The Rest of the Story

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The story will be the horse race. It always is. Governor Walker and likely Democratic challenger Mary Burke are in a dead heat.  But there are a couple of interesting subplots in the latest numbers from the Marquette Law School Poll.

Like many Democratic candidates, Burke fares especially well with younger voters, and with those who are single (never married, widowed, or divorced).  Governor Walker, the Republican, scores best with those who are middle-age and married.  This is essentially the same voter behavior we saw in the 2012 presidential election.  But in a non-presidential year, the question for Burke will be whether those in the demographics who like her most will show up at the polls.

While the Burke campaign is undoubtedly pleased that the race appears close, one of the poll’s results may be cause for concern for her — 49 per cent of voters say they still don’t know enough about Burke to have an opinion of her.  That spells opportunity for the Walker campaign, which has unleashed a series of ads recently, rushing to define Burke before she defines herself. Read more »

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So What Do You Think of Mary Burke?

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On one level, the results released Wednesday of a fresh round of the Marquette Law School Poll did not contain much new. As Charles Franklin, professor of law and public and policy and director of the poll,  said frequently during the “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” event at which results were presented, there was not much that was statistically different from the poll two months ago. The big headline – and it did, indeed, make big headlines – was that Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke are essentially tied. That was the central result of the May poll as well.

I would suggest two important points that the little-changed results suggest:

One: The May results caught many people by surprise. There seemed to be a perception that, while the race was close, Walker was leading. The Law School Poll is the most closely watched and respected measure of public opinion in Wisconsin, and for the results to show a tie changed the perception of the race. But, as Franklin said on Wednesday, there were suggestions that the results might be a one-time matter, an “outlier.” To have almost identical results two months later should put to rest that notion. The only reasonable conclusion is that this really is a race that is tied at this point. The intense level of campaigning, more than three months before the November election, shows that the candidates themselves are operating on the understanding that this is an intense, highly competitive election that either could win. Read more »

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Wisconsinites Give Criminal-Justice System Low Marks, Especially for Offender Rehabilitation

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Marquette Law School, Public, Race & Law, Wisconsin Criminal Law & Process
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We expect a lot from our criminal-justice system, and we don’t seem very impressed with the results we are getting.  These are two of the notable lessons that emerge from the most recent Marquette Law School Poll of Wisconsin residents, the results of which were released earlier today.

In one part of the survey, respondents were asked to assess the importance of five competing priorities for the criminal-justice system.  As to each of the five, a majority indicated that the priority was either “very important” or “absolutely essential.”  The five priorities were:

  • Making Wisconsin a safer place to live (91.6% said either very important or absolutely essential)
  • Ensuring that people who commit crimes receive the punishment they deserve (88.1%)
  • Keeping crime victims informed about their cases and helping them to understand how the system works (81.0%)
  • Rehabilitating offenders and helping them to become contributing members of society (74.1%)
  • Reducing the amount of money we spend on imprisoning criminals (51.2%)

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Welcome to the Summer Youth Institute

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Category: Eastern District of Wisconsin, Legal Education, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Public
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Welcome to the students participating in the Summer Youth Institute at Marquette Law School. The Summer Youth Institute is a free program for Milwaukee students entering eighth through tenth grade, and the program is in its second year. Students learn about the American legal system, participate in a moot court, and meet judges, attorneys, and law students, as well as other people involved in the legal system. This year the students are touring the federal and state courthouses, Rockwell Automation, and Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan. Students also are paired with a mentor from the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association and are eligible to participate next summer in a law-related internship. The Summer Youth Institute is hosted by Marquette Law School and the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association, in collaboration with Just the Beginning Foundation, Kids, Courts, & Citizenship, and the Association of Corporate Counsel Wisconsin Chapter.

This morning after a warm welcome from Dean Joseph Kearney and Judge Nancy Joseph at breakfast, the students learned how to introduce themselves and shake hands. Students learn important concepts about the law at the SYI, but they also gain confidence in presenting an oral argument. They form bonds with their mentors, who teach them about legal work, but also take them to baseball games and teach them intangible skills they will need to succeed in their work and life. And, finally, they get to know their peers, who, like themselves, are the future of the legal profession and our society.

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An Expanded Role for Jay Ranney as Schoone Visiting Fellow

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ranney-TNAs set forth in this release, the Law School has appointed Joseph A. Ranney as its Adrian P. Schoone Visiting Fellow in Wisconsin Law. Ranney will use his fellowship to write a book that examines the role states have played in the evolution of American law, with a focus on the contributions made by Wisconsin. Ranney is (and will continue to be) a partner at DeWitt, Ross & Stevens, S.C., in Madison and a longtime member of Marquette University Law School’s part-time faculty. His previous books include Trusting Nothing to Providence: A History of Wisconsin’s Legal System (1998), considered the leading legal history of the state, and In the Wake of Slavery (2006), examining the path of the law and its effects in the Reconstruction-era South. He is also well known to the Wisconsin bar for his frequent contributions to Wisconsin Lawyer, the official magazine of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and he has made a number of contributions to the Marquette Law Review. The fellowship is made possible by the Law School’s Adrian P. Schoone Fund for the Study of Wisconsin Law and Legal Institutions, announced last year, and its fruits no doubt will include contributions by Jay Ranney to this faculty blog during the course of his fellowship. It is a pleasure to welcome him to his new role.

