Some Perspective from Five Marquette Lawyers Who Are General Counsel

Posted by:
Category: Corporate Law, International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Practice, Public, Speakers at Marquette
1 Comment »

You are the general counsel of a large corporation. Your company is involved in negotiations to buy a competitor and there are layers upon layers of complexity and risk. Is a lawsuit against the competitor a deal-killer or no big deal? Why is a key employee of the other company about to bolt for a third company? Business for your own company has been slipping. Do you need this deal to save your company or will the deal wreck what you do have? The questions—and the pressure—build.

Ray Manista, Cari Logemann, Paul Dacier, Julie Van Straten, and Frank Steeves in Eckstein Hall’s Appellate Room

Ray Manista, Cari Logemann, Paul Dacier, Julie Van Straten, and Frank Steeves in Eckstein Hall’s Appellate Room

Paul Dacier, L’83, outlined the scenario before a capacity audience in the Appellate Courtroom of Eckstein Hall on Feb. 20, and as he did so, he asked members of the audience how they would handle each step.

As Dacier’s story comes to a head: The CEO calls you into his office. “It’s just the two of you in the room and the CEO is sweating bullets,” Dacier says. He wants to know what you as general counsel recommend.

Read more »

Print Friendly



22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with Katherine Seelow

Posted by:
Category: Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public
Leave a Comment »

Katherine SeelowThe 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Katherine Seelow, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS fellow.  Besides her work as a PILS fellow, Katherine is helping to organize this year’s auction.

Where did you work as a PILS fellow?

I was lucky enough to be a fellow twice-over.  First, I worked for the Milwaukee Justice Center. Next, I worked at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, in the Felony Trial Division.

What kind of work did you do there?

At the Milwaukee Justice Center I worked the Family Law Help Desk, helping the pro-se litigants with a wide variety of family law issues fill out the appropriate paperwork. Additionally I was able to conduct research on family law issues and participate in tracking the progress of MJC clients. At the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office,  I was assigned to a trial team and helped them organize discovery on felony, criminal cases. I was also able to appear on the record under the 711 Student Practice Rule.

How was the experience meaningful to you?

My experience at the MJC was meaningful to me because it gave me great experience working with clients, one-on-one, which is not something you often get to do as a rising 2L. My experience as a Law Clerk with the Cook County State’s Attorney was meaningful because I got to prepare and handle cases on the record.

Read more »

Print Friendly



22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction–An Interview with Nicole Ostrowski

Posted by:
Category: Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Public
Leave a Comment »

Nicole OstrowskiThe 22nd Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held in the evening on Friday, February 13, 2015 at the Law School.  Proceeds from the event go to support PILS fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer.  Nicole Ostrowski, a current law student, shares her experience here as a PILS fellow.  Besides her work as a PILS fellow, Nicole is helping to organize this year’s auction.

Where did you work as a PILS fellow?

I worked at the Wisconsin State Public Defender’s Office–Milwaukee Trial Division, both this past summer and the summer between my 1L and 2L year as a PILS fellow.

What kind of work did you do there?

I mainly worked on misdemeanor cases and did anything and everything with the cases I was assigned, including preparing for a jury trial that unfortunately did not go. I was very fortunate in my fellowships because I was able to get a lot of hands on experience with clients, including visits to the jail by myself! My time with the Public Defender has helped me learn what it’s like to actually be an attorney in practice, as opposed to simply learning how to think and write like an attorney, as we’re taught in law school.

Read more »

Print Friendly



Pet DNA Used to Help Solve Crimes

Posted by:
Category: Criminal Law & Process, Legal Practice, Public
1 Comment »

CatAs this public radio show discusses, DNA from pets is increasingly being used to help solve crimes.  Investigators can take DNA samples found at a crime scene, such as hair, and have it tested to match a victim’s pet.  A match can link a perpetrator to the crime if, for instance, the DNA of the victim’s pet shows up on the assailant’s clothes.  As noted on the show, the field of veterinary forensics is growing, and while the DNA testing is expensive, it can make a big difference in solving a case.  In addition to animal DNA, plant DNA and viral DNA has also been used in criminal cases.

 

 

Print Friendly



The Wisdom of King Theodoric

Posted by:
Category: Legal Education, Legal History, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Public, Speakers at Marquette
2 Comments »

theodoricYesterday I was honored to speak at the mid-year graduation ceremony at Eckstein Hall.  Twenty three graduating students and hundreds of friends and family came together with Dean Kearney, faculty and administrators to celebrate the event.  What follows are my prepared remarks.

