Remembering Professor James Ghiardi

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public
4 Comments »

Law professor James Ghiardi stands at a podium and lectures to a class, circa 1985.

Law professor James Ghiardi stands at a podium and lectures to a class, circa 1985.

James D. Ghiardi, professor emeritus, passed away yesterday, at the age of 97. Jim was a Marquette lawyer, from our Class of 1942, and after service in World War II served as a member of our faculty, active or retired, for almost 70 years. From his first-year Torts course to his (somewhat) gentler approach with upper-level students, as I understand it, Professor Ghiardi was the legendary member of the Marquette Law School faculty for more than a generation. Professor Ghiardi enjoyed immense respect and esteem from Marquette lawyers—his former students.

Jim had retired by the time I arrived in 1997, but he remained a presence at the Law School until as recently as a few months ago. He was unfailingly gracious and supportive to me even before I became dean—indeed, from my earliest days on the faculty. I have been fortunate to count him among my colleagues and friends. At the same time, it seems appropriate to let speak here one of my predecessors as dean—indeed, one of Professor Ghiardi’s former students. Robert F. Boden wrote the following of Professor Ghiardi in 1971:

I first knew him when I was one of 160 terrified freshmen students entering Law School in the fall of 1949. As a student I came to respect him as a fine teacher. As a fellow member of the bar, a fellow Marquette alumnus, faculty colleague, and finally as his Dean, I have come to respect him as a gentleman and a scholar. Few are more zealous in their loyalty to the University and to the profession. Few also have the industry and capacity for work that manifests itself every day in Professor Ghiardi’s vigorous and devoted attention to the responsibilities which he has assumed in the Law School and in the many other related activities which he has undertaken.

In a quarter century of teaching of tort and insurance law, Professor Ghiardi has come to be recognized nationally as one of the academic leaders in this area of the law. Since 1962 he has served as Research Director of the Defense Research Institute, the national research and educational arm of the defense bar. He is often called upon to address legal organizations throughout the country in the field of his expertise, and his long record of publication in the leading bar journals of the country is a further manifestation of his accomplishments in legal scholarship.

Dean Boden made these remarks in the context of dedicating, on behalf of the student editors, a volume of the Marquette Law Review to Professor Ghiardi. The dedication, which also notes Professor Ghiardi’s unusual service as the president of the Wisconsin bar, may be read here.

It concludes by expressing “certain[ty] in the fact that [Professor Ghiardi] will continue for many more years to reflect the highest ideals of his University and his profession.” Dean Boden was right to be so certain in his remarks nearly forty-five years ago. The loss of Jim Ghiardi now diminishes us, but his work and life magnified us—and as a legacy will continue to do so. Requiescat in pace.

Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 24th at Feerick Funeral Home, from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. A visitation will also be held starting at 9:30 AM on Monday, January 25th, followed by the celebration of the Mass of Christian Burial at the Church of the Gesu, 1145 W. Wisconsin Ave. at 10:30 AM. Committal Services and Military Honors will take place at Holy Cross Cemetery, 7301 W. Nash, after the Mass. A lunch will follow at 1:30 PM at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. Chicago Ave.

 Memorials in Jim’s name may be made to the Marquette University Law School, (James D. Ghiardi and Phyllis A. Ghiardi Scholarship Fund), or to the Milwaukee Catholic Home (Employee Fund).

 

Print Friendly



Forty-Five Plus Years – Wow!!!!

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public
2 Comments »

Marquette Law School faculty member John Kircher teaches a class, 1986.

John Kircher teaches a law school class, 1986

John Kircher teaches a law school class, 1986

Editor’s Note:  This semester, Marquette University Law School students will hear the immortal words, “I already have a  friend,” for the last time.  After a legendary career, Professor Jack Kircher will end his teaching duties in December.  He has influenced and inspired thousands of Marquette Lawyers over the past four-plus decades, and he has graciously agreed to share some reflections on his career.  And if you don’t understand the reference to “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” the answer can be found in John Mortimer’s delightful television series “Rumpole of the Bailey.”

Someone, possibly me, once said that if you find a job you love you will never again work another day in your life. That speaks well of my time here at the Law School.  My work here has been, with all apologies to “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” a love affair.

But my goal, leaving here as a graduate, was not to become a Law Professor.  I wanted to be a lawyer who would spend most of the time in a courtroom.  That is how I started, but then came the phone call.  It was from Professor James D. Ghiardi, my most favorite teacher during my three student years here at the Law School.  He asked me to join him as his assistant at the Defense Research Institute (DRI).  It was a national think tank for lawyers who defend insurance and personal injury litigation. It involved a lot of research, writing and editing.  It was then and there I learned, for the first time, that Jim had two full-time jobs.