 

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Marquette Law School Wins 2014 Diversity Matters Award

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The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) honored Marquette Law School at its spring conference with the 2014 Diversity Matters Award.  The LSAC Diversity Initiatives Office and Discover Law sponsor the award.  The award recognizes Marquette’s commitment to diversity and its programming for high school students and college students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in law school and the legal profession.  Marquette received the third place award two years ago.

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Forward Looking: New Marquette Lawyer Magazine Looks at Present and Future of Key Issues

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Marquette Lawyer - Summer 2014Past, present, future—the Summer 2014 Marquette Lawyer focuses its attention on important and interesting facets of all three. But let us draw your attention to it foremost for its thoughts on the future, including:

The future of campaign spending. In the cover story, Heather K. Gerken, the J. Skelly Wright Professor at Yale Law School, examines the impact of the Citizens United decision of 2010, in The Real Problem with Citizens United: Campaign Finance, Dark Money, and Shadow Parties. Based on her Boden Lecture last fall at Marquette Law School, Gerken suggests that the case’s most important result could be a gulf between the elites involved in national political campaigns and the rank and file party members who have historically been the backbone of the parties. The article may be found by clicking here. Read more »

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Mitten Elected President-Elect of Sports Lawyers Association

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Category: Marquette Law School, Public, Sports & Law
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mittenLast week, the Sports Lawyers Association held its 40th annual conference in Chicago. Unsurprisingly, the Law School had a strong presence at the conference, which boasted more than 800 attendees. Current students, alumni, National Sports Law Institute Board Members, and several faculty members (Professors Anderson, Braza, Cervenka, Mitten, and yours truly) all attended the conference. Professors Anderson and Mitten both spoke on panels during the conference.

In addition, Professor Mitten was elected as the president-elect of the Sports Lawyers Association, which is a national and international group of more than 1,700 members consisting of sports industry professionals, sports lawyers, and sports law professors. Professor Mitten will become the organization’s president in May 2015 and serve a two-year term. Congratulations, Professor Mitten!

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Close Poll Results = Hot Campaigning Ahead

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There was audible reaction in the audience of about 100 who were present when Professor Charles Franklin unveiled the primary finding of the new round of the Marquette Law School Poll: The race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke is essentially a dead heat as of now. That strong reaction echoed across the Wisconsin political world and beyond with its clear signal that this will be a close race that will likely pick up additional energy and attention now.

But in addition to the highlighted results – Walker and Burke each drew 46% support among registered voters and Walker led by a narrow 48% to 45% among those who say they are “absolutely certain” to vote in November – there were interesting indications of the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. Those carried implications for what strategies the campaigns will pursue over the remaining five-plus months of the campaign for governor.

In brief, results of the new poll, and comparisons with prior polls, show Burke gaining strength among women and younger voters, while Walker remains strong among men and older voters. Burke does better than Walker on an “empathy” question – does a candidate care about people like you – and Walker does better on a question about whether a candidate is someone who is “able to get things done.” Read more »

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Congratulations to Marquette Pro Bono Award Recipients Mindy Nolan and Bryant Park

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Congratulations to graduating law students Mindy Nolan and Bryant Park, who were honored this academic year for their pro bono work.  The Wisconsin State Bar awarded Mindy Nolan as Public Interest Law Student of the Year, and the Milwaukee Bar Association awarded Bryant Park as Pro Bono Law Student of the Year.

Mindy NolanPro bono work has been a focus of Mindy Nolan’s time in law school.  Mindy was the recipient of two Public Interest Law Society (PILS) summer fellowships, which enabled her to work for the Public Defender in Rhinelander in 2012 and the Public Defender in Milwaukee in 2013. Her pro bono work centered on the Milwaukee Justice Center’s family help desk.  Angela Schultz, the Pro Bono Director at the Law School, said in her nominating letter to the State Bar:

As a regular supervising attorney of the help desk, I have observed Ms. Nolan’s professionalism, patience, and kindness, along with her high level of competence learning this complex system.  She treats each person accessing the help desk with the same level of respect, infusing into her volunteer work a sense that all members of our community deserve equal access to justice.  When given the opportunity to complete an advanced training in family law forms, she jumped at the chance and as a result has been able to assist with a broader range of issues being presented by community members accessing the help desk.

 

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Pro Bono and Public Interest Legal Work at Marquette

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Category: Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Pro Bono, Public
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Friday was the 2014 Posner Exchange and Pro Bono Society Induction at the Law School.  The event honors law students who have achieved 50 or more hours of pro bono service while attending law school.  Special recognition is given to students who have achieved 120 or more hours. The Hon. Ramona E. Romero, the general counsel of the United States Department of Agriculture, was the speaker at this year’s event.  Congratulations to the honorees for starting their careers by including pro bono service in their work.

Recently I attended a panel presentation at the Law School on pro bono opportunities available to our law students.  I was so impressed by the opportunities that I am highlighting them here.  To qualify as pro bono, the work must be supervised by a licensed attorney, not for pay or credit, primarily legal in nature, and in the service of underserved populations–those with barriers to equal access to justice, or for an organization whose mission is to serve underserved populations.

Students gain valuable experience in client interviewing skills and accessing and completing forms, two practical skills that are difficult to convey in a classroom setting. Pro bono also gives students exposure to a variety of practice areas and opportunity to work alongside and be mentored by a cadre of more than 250 volunteer attorneys.

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MULS to Welcome Professor Linda Edwards in Fall 2014

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Category: Legal Education, Legal Scholarship, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Political Processes & Rhetoric, Public
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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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