Dean, fellow faculty, invited guests, and most importantly, December graduates.  I am honored to be with you on such a momentous day.

Class of 2014, today is the day that you thought would never come.  Today is the day that you embark on your legal careers.  Even in normal times, the transition from law school to practice can be an anxiety-inducing event.  But these are not normal times.

The practice of law has been undergoing significant change in recent years.  Venerable old law firms, with names over a century old, are disappearing, through merger and bankruptcy.  It seems that lawyers are better known for their television commercials than for their legal arguments.  And the basic day to day legal work that law firms have traditionally relied upon to meet their overhead is now being outsourced offshore to cheaper lawyers in New Delhi and Manila.

I doubt that someone of my generation can even understand the challenges that you will face in your future careers, much less presume to offer you any advice on how to meet those challenges.

Let me give you some idea of how the practice of law has changed over the last quarter of a century.  When I graduated from law school in 1988, I went to work at a large law firm (at a job that I expected to have for my entire career).  I wrote briefs in longhand on yellow legal pads, and gave the sheets to a secretarial pool for typing.  And if I wanted to do any online legal research, I had to go to the firm’s sole designated Lexis terminal, which was located in the law firm library and which was hardwired via phone line straight into Lexis headquarters (because there was no such thing as the internet). Read more »

Print Friendly



Grilling By Judges? It’s Not Just for Moot Court.

Posted by:
Category: Federal Law & Legal System, Legal Practice, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
Leave a Comment »

NSAPerhaps it is because I just spent an enjoyable few weeks judging the Appellate Writing and Advocacy class moot court rounds, that lately I have taken a few detours while doing research. While reading some of the NSA phone data cases, I watched an enlightening and very entertaining appellate argument online. We may wait a long time to see video recordings of U.S. Supreme Court arguments, but the Circuit Courts of Appeal oblige us for some of their cases, which is a bonus for everyone including students.

Several plaintiffs’ lawsuits that challenge the National Security Administration’s phone records surveillance program are making their way through the federal courts. Plaintiffs in these cases have claimed the NSA data grab violated their rights under the Fourth Amendment or that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the original basis for the surveillance under President George W. Bush, cannot reasonably be interpreted as allowing the program. For students who participate in a moot court competition, or are considering it in the future, video of the oral arguments in these cases provides an opportunity to learn something about the privacy issues and also to see the types of questions and atmosphere an attorney might expect from a federal appellate panel.

Read more »

Print Friendly



Want to Have a Strong Legal Career? Find a Good Mentor.

Posted by:
Category: Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Public
Leave a Comment »

MentorThis article in the ABA Student Lawyer Magazine discusses the benefits of having a mentor. A mentor can help you acclimate to your new role as a lawyer.  A good mentor will make your life easier both at your office and in external venues.  Your mentor can teach you how to communicate effectively with clients, can show you how to handle technical and procedural matters that may otherwise be hard to learn on your own, and can introduce you to top management at your place of employment.  Having a mentor can speed up how you learn to be effective in your job.

Read more »

Print Friendly



Peace Be With You … And With You?

Posted by:
Category: Legal Practice, Mediation, Negotiation, Public
Leave a Comment »

Exclamation_markUnder the heading of hard bargaining tactics gone bad (and bad lawyer advice), we can now add this story.  When a group of eight faculty members at the General Theological Seminary in Manhattan decided to stop working in order to protest their newly hired dean and president, Rev. Kurt H. Dunkle, all purgatory broke loose. Under advice of their counsel, the faculty wrote a rather strongly worded letter outlining their demands regarding the dean.  (See the nasty details of the dean’s behavior here.)

Unimpressed with the tone of the letter, the Board of Trustees for the Seminary considered the letter, instead of the opening bid that the faculty intended, as a mass resignation.  They dismissed the eight faculty members (leaving the students at the Seminary with only two instructors.) In this case, the eight faculty members’ hard bargaining tactic to have their foul-mouthed, micromanaging (in their descriptions) dean dismissed ended up focusing attention on their perceived “bad” behavior rather than that of their dean. Read more »

Print Friendly



Congratulations to the 2014 Marquette National Moot Court Teams

Posted by:
Category: Legal Education, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
1 Comment »

I had the privilege of working with two outstanding National Moot Court Competition (NMCC) teams again this year. Marquette hosted the Region VIII round of the 65th Annual NMCC this weekend and included thirteen participating teams.  Marquette fielded two teams; please congratulate both on their strong finishes.