My initial thought at his call was pride that he would seek me out to join him. I also came to the conclusion that if I did not like the new job I could always go back to the courtroom. But I did not go back to the court room.  But how did I end up in the classroom? The first step again relates to Jim. Read more »

Print Friendly



The School of Don Walker

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Milwaukee, Public
1 Comment »

Several people have used the phrase “old school” when talking about Don Walker. I know what they mean and it is certainly intended as a compliment.

But I want to make sure no one thinks that what Don did as a news reporter and editor for 37 years in Milwaukee was in any way out of date.

The Don Walker approach to news was to get to know all you can about important subjects and to tell what you know to the public in as clear and straight-forward a way as you could. That’s something we need so much these days. That’s why whatever he wrote, whatever subject he was covering, his reporting was a must-read for anyone who wanted to know what was going on.

That’s one big reason – but only one – why Don will be missed. He collapsed and died Friday at home, apparently of a heart attack. He was 62.    Read more »

Print Friendly



Marquette University Law School and World War II

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Public
Leave a Comment »

B-17_Flying_FortressAs I have described elsewhere on this blog, Marquette Law School Dean Francis X. Swietlik played a prominent role in public affairs during the Second World War, primarily because of his leadership role in the American Polish Community. As the leader of the “Chicago Poles,” as Midwesterners of Polish descent were known, Swietlik advised President Franklin Roosevelt on Polish issues and was a national spokesman for the cause of his ancestral country — Swietlik had been born in Milwaukee in 1899 — which had been dismembered in 1939 by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

However, the war was hardly kind to the law school, as its enrollment quickly shriveled as potential law students found themselves in military uniforms. Read more »

Print Friendly



Marquette’s First Basketball All-American Was a Marquette Law Student

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Public, Sports & Law
Leave a Comment »

Boops MullenMarquette’s men’s basketball program has produced a long line of All-American basketball players. The ranks of this elite group include such notable hoopsters as George Thompson, Maurice Lucas, Dwayne Wade, Jim Chones, Dean Meminger, Earl Tatum, and Butch Lee.

However, the first Marquette basketball All-American was 6’2” guard Edward “Boops” Mullen who played for the Hilltoppers (as the team was then known) from 1931 to 1934. Mullen was named as a first team selection to the Converse All-American team following the conclusion of his final varsity season, during which he had been enrolled as a first year Marquette law student.

Mullen was also the first (and to date only) Marquette law student to have played in the NBA or one of its predecessor leagues after receiving his law degree. Read more »

Print Friendly



Professor Janine Geske Receives the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society Faithful Servant Award

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public
3 Comments »

Janine GeskeJustice Janine P. Geske, Distinguished Professor of Law at Marquette Law School, received the Faithful Servant Award from the Milwaukee chapter of the St. Thomas More Lawyers Society at its annual Red Mass dinner on October 10. The Faithful Servant Award is given to recognize a person “who, in the course of religious, legal, community, public or human services, has exemplified in outstanding fashion the commitments and steadfast dedication of Thomas More, first to Almighty God, and to family life, statesmanship, and the law.”  Presenting the award was the Honorable Diane Sykes. Judge Sykes praised Professor Geske’s lifetime of service to the legal profession.

Read more »

Print Friendly



Dean Howard Eisenberg–Appellate Litigator

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Public
1 Comment »

Howard Eisenberg, dean of Marquette law school from 1995 until his untimely death at age 55 in 2002, was renowned as an appellate litigator. After his death, the American Academy of Appellate Litigators created the Howard Eisenberg Award in his honor to be given annually to the best article on appellate practice and procedure published in a journal. (One of the winners of this award is our own Prof. Oldfather.)

Howard’s talents evidenced themselves early in his career, beginning with a highly successful performance in Moot Court at the University of Wisconsin Law School. The picture below recently resurfaced on the Internet and shows Howard’s championship moot court team from 1970. Howard is the individual on the far right of the photo.

A fuller description of Dean Eisenberg’s career can be found here.

1

 

Print Friendly



The Founding of the Marquette Law Review Was a Significant Event in the Law School’s History

Posted by:
Category: Legal Education, Marquette Law School History, Public, Wisconsin Law & Legal System
Leave a Comment »

The following essay is based on remarks delivered at the April 2011 Marquette Law Review banquet that marked the 95th anniversary of the journal.

In December of 1916, Volume 1, Issue # 1 of the Marquette Law Review rolled off the presses. The new publication announced itself as “A Journal Published Quarterly during the School Year by the Marquette Law Students.” The cover price was 35-cents per number, but an entire year’s subscription could be had for one dollar.

(By way of comparison, tuition and fees for students in 1916 were $60 for day students and $40 for those enrolled in the evening division. Relative to today’s tuition rates, that would be equivalent of $200 for an individual issue and about $600 for a year’s subscription. As current students have probably noticed, the cost of law school has gone up a good bit since 1916.)

Why Did the Marquette Law Review Appear in 1916? Read more »

Print Friendly



More on Marquette Football

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Public, Sports & Law
6 Comments »

In a comment to my earlier post marking the 52nd anniversary of Marquette’s final varsity football game, Nick Zales asked why Marquette decided to terminate its 78-year-old football program in 1960.

