Professor Patricia Bradford joined the law faculty in 1983, just two years after graduating from University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Before become a faculty member, she was an associate assigned to the tax team at Weiss, Berzowski & Brady in Milwaukee. (In 2016, Weiss Berzowski merged with von Briesen & Roper, SC.)
Professor Bradford has taught a variety of courses during her time at Marquette and she has received the law school's teaching excellence award. Throughout her career, Professor Bradford has primarily been known as a tax professor who teaches rigorous courses with a practical emphasis. She has regularly taught Federal Income Taxation of Individuals, Federal Taxation of Partnerships and S Corporations, and Federal Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders. To meet Marquette students' requests for new course offerings, Professor Bradford designed and taught the first courses covering Feminist Legal Theory, Economics of Gender, Law and Economics, and Marijuana Law and Policy. About ten years ago, Professor Bradford starting teaching Torts which she continues to teach today. She was the Editor-in Chief of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Quarterly from 2008 to 2014.
When Professor Bradford started law school, she planned to practice criminal law. Her interest in criminal law developed while she was working as a Court Clerk in the Butte County Superior Court in Oroville, California from 1975 to 1976. However, to start law school, Professor Bradford needed to finish her college education. In 1977, she graduated summa cum laude from State University of New York, Buffalo with a B.A. in English. In spring 2012, Professor Bradford finally actualized her dream of practicing criminal law. For her sabbatical activity, she was appointed a Public Service Special Prosecutor in the Sheboygan County District Attorney's Office, a busy, understaffed office where each prosecutor handles a variety of cases from intake to sentencing. Professor Bradford appeared in all five branches of Sheboygan County Circuit Court and handled the gamut of matters which included intake, preliminary hearings, pretrial conferences, motions, a felony jury trial, and sentencing hearings. Her unconventional sabbatical activity attracted the interest of the press. An article on her work appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Fox 6 evening news in Milwaukee featured her appearing before Judge Angela Sutkiewicz, who was one of Professor Bradford's students in the earlier years of her academic career. Professor Bradford reconnected with many other former students who practice criminal law in Sheboygan County. Reflecting on her conversations with them and her own work, Professor Bradford confirmed that students definitely benefit from the core, foundational law school courses that have been the hallmark of a Marquette legal education. Additionally, for students who plan to emphasize courtroom work in their careers, the practical classes and internships offered at Marquette are essential training. Learning to "think on your feet" may seem to be a cliche, but there is no doubt that in the fast paced world of the criminal law practitioner, it is an essential skill. Professor Bradford used her sabbatical experience to develop practical exercises for her Criminal Process class.
More recently, Professor Bradford has turned to volunteering as a criminal defense attorney. She has received training from the State of Wisconsin Public Defender's Milwaukee Trial Office and represented indigent defendants in trial courts and alternative courts including Veterans Court. During her last sabbatical in the spring of 2019, Professor Bradford second chaired a homicide case. She welcomes the opportunity to speak to students about careers in criminal law as well as her other specialties including torts, tax planning, business and real estate.