Giving people equal access to justice is at the heart of Jennifer Binkley’s practice. She provides hundreds of hours of pro bono work every year, helps pro se litigants and advocates for women and children.
Binkley serves as managing attorney and development director at Community Justice Inc., a nonprofit group that offers legal help to people with low incomes. Every year, Community Justice handles some 500 cases for such clients in south-central Wisconsin.
Alongside securing money for Community Justice Inc., Binkley practices family law. The work has her serving at times as a guardian ad litem and representing female victims of domestic violence. She considers advocacy work, especially for the vulnerable, her most important job as an attorney.
“In my role as advocate I am able to assist in protecting their rights and obtaining the best outcomes possible in their cases,” Binkley said.
A 2001 graduate of the University of Wisconsin Law School, Binkley has strived to break down barriers that women encounter in the judicial system. Her work has had her establishing a grant-funded restraining-order program for survivors of domestic violence and a legal clinic for UW students and staff who have experienced sexual violence, as well as representing victims of financial abuse and harassment.
Since 2004, Binkley has also led the Dane County Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee, which has set up various pro bono and pro se projects.
“Her work shows a commitment to making our community equitable for all — regardless of socioeconomic status, gender race or other barriers,” said Erin Bartenstein, programs manager at Community Justice.
Binkley’s accomplishments show that women can succeed in the legal profession, making her a role model to younger lawyers. She advises younger women attorneys to be confident in their talents and abilities, especially if they ever feel intimidated by older or male colleagues.
“You do not have to behave in the same way to have your voice heard, but you need to have the strength to hold your ground … or your clients will suffer,” Binkley said. “The facts and the law and your preparation are what really matter.”