MULS to Welcome Professor Linda Edwards in Fall 2014

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faculty_lindaedwards2014-04Marquette University Law School’s legal writing professors are pleased to announce that Professor Linda Edwards, E.L. Cord Foundation Professor of Law at University of Nevada Las Vegas, will be joining us as a Boden Visiting Professor for the fall semester of 2014.

Professor Edwards is a leading scholar and leader in the field of legal writing.  She has authored five texts, three of them focused on legal writing, and has written numerous scholarly articles on legal writing, rhetoric, and law. Her recent book, Readings in Persuasion: Briefs that Changed the World (Aspen Law & Bus. 2012) will serve as the basis for the advanced legal writing seminar she will be teaching at MULS next fall. The book discusses why some briefs are more compelling than others and covers briefs written in some of the law’s most foundational cases: Muller v. Oregon (the Brandeis Brief), Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona, Furman v. Georgia, Loving v. Virginia, and others. Professor Edwards says the course will build on what students learned in Legal Analysis, Writing & Research 2, but from a more advanced perspective.

Professor Edwards practiced law for 11 years before becoming the coordinator of NYU’s Lawyering Program. She then spent 19 years at Mercer University School of Law, where she was the director of legal writing and taught legal reasoning and advanced legal writing, as well as property, employment discrimination, and professional responsibility. In 2009, she joined the faculty at UNLV.  Also in 2009, Professor Edwards was awarded the Association of Legal Writing Directors and Legal Writing Institute’s Thomas Blackwell Award for her lifetime achievements and contributions to the legal writing field.

We are very excited to welcome Professor Edwards next fall.

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Iowa Supreme Court Contemplating Diploma Privilege

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Iowa Judicial Branch BuildingThe Iowa Supreme Court has recently announced that it is entertaining a proposal that would exempt graduates of the University of Iowa and Drake University law schools from the Hawkeye state’s bar examination.  If the rule is adopted, Iowa would join Wisconsin as the only state that grants the diploma privilege to graduates of American Bar Association accredited law schools within its boundaries.

The diploma privilege refers to the practice of admitting the graduates of certain law schools to a state bar without requiring them to take a bar examination.  Although the number of states recognizing some version of the diploma privilege at some point in their history is approximately 30, the use of this mechanism was denounced by the American Bar Association in the 1910s and 1920s and fell into disfavor in the second half of the 20th century.

However, as late as 1980, there were still five states that recognized the diploma privilege: Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.  Read more »

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Restorative Justice is for Libertarians

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I remember joking with former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice and leader of the Restorative Justice program at Marquette that I was taking her class on RJ because my wife made me. Liz wanted to know more about RJ, even if it was through me. I took the course begrudgingly, and to my surprise it quickly became a passion of mine here at Marquette.

Restorative Justice has a lot of appeal. Incredible outcomes for prisoners and victim participants that will renew your faith in the criminal justice system and in humanity. I, on the other hand, was drawn in because I am libertarian, and so is Restorative Justice. Read more »

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The Skills I Use in Law School, I Learned From Third Graders

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When I first came to law school, I thought that I was at a disadvantage compared to a lot of my peers. Instead of coming straight to law school out of undergraduate studies, I had been an elementary school teacher for about three years before I decided to return to school to study law. I did not have an undergraduate degree in anything related to the law, politics, or even social sciences. I had never set foot in a law firm office before. The only exposure that I had had to the law was mostly through the depictions seen on television and in the movies.

While some of my peers had taken courses to prepare them for the study of law, I was making macaroni pictures with third graders and teaching them about division and grouping. While most pre-law students spent time with counselors to prepare them for the law school journey, I was attending teacher conferences and working with guided reading groups in the classroom. Read more »

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Postcard from Prague – Part One: Comparing the U.S. and Czech Experiences in Legal Education

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Prague Legal education in the Czech Republic is similar to that in the United States in some regards, but it departs from the U.S. model in a number of ways.

