Emily Dudak Leiter
Emily is a persistent and compassionate advocate for our clients. She strives to be creative and pragmatic in her work on behalf of children and families. She has a special interest in helping immigrant children and LGBTQ+ families. She was the lead attorney in a 2014 appeal in Wisconsin about applying the marital presumption of parentage to married LGBTQ+ couples post-marriage equality. She represents children and families all over the world in immigration, adoption, and assisted reproduction matters.
- Adoption (domestic and international)
- Assisted Reproduction
- Surrogacy (including domestic and international)
- LGBTQ+ Family Formation and Protection (including parentage, adoption, guardianship, contracts, and estate planning)
- Life and Estate Planning
- Marital Property and Cohabitation Agreements
- Yoga Law
Emily earned her law degree cum laude from Tulane University Law School in 2005. She earned her B.A. summa cum laude from Arizona State University in 2000, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Emily externed for then-Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Honorable Judge Sarah S. Vance of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.
Community And Professional Activities
Emily is the former Vice President of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA). She has been an active fellow in AAAA since 2011. In 2015, she co-authored the AAAA Position Paper submitted to the Hague Conference on Public International Law in the Netherlands, which proposes a treaty framework to regulate international surrogacy arrangements. Through AAAA, she also authored a piece of national legislation regarding citizenship of children adopted abroad, which passed in 2013.
For several years, Emily served on the Board of the Children and the Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, an elected position, where she applied her experience with immigrant children and LGBTQ+ families to assist with state legislation. She continues to help with state legislation: currently, she is working on a parentage bill for assisted reproduction and LGBTQ+ families and several adoption reform bills.
Emily likes to write and has written articles for the Wisconsin Lawyer, and she co-authored the LGBTQ+ family formation and protection chapter of the Wisconsin State Bar book entitled “Advising the Evolving Family.” She is also the author of the intercountry surrogacy section of “International Adoption and Other Immigration Options for Children” published by the AILA (the American Immigration Lawyers Association), and she is the author of updates to the State Bar book entitled “Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights and Adoption.”
Emily also likes public speaking. She is a frequent speaker at the national conferences of AAAA and has spoken for the State Bar of Wisconsin, judges, social workers, and guardians ad litem. She speaks about her practice areas, as well as using Yoga and meditation for attorney wellness.
Emily enjoys spending time with her husband, Paul, and their dog, Rosebud. She loves Yoga, bike riding, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, reading, and playing video games. Emily is a Registered Yoga Instructor with Yoga Alliance and has taught privately for lawyers and businesses, including the weekly yoga class for The Law Center employees.