Jamie Bence

From the Seat of Power: Emily Krause

Emily Krause graduated from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law in 2007.  She received her undergraduate degree is from the University of Virginia. (Go Hoos!)  While in college she studied abroad in Vietnam, and resulting in a whirlwind semester of learning and exploring.  The gutsiest thing she did was buy a bicycle and ride through the streets of Hanoi (anyone who has seen the traffic there, then you knows what she means).

How did you come to work for the NRC? What earlier experiences led you to your current position? The NRC hired me right out of law school. After an initial on-campus interview, I was invited back for a full day of interviews at headquarters.  A few months later the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel – an independent office of administrative judges that conducts trial-like adjudicatory hearings -- offered me a two-year position as a law clerk and I jumped at the opportunity.  When my two years was up, the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication picked me up, and I’ve been there ever since.  I now handle appeals of licensing board decisions.

Did you always want to work for the federal government or was there an opportunity to pursue an area of law that interested you?  While in law school I hadn’t really narrowed down my areas of interest, so I was pretty much open to anything.  Working for the federal government always appealed to me, though, and my two summer internships were with government agencies.  I feel really fortunate to have found a job that suits me – researching, reading, and writing in a quiet, scholarly setting.  I feel like I’m part of a think tank. 

How does your current position compare with your previous experience? What do you think is especially challenging and/or rewarding about this job?  Challenging: learning terminology and concepts related to nuclear reactors (at least minimally); rewarding: working with brilliant legal and scientific minds.  This is the first job that I’ve had after law school, so in this job I have more work and more responsibility than previous jobs.

Do you feel that your job affords good work/life balance? Do you feel that you have time and energy to pursue your obligations and interests outside of work?  The NRC is great for work/life balance.  It offers flexible schedules during the day, so I can go to the gym, visit my little one at the onsite daycare, and schedule doctor’s visits.  When I am not working I am jogging, reading, or hanging out with my family, and so far I haven’t felt pressed for time to do those things.

What advice would you have to law students and lawyers who would like to work in a capacity like yours? Looking back, were there any steps that you took which were important to getting this job?  I hardly feel like I have all the answers, but I guess I would say: keep your options open, because you never know what you’ll find.  And take Administrative Law!

Where do you see yourself in the future?  I have no idea, but I hope to keep having fun.

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