Car Accident Lawyer
Attorney Annabelle Gao grew up in Ontario, Canada. Annabelle graduated from McMaster University with Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While she was a student at McMaster, she was the Program Coordinator for McMaster Amnesty International. In that role, she organized the annual charity concert to raise money for victims of human rights violations, and she organized monthly charity events to raise awareness for human rights issues. Annabelle also played flag football during her time at McMaster University. During her third year spring break, Annabelle joined Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans and spent her spring break building houses in the 9th ward for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Upon graduating from McMaster with Honors, Annabelle attended Seneca College and graduated from the Honors Accelerated Law Clerk Program. She worked full time at a divorce law firm in Toronto, and on some weekends she also worked as a Victim Services Crisis Counselor with the Toronto Police. Victim Services provides on-site or over-the-phone crisis intervention in the immediate aftermath of crime or tragedy. As a Crisis Counselor, Annabelle had training on the complex effects of trauma – accidents, domestic violence, child abuse, seniors abuse, suicide, rape etc. Since both positions involved a lot of interactions with people, Annabelle knew she wanted to continue to work in an area where she would actually interact with her clients every step of the way to reach a solution.
Annabelle earned her Juris Doctor degree from University at Buffalo School of Law, and she is admitted to practice law in New York State. While in law school, Annabelle was the President of the Student Bar Association, where she was responsible for overseeing 32 student clubs, managed the law school student account, and organized annual law school events. In addition to overseeing and managing all the activities at the law school, Annabelle was also the Managing Editor for the Buffalo Human Rights Law Review, and she sat on the e-board for the Buffalo Moot Court Board as the Public Relations Director. In her final year of law school, Annabelle competed in mediation competition and trial tech. In addition to serving in leadership positions, Annabelle was a Student Attorney with the Family Violence and Women’s Rights Clinic. As a Student Attorney, she met with clients and drafted various legal pleadings under the supervision of the clinic attorney, conducted legal research, prepared for motions and trial, and spoke on behalf of clients in court. Annabelle also received the Maurice Frey Award at graduation for her excellence in family law.
When we asked Annabelle why she wanted to become a lawyer, she told us that’s all she ever wanted to be – a protector and a fixer. Annabelle’s mother was the CEO of her own company, and her business required them to move often. Young Annabelle was always the new kid at school, so she knows what it feels like to be the underdog. She said it upsets her personally to see others get hurt or see injustice take place. Even at a young age, Annabelle always felt the need to intervene and stick up for anyone that’s hurt or treated unfairly. Annabelle’s mother instilled two ideas in her mind at a young age: the importance of being kind, and the value of intelligence. Annabelle was taught to treat everyone with equal kindness and that you should treat people based on who you are as a person regardless of how they treat you. As an only child growing up with a single mom, she had plenty of time to herself, so she read a lot. Annabelle knew that intelligence is a person’s best asset as it equips you with the power to make a difference. It was obvious to her that being a lawyer means she will get to be the protector and the problem solver.
Prior to joining William Mattar, P.C. Annabelle worked at civil litigation law firms where she conducted legal research, drafted legal memos and various litigation pleadings, and she participated in trial prep and depositions. When we asked Annabelle why she wanted to be a part of the William Mattar, P.C. team, she answered, “I strive to be the person that walks in when everyone else walks out.” She told us the firm’s purpose aligns with her own personal values – it believes in fighting for those some may ignore. Annabelle believes it is even more important to help someone when no one else would; a slim chance of succeeding is not a good reason to give up on someone. To her, fighting that uphill battle is sometimes more rewarding, because that’s what making a difference is all about.
Annabelle’s personal values can be summed up by a quote written by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Annabelle explained that life is short, it is filled with both good and bad, but the bad doesn’t have to be as bad. If you have the power to make someone’s life just a little bit easier, then do it. Every action we take and every word we speak all lead to different results that will affect more than just one person. Annabelle knows that working hard to get the best solution for her client means not only will it make a difference in her client’s life, it will also make a difference to the people around them.
In her spare time, Annabelle enjoys hiking, weight training, cooking, and visiting the farmers market with her dogs. Annabelle would like to hike the Triple Crown – thru-hike trifecta that includes the three most prominent long trails of the United States: the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail and the Continental Divide Trail.
- University at Buffalo School of Law (J.D.)
- New York State
Professional Associations & Memberships
- New York State Trial Lawyers Association (Western New York Chapter)
- New York State Bar Association, former member
- Bar Association of Erie County, former member
- Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, former member