Emma Denny

Emma Denny has been volunteering with the Tubman Safety Project for the past six years, representing low-income victims of domestic violence in Order for Protection cases. We asked her a few questions about her time volunteering:

Why is pro bono important to you?
Volunteer work has always been important to me, but as an attorney I feel an extra obligation to use my JD to give back. Obviously, only a licensed attorney can represent these clients in OFP hearings, so knowing that I’m able to use my specialized skills and expertise to give back is extra rewarding and fulfilling.

How do you make time for pro bono?
I try and take at least 2 Tubman pro bono cases per year, so even when I’m busy, I make the time. I know from experience that I will never magically have a ton of extra time to volunteer, so instead I just do it and fit it in, even when I have a full caseload and am busy with my regular practice.

What have you learned from your pro bono practice?
Domestic violence can affect anyone. When someone is being abused, it impacts every aspect of their life – emotionally, physically, financially, at their job, as a parent. Getting an Order for Protection gives them the confidence and closure to begin to begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives, not just for themselves, but for their loved ones. It’s amazing the positive mental and emotional impact that piece of paper can have. 

What would you like the legal community to know about pro bono?
We in the legal profession have an obligation to use our skills and expertise to give back to our communities. Although we are all busy professionals, make the time to do pro bono work. You have the chance to positively impact the lives of so many clients, so make it a priority.

Emma is a Managing Partner in the Minneapolis office of HKM Employment Attorneys, where she represents employees in legal disputes against their employers and former employers. In addition to volunteering with Tubman, she currently serves as the Chair of the Minnesota State Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Council.

To join Emma as a volunteer with Tubman, you can email the Safety Project at safetyproject@tubman.org or visit Tubman's Website.