January 4, 2015

A Social Trust Theory of Criminal Law, Part II

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Public
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As I discussed in my previous post, the job of criminal law is to reassure us that we will not be victimized when we leave the safety of our homes and families and engage with the wider world. Such reassurance is necessary for our economy to work and for us to be able to enjoy the individual freedoms so exalted by our culture. But the central dilemma of criminal law is this: criminal law and its enforcement not only function as sources of reassurance, but as threats in their own right—producers of fear that may undermine, rather than enhance, people’s sense of security and willingness to engage with the wider world. Every time the criminal-justice system acts against a citizen, it causes harm in some form or another. Viewing this harm, some will feel reassured—if the system, for instance, is seen as thereby deterring future harms—but others will feel frightened. Indeed, the very essence of deterrence is fright. There is no unalloyed good when the system acts. The bitter always accompanies the sweet.   Read more »

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January 2, 2015

Welcome to Our January Blogger

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2014 NYE Ball Drop Times SqHappy New Year! Our January guest blogger will be 2L Vanessa Richmond. Many thanks to our previous guest, 3L Frank Remington.

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January 1, 2015

A Defense of Law School Education

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Category: Legal Education, Public
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School of LawTwo weeks ago, the New York Times published an article entitled “A Steep Slide in Law School Enrollment Accelerates.” One of the major premises for the article was that prospective graduate school students have increasingly found law school not to be an attractive option anymore. According to the article, students likened their relationship to their schools as a business contract. The article was supported by ABA employment figures that showed that less than two-thirds of law school graduates found jobs that required passing the bar exam. I found the article and its premises unfair. The article, hardly the first to do so, equated law school success to finding long-term employment as a lawyer.

Grading a law school education based on bar-exam-required employment is unfairly simplistic. The breadth of interesting employment opportunities available to law school graduates is incredible. Read more »

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Congratulations to the 2015 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors

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Category: Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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Jenkins 2The Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition is an appellate moot court competition for Marquette law students and the capstone event of the intramural moot court program. Students are invited to participate based on their top performance in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy course at the Law School.

Congratulations to the participants in the 2015 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition:
Lindsey Anderson
Samuel Casson
Larissa Dallman
Alexandra Don
Mary Ellis
Olivia Fitzgerald
Christopher Guthrie
Tyler Helsel
Nolan Jensen
Ian Kalis
Jeremy Klang
Christopher Little
Lauren Maddente
Daniel Murphy
Averi Niemuth
Andrew Otto
Alexander Perwich
Natalie Schiferl
Jacob Shapiro
Kyle Thelen
Nicole Ways
Bryan Whitehead

Students will begin writing their appellate briefs in January with the rounds of oral argument commencing later this spring. The competition includes preliminary oral argument rounds (March 21 and 22) and a semifinal (March 26) and final round (April 1).

The Jenkins competitors are fortunate to have the opportunity to argue before distinguished members of the bench and bar from Wisconsin and beyond.

The competition is named after the James G. Jenkins, the first Marquette Law School dean.

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A Social Trust Theory of Criminal Law, Part I

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Ours is a society of strangers.  Every day, we are likely to encounter dozens of unfamiliar faces, even if only fleetingly through the windshield of a car. We purchase our life’s necessities from people who are typically no more than bare acquaintances. Through the media, we are constantly exposed to exotic voices and personalities. We are even unlikely to know really well all of our neighbors and coworkers.  What is it they always say about the serial killers?  “He was such a nice, quiet neighbor.”

It sometimes seems a wonder our society does not disintegrate altogether.  After all, it is not an easy or natural thing for strangers to live together harmoniously.   Read more »

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December 29, 2014

The Difficult Pursuit of a Cohesive Approach to the “Megacity” Economy

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Category: Marquette Law School, Milwaukee, Public
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Metropolitan regional economies are “the most cohesive economies we have,” Charles L. Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, says.

But what is it that gives cohesion to the metropolitan region that stretches from the Milwaukee area through Chicago and into northwestern Indiana? And how should the region move forwardMarquette Lawyer in a cohesive way?

It’s a tall order to change the way people think, but the Alliance for Regional Development, a non-profit co-chaired by major business figures from Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin, is trying to do that. On Dec. 19, it convened a “Summit on Regional Competitiveness” at the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago.