The explanation given at the time was that a competitive football team was too expensive for Marquette to maintain in light of the university’s plans for further expansion. (Plans for a 10-year, $30 million fund-raising campaign to pay for additional campus improvements, higher faculty salaries, and more student financial aid had just been announced.)

In revealing the plan to shut down the football and track-and-field programs at the end of the 1960-61 academic year, President O’Donnell stated that the University Athletic Board had, at his request, voted to terminate the two sports because of the university’s “reasonable unwillingness to accept the financial hardships imposed by these two sports in light of the other needs of the university.” The football team had reportedly lost $50,000 over the course of the fall 1960 season and had run at a deficit for several years.

From the perspective of more than a half century, it is hard to evaluate the wisdom of O’Donnell’s decision. The decision to end football was certainly unpopular with students, alumni, and Marquette fans at the time. Shortly after the announcement, an estimated 3000 students marched from the campus through downtown Milwaukee chanting, “We want football. We want justice.” Read more »

Print Friendly



Remembering Marquette Football

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Public, Sports & Law
2 Comments »

Today (Nov. 13) is the 52nd anniversary of Marquette’s final varsity football game. The tradition-ending contest pitted Marquette against the University of Cincinnati Bearcats before a crowd of 13,000 at the long-disappeared Marquette Stadium at Merrill Park on November 13, 1960.

Marquette had begun the 1960 football season with great enthusiasm. After losing the first seven games of the 1959 season, the rebuilding Warriors won their final three games with victories over North Dakota State, Cincinnati, and Holy Cross. In the three games, Marquette outscored its opponents, 113-46.

The 1960 season began with more successes, as Marquette defeated Villanova 23-13 at home in the season opener and then travelled to the West Coast where it blanked Pacific, 20-0.

However, the winning streak came to an end the next week in Madison when the Warriors fell to the Badgers 35-6. (Marquette played Wisconsin 28 times in football over the years, and, somewhat bizarrely, all 28 games were played in Madison. In those games, Marquette was only 4-24, raising questions as to who did the scheduling in those days.)

Marquette returned to its winning ways the following week when it eked out a 13-12 home victory over arch-rival Boston College. Read more »

Print Friendly



George McGovern Was Once a Marquette University Professor

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School History, Public
Leave a Comment »

George McGovern, a long time Congressman and Senator from South Dakota and the 1972 Democrat Presidential candidate, was briefly a member of the Marquette University faculty.

In the spring of 1996, McGovern held the Allis Chalmers Chair in History at Marquette University. In that capacity, he taught a course on the History of American Foreign Relations.

McGovern’s long service in Congress was not his only credential for such a position. After serving as a bomber pilot during World War II, he graduated from Dakota Wesleyan College in his native South Dakota, and later earned a PhD in American History from Northwestern University. Even before completing his PhD, he returned to Dakota Wesleyan as a professor of History and Political Science. He remained at Dakota Wesleyan until 1956 when he was elected to Congress from South Dakota’s First District.

Prof. McGovern’s course was quite popular with Marquette students, and his lectures were delivered in the auditorium in Cudahy Hall. In addition to the regularly enrolled students, the audience for the lectures always included a large number of “auditors” from across the university. In my first year on the law school faculty, I attended many of these lectures. Read more »

Print Friendly



An Interview with Professor Jack Kircher

Posted by:
Category: Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public
Leave a Comment »

[Editor’s Note: This blog is the third in a series of interviews with faculty and staff at the Law School.]

A member of the Law School faculty since 1970, Professor Kircher teaches torts, insurance, products liability, and seminars in advanced issues on torts. He received the Marquette University Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 1986 and the Marquette Law Review Editors’ Award in 1988. In 1993 he received the American Bar Association Tort and Insurance Practice Section’s Robert B. McKay Award for distinction in the teaching of torts and insurance law. Before coming to the Law School, he practiced law and subsequently was Research Director of the Defense Research Institute. He has chaired the Wisconsin Judicial Council and the Wisconsin Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners. He is coauthor of Punitive Damages: Law and Practice. Professor Kircher is a member of the Editorial Board of the Defense Law Journal, and was Editor of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel Quarterly.

Question:  How did you first become interested in insurance and tort law, and what do you find most intriguing about those areas of law?

My interest in the two subjects started in law school, most probably because they were taught by my favorite professor, Jim Ghiardi. It developed in my first three years after law school due to my work in a defense firm that handled cases in those two areas. It developed further and faster thereafter when Jim asked me to join him as his second-in-command at a legal think tank, the Defense Research Institute, that concentrated its work in those two areas. Also the two subjects are interesting to me because the law constantly changes. In fact, by the time I left the Law School the Wisconsin Supreme Court had changed about 25 percent of what I learned in first-year Torts. I would expect that most of the law I learned in my other courses has remained nearly the same.

Read more »

Print Friendly