The Office of Public Service [OPS] was created in 2005 under the leadership of Dean Joseph Kearney to facilitate the recommendations of the faculty Committee for Public and Community Service and in order to build upon the tradition of the Marquette Lawyer long established at the School and the legacy of public service performed by the late Dean Howard Eisenberg. The work of the Committee for Public and Community Service culminated in a strategic plan for public service and the establishment of the Office of Public Service.
OPS has as its charge four areas of leadership:
- Mission Integration
- Community Outreach
- Voluntary Service
- Public Service Research & Pedagogy
As a result, the Office of Public Service has a broad range of collaboration between the Law School, the University, and the community at large. OPS offers students, faculty, and alumni a wide range of opportunities to perform pro bono and community service and contribute to public policy issues centered around access to justice. Currently, the Law School's Office of Public Service coordinates a number of institutional initiatives that demonstrate its commitment to serving the poor and underprivileged. The Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic provides free legal services to members of the Milwaukee community. The Coalition for Access to Legal Resources convenes Milwaukee's non-profit legal community. The Marquette Legal Initiative for Nonprofit Corporations provides free legal services to Wisconsin 501(c)(3)s. The Howard and Phyllis Eisenberg Loan Repayment Assistance Program assists graduates who choose to work in low-paying public interest jobs with their student loan payments. Proceeds from an annual auction and the Legal Eagle Gift Shop assist students who choose to accept summer internships in the public interest. OPS also has a number of partnerships, including with the Milwaukee Justice Center where students provide assistance to pro se litigants at the family law help desk, and with Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Downtown Health Center where students partner with pro bono attorneys to provide legal advice to low income pediatric patients.
OPS also partners with the Career Planning Center with programming specific to careers in public interest law and faculty in the integration of curricula with a focus on low-income, disadvantaged, and underrepresented populations. OPS sponsors meetings, conferences, and symposia focused on acesss to justice and supports students in their desire to follow in Marquette's tradition of service to the community. The Public Interest Law Society, for example, encourages and promotes pro bono service to the poor and underprivileged by sponsoring speakers on various public interest topics, fundraising and supporting volunteer service. OPS recognizes students' pro bono work through the Pro Bono Society whose membership is contingent upon having provided at least 50 hours of pro bono service during one's tenure at the Law School.
Thus, the Marquette Law School Office of Public Service seeks to be a model for law schools to support, advance, and convene the community dedicated to public service through law. For more information, contact Angela Schultz, the director of pro bono legal services and visit our web site often for new opportunities.