First of all, the choices of where to study law are clearly more limited in the Czech Republic.  There are only four universities in the Czech Republic that are authorized to award law degrees:  Charles University (Prague); Masaryk University (Brno); the University of Western Bohemia (Pilsen); and Palacky University (Olomouc).

The most noticeable difference is that Czech students study law as undergraduates, as is the case in most countries of the world.  (The United States and Canada are outliers in that regard.)  Would-be lawyers typically enter the university as law students and remain law students the entire time they are enrolled. Read more »

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Law School in Hindsight

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At my alma mater, the University of Queensland, it is around this time of year that Brisbane’s jacaranda trees start to blossom their distinct purple bloom. It is a sight that I miss immensely, but back in my university day, the purple haze of the jacaranda around my hometown always aroused a slight sense of dread, signaling impending end-of-year examinations. At Oxford University, my second alma mater, the same sense of anticipation pervades the “gown” part of town at the end of each short term (Michaelmas, Hilary and Trinity), but instead of jacarandas, carnations are the relevant bloom. Following an old tradition, students attend examinations with carnations pinned to their academic gowns – white for the first, pink thereafter, and red for the final exam (these colors are rumored to represent the blood, sweat and tears that go into a degree.) I remember the trepidation and excitement with which I pinned on a white carnation, and the feeling of joy and freedom of walking out of the Examination Schools on red carnation day.

Jacaranda trees in bloom at The University of Queensland, Australia.

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Moot Court and Brittany Kachingwe: A Love Story

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I came to Marquette for the Sports Law program.  If anyone asked me what I wanted to do with my law degree I simply stated that I wanted to be the next Brian Cashman.  I worked in sports throughout college and for two years after.  When I got into Marquette, after I stopped crying of happiness (true story), I told myself that I would keep my mind open to other legal paths.  I can safely say, wholeheartedly, that Appellate Writing and Advocacy changed my life.  When I walked into that class I physically, metaphorically, and literally fell in love with appellate litigation and moot court (physically only in the sense that I am super clumsy and probably fell over and broke something).   If moot court were a person we would get married in an appellate courtroom, officiated by Justice Scalia, and instead of “I do” we would say, “May it please the court.”  To follow is the greatest love story you have ever read.  This post puts love stories such as Twilight, The Notebook, and Kim Kardashian/Kanye West to shame.  Here is the love story of Brittany Skye Kachingwe and Madam Moot Court.  Read more »

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Marquette Moot Court Team Success at the Leroy R. Hassell, Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition

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Please congratulate third-year law students Brittany Kachingwe and Kerri Puig, whose brief took second place at the Leroy R. Hassell, Sr. National Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition in Virginia. The team was advised by Professor Jacob Carpenter and coached by Attorneys Jennifer Severino and Joel Urmanski. Please also congratulate third-year students David Herring and Jessica Shank for their performance in the competition.  They were advised by Professor Susan Bay and coached by Attorneys Nick Cerwin and Chad Wozniak.  Both teams were also coached by third-year student Patrick Leigl. The competition this year included 19 teams.

The issues were 1) whether the President has the authority under the Recess Appointments Clause to make both intra- and inter-recess session appointments, and 2) whether a state action exists where a compulsory fee agreement arises under the National Labor Relations Act.  The United States Supreme Court is deciding the first issue this term.

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Do Like a Lawyer

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The start of the new academic year means a new group of first-year law students, ready for the three-year adventure that is law school. And each fall, those same students hear much about what they’re going to learn in law school. Usually the main thing they hear is that they will learn to “think like a lawyer.”

It’s certainly true that law school will teach students a particular way of thinking critically that will infuse all of their thinking from here forward. It’s also true that lawyers ought to be thinking critically. (So should everyone, in my view.) But law school should do more than teach students how to “think like a lawyer.” It should teach students how to “be” lawyers.

