil, I was raising a sword to battle in Narnia or sailing in the Gulf of Mexico with my faithful teddy bear, Betty. 

But in the real world, I was painfully shy. I cried when a teacher mispronounced my name in class. That happened a lot, with a name like mine. I cried on the first day of school from Kindergarten through  9th grade. I cried during band concerts because the music was loud. I cried when I saw my younger sisters on campus, also crying. 

Turns out when you are afraid, you must learn to be brave. I learned to be brave for myself. But I also learned to be brave for others. Through that profound sense of mis-belonging and powerlessness, I developed a sense of duty to protect. 

From the ashes we rise. 

I still cry often. I profoundly feel the emotions and experiences of others. It has been the greatest power and greatest weakness of my life. I’ve learned it’s called empathy. 

It is empathy that guides me when I stand at the side of a client whose husband is so severely brain damaged that he cannot remember who she is. My heart breaks with you. Your love notes and memories and photos swirl around me and I see your first dance at your wedding. And last vacation before his soul left you. 

It is empathy that puts me in the shoes of a young father when he learns his son was badly burned in an operating room fire. That puts me in the hallway of the surgical ward as he desperately searches for his son. As he falls to his knees when he sees his son but cannot recognize him.  

When I take a case to trial, I have dropped into my client’s story. I have lived it with every fiber of my body, eyes closed, lights off, I will tell your story. I will tell it with depth and honesty and passion. 

The best compliment a client has given me: “I’ve always appreciated how you speak what I’m thinking in a much better way than I can. I should be able to do that better than anybody but turns out you can do it better than anybody.”

Thank you for trusting me to speak for you.  

My work is not my job. My work is my calling.

Note: Like every person, each case is unique. Prior case results should not create expectations of an outcome in any individual case.

Outside
the Office

When I'm not busy lawyering, I am an avid distance runner, volunteer for the humane society, and compete in obedience and sporting disciplines with my dobermans. I have three dobermans, one standard poodle, and one rabbit, all adopted from shelters and rescues.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
  • “Rising Star”, Washington Super Lawyers, 2016-2021
  • Live United Community Service Award, United Way, 2015
  • Ready to Soar New Lawyer Award, Washington State Association for Justice, 2015
  • Pro Bono Public Service Commendation, WSBA Board of Governors, 2014
  • Super Lawyer, State of Washington Law and Politics, 2020
  • Distinguished Service by a New Attorney Award, Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, 2014
MEMBERSHIPS & LEADERSHIP
  • Washington State Bar Association Animal Law Section, Chair (2010-present)
  • Humane Society of Tacoma & Pierce County’s
    • Board of Directors, Secretary (2019-present)
    • Legal/Liabilities Committee (2019-present)
    • Governance Committee (2020-present)
  • Washington State Association for Justice Board of Governors (2017)
  • Washington State Bar Association Animal Law Small Section
    • Chair, 2015-2016
    • Chair Elect, 2014-2015
  • Washington State Association for Justice Getting Started Series
    • Moderator, 2015-2016
  • Washington State Bar Association Editorial Advisory Committee, Board Member (2016)
  • Washington State Association for Justice, Eagle Member (2014-present)
  • Prison Pet Partnership, Board Member, 2013-2016
  • United Way Young Philanthropists, Volunteer (2015-2016)
SEMINARS AND PRESENTATIONS
  • New Perspectives on Dog Bite Litigation | Washington State Bar Association Animal Law CLE | October 12, 2022
  • Dog Injury Cases 101 | Washington State Association for Justice | February 22, 2022
  • The Ethics of Divorce in an Injury Lawsuit | Hosted by the Stritmatter Firm | January 19, 2022
  • The Consumer Expectation Test for Products | Washington State Association for Justice Annual Convention | September 23, 2020
  • Damages in a Medical Negligence Case | Tort Law Update 2019 | Hosted by Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association | October 25, 2019
  • Seeing AI Law and Policy Through Multiple Lenses | Show, then Tell: Visual Presentations of Evidence During Trial | Hosted by King County Bar Association | Panel Member: Animal Rights and the Ethics of Human/Robot Interactions | October 23, 2019
  • Visually Presenting Damages in Trial | WSAJ Annual Convention | September 19, 2019
EDUCATION
  • University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, J.D., 2010 – cum laude
  • University of Arizona, 2007, B.A., Journalism and Psychology – summa cum laude

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