Erin Goodsell

Intellectual Property, Litigation, Technology Law

"My law degree has opened doors to many interesting industries and allowed me to work with amazing people from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds."

Meet Erin

After developing strong brief writing skills in law school and through clerking on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Erin found early success as the go-to brief writer at Cooley LLP. While this gave her experience in a wide variety of legal areas, she worked proactively to expand her skill set as a litigator and started to take on new challenges that led her to the tech industry where now she works as in-house counsel for Qualtrics. She loves how her legal education has allowed her to work in industries that she otherwise may not have had an opportunity:

“I’m not a scientist, but with my law degree, I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing biotech companies developing cutting-edge treatments for cancer. I’m not a software engineer, but I’ve worked with leading technology companies like Nintendo, Sony, Facebook, Instagram and now Qualtrics.”

Working in the Law

Erin shares what it's like to work as in-house counsel: “I get to work on a breadth of issues for just one company, and I’m working more on the front lines.”

Law in Action

“I worked on several cutting-edge legal issues and interpreted statutes that the courts had never interpreted before. We wrote briefs hoping the courts would adopt our interpretations. We were frequently successful, but one time stands out in my mind as my brief was quoted extensively in a court opinion dismissing claims against my client. It was definitely a highlight! Our work resulted in law that is now included in law school casebooks.”

Inspiring Leadership

“I love the definition of leadership Dean Smith has shared — a leader is someone who helps those she leads to see what they are capable of. My legal education helped me develop this by teaching me to listen, to think critically and carefully, to see all sides of an issue, and to have empathy. Now, my favorite way to lead is to listen to people and then help them see their own strengths and how they can contribute to their workplace or community.”

Value of a Law Degree

On my first day of law school orientation, then-Dean Worthen quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Law school taught me to view two opposing ideas at the same time, to consider a problem from different angles, to see other perspectives, and to understand that issues are usually more nuanced than most think. These lessons are essential to succeed as a lawyer, but they are also relevant in my personal life. I try to see things in a more nuanced way and consider others' perspectives, which allows me to have empathy and to mediate between opposing groups or ideas when necessary.

Outside the Law

While Erin enjoys her job and the people she works with, she loves spending time with her family. She likes to explore national parks and spend time outside with her husband and four kids, and her family looks forward to weekly movie nights and frequent trips to Southern California beaches and Disneyland.

My History
Before BYU Law

BA, Georgetown University, 2002
JD, BYU Law School, 2007

BYU Law in Three Words


Beyond the Books

Exploring National Parks with family


Disneyland vacations

After BYU Law

Clerkship with Judge J. Clifford Wallace, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Cooley, LLP

Qualtrics, LLC

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