The effort to foster more cooperation in building on regional strengths in pursuit of greater economic success was spurred in large part by a report released in 2012 by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) which concluded that the Chicago region was growing more slowly than many other economic hubs around the world. The report strongly urged more effort by all involved to work together as a region. It said regions that work together have flourished more than those that do not. The regional alliance was created in the aftermath of that.

The “megacity” effort has been of great interest to Marquette Law School, as well as Marquette University more broadly. In 2012, a conference at Eckstein Hall brought together leading experts and advocates, and that was followed by the Summer 2013 issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine which focused on the subject. Our interest in the regional effort has continued. Professor Charles Franklin, director of the Marquette Law School Poll, and I attended the Dec. 19 conference. Read more »

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December 22, 2014

The Wisdom of King Theodoric

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Category: Legal Education, Legal History, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Public, Speakers at Marquette
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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 »

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December 18, 2014

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

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Category: Federal Law & Legal System, Legal Practice, Legal Research, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Public
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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.

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December 17, 2014

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

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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.

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Student Reflects on Restorative Justice Program at Green Bay Prison

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Category: Criminal Law & Process, Marquette Law School, Public
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Student Jillian Dickson-Igl has put together these thoughtful reflections about her experience with the restorative justice program at the Green Bay Correctional Institution.   

Back in October, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to the Green Bay Correctional Institution (GBCI) as a part of the Restorative Justice class that was taught by Professors O’Hear and Schneider. The trip consisted of three days at the prison, two of which I was able to attend, as part of the prison’s Challenges and Possibilities program for inmates. The Challenges and Possibilities program is a thirteen-week program that helps the participants focus on their own personal growth as well as aiding them in realizing the impact of their actions, past and present, on other individuals. At the conclusion of the program is when the three-day restorative justice component comes into play, and this is when community members, lawyers, judges, and survivors of crime come to the prison to spend time with the men in the program.

Going into the experience I was very skeptical as to what was going to happen.   Read more »

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December 13, 2014

Study Abroad in Giessen, Germany

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Category: International Law & Diplomacy, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public
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2014 Program ParticipantsApplication materials are now available for the 7th Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law, held each summer at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany.  The program is a joint offering of the Marquette University Law School, the University of Wisconsin Law School, and the Faculty of Law at Justus Liebig University.

This summer’s program will run from July 18 until August 15.  Participants choose two courses from among the following offerings, for a total of four credits : International Economic Law and Business Transactions, Comparative Law, The Law of Armed Conflict, and International Intellectual Property Law.  All classes are offered in English.

Each summer, the program attracts participants from Marquette, UW, other American law schools and students from all over the world.  This past summer, international students came from Turkey, Portugal, Togo, Ethiopia, Brazil, Vietnam, Italy, Great Britain, Colombia, Germany and Australia, among other countries.  Courses are taught by an international faculty.  Students learn from each other as much as from faculty, as classroom discussions provide different perspectives that cut across legal systems and cultures.

Additional information and an application form are available on the program’s webpage.  Course descriptions are available here.  Brief faculty biographies are available here.

Law students considering a study abroad experience should consider these ten reasons for participating in the Summer Session in Giessen, Germany.

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December 11, 2014

Discerning the Relationship Between Bankruptcy Judges and Article III Judges

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Category: Federal Law & Legal System, Judges & Judicial Process, Public, U.S. Supreme Court
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supreme courtThis summer, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in the case of Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison that changed how bankruptcy judges, covered under Article I (the Executive Branch) of the Constitution, and district court Article III judges work together. Arkison helped clarify nagging procedural issues between district and bankruptcy courts. At the same time, Arkison verified a significant reduction in the ability of bankruptcy courts to resolve common claims arising in bankruptcy proceedings.

Arkison began as a seemingly conventional case. In 2006, Bellingham Insurance Agency filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Peter Arkison was assigned as the trustee. Mr. Arkison filed a fraudulent conveyance complaint against Bellingham, something not uncommon in a bankruptcy proceeding. In fact, Title 28 specifically grants bankruptcy courts the ability to hear and determine such claims. The bankruptcy court granted summary judgment on Mr. Arkison’s claim.

The black letter language in Title 28 and Supreme Court precedent contradict each other. Read more »

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