Michelle Cahoon, James Decleene, and Brian Kane took the best Petitioner’s brief award with the top scoring brief in the competition.  The team advanced the semifinal round and just missed qualifying for nationals by less than a point.  Attorneys Jesse Blocher, Michael Cerjak, and Brendon Reyes coached the team.  Brendon, now an attorney practicing in Waukesha, was a member of last year’s national team.  Jesse was a member of one of my first NMCC teams.

Jennifer McNamee and Elizabeth Oestreich advanced to the quarterfinals and were the number 1 seed after the preliminaries, after particularly strong showings in their oral arguments.  That team was coached by Attorneys Emily Lonergan, Jason Luczak, and Max Stephenson.  Elizabeth, Emily, and Max happened all to have (Elizabeth), or had (Emily and Jason), the role of Chief Justice of our Moot Court Association.  I enjoyed watching the students and coaches on both teams working together and getting to know each other.

Read more »

Print Friendly



Justice Ginsburg on Empowering Oral Argument

Posted by:
Category: Judges & Judicial Process, Legal History, Legal Practice, Public, U.S. Supreme Court
2 Comments »

Justice GinsburgAn interview with Justice Ginsburg appears in the October issue of Elle magazine.  In the article, Justice Ginsburg describes her first oral argument before the United States Supreme Court.  Any advocate could relate to her story:

I had, I think, 12 minutes, or something like that, of argument.  I was very nervous.  In those days, the court sat from 10 to 12, and 1 to 3.  It was an afternoon argument.  I didn’t dare eat lunch.  There were many butterflies in my stomach.  I had a very well-prepared opening sentence I had memorized.  Looking at them, I thought, I’m talking to the most important court in the land, and they have to listen to me and that’s my captive audience.

Justice Ginsburg argued on behalf of Sharon Frontiero in Frontiero v. Richardson.  In that case the Court held that the United States military could not differentiate on the basis of gender in how it provides benefits to service members’ families.

In the interview, Justice Ginsburg recounts that as she spoke before the Court during oral argument her confidence grew:

I felt a sense of empowerment because I knew so much more about the case, the issue, than they did.  So I relied on myself as kind of a teacher to get them to think about gender.

 

Read more »

Print Friendly



Daubert Has “Teeth” (and a Pulse)

Posted by:
Category: Legal Practice, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System
Leave a Comment »

The first published case on Wisconsin’s (relatively) new rule on expert opinion testimony has emerged at long last. In 2011 the legislature replaced Wisconsin’s decade’s-old approach with the federal “Daubert rule,” a rule rejected by state appellate courts on several occasions. The old rule left disagreements among experts mostly to the trier of fact, provided the witnesses had suitable specialized knowledge that could assist in fact finding. The current Daubert rule unctuously anoints trial judges as “gatekeepers” responsible for ensuring that only “reliable” expert opinions are put before juries. Many critics, me included, thought the old rule served the same purpose quite well. In State v. Giese, 2014 WI App 92, the court of appeals wisely signals that the new rule is mostly compatible with the older approach.  Read more »

Print Friendly



Judge Catches BP Counsel Sneaking Extra Pages into Its Brief

Posted by:
Category: Environmental Law, Legal Ethics, Legal Practice, Legal Writing, Public
Leave a Comment »

BPIn a new twist on the BP litigation, BP filed a brief in a Louisiana federal court that seemed to comply with the already-enlarged 35-page limit. But the judge in the case, the Hon. Carl Barbier, uncovered BP counsel’s tactic of reducing the line spacing to cram more material into the brief than the page limit would have allowed. In this way, BP was able to fit in an extra 6 pages worth of material.

Judge Barbier had this to say about BP’s brief:

The Court should not have to waste its time policing such simple rules—particularly in a case as massive and complex as this. Counsel are expected to follow the Court’s orders both in letter and in spirit. The Court should not have to resort to imposing character limits, etc., to ensure compliance. Counsel’s tactic would not be appropriate for a college term paper. It certainly is not appropriate here.

Read more »

Print Friendly