It is on this thought that I am reminded of Steven M. Radke, L’02.  The Law School invited Radke, vice president of government relations at Northwestern Mutual Insurance Co., to speak at its orientation event in fall 2006. Radke gave an entertaining and informative speech to that year’s entering class, the text of which can be found here. At one point, Radke discussed the often-stated law school goal of learning to “think like a lawyer,” a goal, he said, that is a bit troubling, particularly if it suggests that there is a single way lawyers think. He continued,

[I]f, God forbid, I someday find myself being wheeled into an emergency room, I hope the person preparing to operate on me doesn’t just think like a doctor.  I want him or her to be a doctor.

Radke’s point is spot on. Law school should not only teach students how to “think like a lawyer,” but it should also teach students how to be a lawyer.  Read more »

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Legal Education’s Loss and the Problem with CLE

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Late last week David Hass, Wisconsin’s Director of Judicial Education, died unexpectedly. For 16 years Dave coordinated an innovative variety of excellent programs that updated judges on important developments while deepening their understanding of core legal principles. Dave was a warm, gracious man who will be missed.

Dave’s passing is an opportunity to reflect briefly on the sharp contrast between continuing education for judges and lawyers. My modest observations are informed by nearly thirty years of teaching to both groups and by my current perspective as chair of the Wisconsin Board of Bar Examiners, which regulates continuing lawyer education (CLE).

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Is the American Bar Ready for Different Types of Law Schools?

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Recent statements from the American Bar Association suggest that the national lawyers’ organization may be on the verge of abandoning one of its most “sacred” principles: the idea that that law is a unitary profession. Though lawyers have long had specialized practices, the dominant professional ideal in the United States, at least since the 1920’s, has been that there is only one kind of lawyer. One is either a lawyer or one is not, and there is no distinction between advocates, solicitors, notaries, conveyancers, patent specialists, or judicial officials, as there are in many European countries.

The prerequisite of passage of a broad-based bar examination in most jurisdictions has reinforced this position. All those who make their living from the practice of law take the same bar examination.

A logical corollary of this principal, also long embraced uncritically, is that all lawyers should receive the same type of legal education at the same type of law school. Read more »

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The Effect of the Internet on Reading

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“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

Nicholas Carr

While preparing for this fall semester, I came across the citation for an article from The Atlantic.  In mid-2008, writer Nicholas Carr asked, “Is Google making us stupid?”

Carr, a writer and former deep reader, noticed that after a decade of using the internet, he cannot engage with reading like he used to. “Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. . . . The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.” His article suggested that the way the internet works not only changes what we read, but how we read, and perhaps even changes the very way we think.

I’ve addressed the internet’s effect on our lives before, but here I want to address what the internet has done to our ability to read and to engage deeply with text. What Carr says about reading is, I notice, true. After spending more than a decade with volumes of information at my fingertips and with the ability to, in seconds, move from one bit of information to another to yet another, it’s much harder now to engage deeply with any single text.

For me, if I have to scroll down two or three or—gasp!—four times to completely read an article online, well, I’m going to be hard-pressed to do it in a single, uninterrupted session. I’m off, after that first screen’s worth of text, to see what’s trending on msn.com, to peek at the headlines on cnn.com, to check my email again, to maybe order that shirt that I like (that I’ve looked at online five times already).  And this is a process I’m likely to repeat not 15 minutes later while trying to read the second or third screen’s worth of text, even though it’s likely that nothing has changed since I last checked those same sites. I’ve come to expect (and maybe at some level, require) my information in convenient bite-sized chunks; in this way, perhaps, I feel I can manage all the information that I will receive during the course of the day. If there’s something long that I must read—or really want to read—I’ll often print it out and save it for a later time, usually when I’ve removed myself from the computer, and even then, I’m still distracted.

Like Carr, I don’t think my experience is unusual. In fact, people’s lack of capacity for deep reading is probably more prevalent today than it was in 2008, when Carr published his article. Read more »

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