Emily L. Dahm


Emily L. Dahm

Emily L. Dahm

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During her nearly 20 years as an attorney, Emily Dahm has earned her reputation as a fighter. Her thoughtful but aggressive and tenacious advocacy has made her a force to be reckoned with both inside and outside the courtroom. She brings a unique combination of complex civil litigation and criminal trial practice skills to Bonjour, Thorman, Burns & Dahm.

An accomplished trial attorney, Emily has tried some 30 cases to jury verdict and secured numerous full acquittals and civil verdicts for her clients. In the criminal trials that resulted in mixed verdicts or convictions, the trial outcome was usually superior to the pre-trial offer to settle the case. In her civil trials, Emily has decisively won. The verdicts for her clients have been substantially better than the pretrial offers to settle.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, Emily began her career as an attorney with the international law firm Latham & Watkins, LLP, practicing in their Hong Kong and San Francisco offices. There, she worked on multinational corporate financings for multi-million-dollar infrastructure projects in Asia and on complex commercial litigation, securities litigation, white collar crime, and auditor liability in San Francisco.

While at Latham & Watkins, Emily also handled numerous pro bono cases where she could engage in her true passion: fighting for the underdog. She represented homeless individuals charged with minor crimes and asylum applicants fleeing violence and persecution.

Emily’s commitment to defending the disenfranchised brought her to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office where she served as a Deputy Public Defender for eight and a half years before going into private practice. In over 15 years of criminal defense practice, Emily has fought countless misdemeanor and felony cases involving serious sex crimes, public benefits fraud, “Three Strikes” cases, carjacking, vehicular manslaughter, homicide, DUI, drug possession and sales, burglary, robbery, gang crimes, domestic violence and stalking, assault and battery, and illegal weapons possession.

She is a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. This designation is given by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization to attorneys who pass a rigorous, day-long written examination, demonstrate a high level of experience and competence in criminal law and trial practice, and have been recommended by other judges and lawyers in the field.

In her personal injury practice, Emily is an unrelenting advocate for her clients. She has successfully represented clients in diverse array of cases, including wrongful death, church sexual abuse, premises liability, slip and fall, and vehicle, pedestrian, and cycling accidents. She has tried civil cases for both the plaintiff and the defendant, securing winning verdicts for her clients in each.

In the course of her work, Emily has handled complex forensic evidence matters involving DNA, toxicology, latent fingerprints, toolmark evidence, handwriting analysis, eyewitness identification, cellphone location data, forensic mental health, and accident reconstruction. Because of this experience, she is prepared to tackle these topics with ease.

Emily commands a courtroom with her mastery of the law and rules of evidence and her personal style. As a result, she achieves both excellent settlements and trial results for her clients.

She has been an invited speaker and/or guest instructor at UC Berkeley School Law, Stanford Law School, UCSF School of Law, Golden Gate Law School, and San Jose State University.


  • Juris Doctor, University of California at Berkeley – Boalt Hall School of Law, 2004.
  • Master Degree in Law and Diplomacy, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, 2004.
  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, College of St. Benedict, magna cum laude, 1997.

Court Admissions:

  • All California state courts
  • U.S. District Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of California

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Vice President)
  • Earl Warren American Inn of Court (Board Member)
  • Criminal Law Section, Alameda County Bar Association (Board Member)
  • Independent Counsel, Inc. (Board Member)
  • Alameda County Bar Association (Member)
  • Contra Costa County Bar Association (Member)
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Member)


  • Certified Criminal Law Specialist, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.


  • Harry S. Truman Scholar, 1996.

State Bar of California. California Board of Legal Specialization