3L Moot Court Team Sweeps Preliminaries at Elon University Competition

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal Education, Legal Writing, Marquette Law School, Moot Court, PublicLeave a comment» on 3L Moot Court Team Sweeps Preliminaries at Elon University Competition
Moot Court students in front of Elon Law sign
From left to right: Luis Gutierrez, Terreea Shropshire, and Nicholas Wanic

In Marquette Law’s first appearance at the Billings, Exum & Frye National Moot Court Competition at Elon University School of Law in Greensboro, North Carolina, three Marquette Law students showed that Team Marquette is a force to be reckoned with.

Luis Gutierrez, Terreea Shropshire, and Nicholas Wanic were one of 40 teams at the competition. Though their brief was not one of the top two in the competition (the only ones awarded honors), they earned a high score that was nearly ten points above the median. Further, they won each of their three preliminaries rounds and advanced to the octofinals.

This competition had a tight turn-around time between problem release, brief deadline, and competition. All three team members stepped up and showed how hard work pays off. Professor Rebecca Blemberg served as the team’s faculty advisor and coach. Other coaches were Attorney Courtney Roelandts (L’18), who also accompanied the team to the competition, and Attorneys Jessica Delgado (L’19) and Sarita (Sadie) Olson (L’19), with Professor Lisa A. Mazzie assisting. Thank you, too, to Attorney Greg Helding (L’14), who served as guest judge.

Congratulations, team, on your accomplishments!

 

 

 

 

An Anti-Labor Secretary of Labor

Posted on Categories Labor & Employment Law, PublicLeave a comment» on An Anti-Labor Secretary of Labor

Given the never-ending political tumult within the Washington, D.C., Beltway, it was easy to overlook the Senate confirmation on September 26, 2019, of Eugene Scalia as Secretary of Labor.  The party-line confirmation vote irritated workers and their representatives, who pointed out that Scalia’s claims to be a neutral advocate of his clients’ interests helped obscure his long-standing anti-labor politics.

The Department of Labor was established as a Cabinet-level agency on March 4, 1913, the last day of the Taft presidency.  The Department’s purpose was to foster the well-being of wage earners by improving their working conditions and protecting their work-related rights.  Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, nobody doubted the Department of Labor’s job was protecting working people.

Eugene Scalia’s career, by contrast, has been devoted to fighting workers and their unions on behalf of big business and the rich.  The son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Eugene Scalia was employed for twenty years in the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.  He represented, among others, Boeing, Chevron, SeaWorld, UPS, and Walmart, not to mention assorted Wall Street banks. Continue reading “An Anti-Labor Secretary of Labor”

How to Succeed in Appellate Writing and Advocacy

Posted on Categories Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Public, Student ContributorLeave a comment» on How to Succeed in Appellate Writing and Advocacy

courtroomWhile Appellate Writing and Advocacy (AWA) is a challenging class, it provides law students with the fundamental skills necessary for written and oral advocacy. I spoke with 3Ls who had AWA last fall to get their suggestions for current AWA students on how to succeed in AWA, both writing the brief and doing oral argument. Current AWA students, here are some tips for you.

During the writing process, Luis Gutierrez suggests that good topic sentences are a great way to get the reader’s attention. Topic sentences help the reader follow your argument and, if written properly, will persuade the reader.

While Haley Stepanek was writing her AWA brief, she found researching the other side’s helpful case law benefitted her. Not only will this help you craft arguments in your brief, it will help you frame your oral arguments and answer any questions the judges may ask regarding the other side’s arguments. Moreover, Micaela Haggenjos advises you to research whether any recent cases have cited the main case you are relying on for their argument. This will be beneficial while writing your brief and may be helpful during oral arguments because a judge may ask whether any recent cases have cited a case you are relying on.

When the time comes to give oral arguments, Brooke Erickson urges you to treat oral arguments “like a conversation” because the more you engage with the judges, the more natural you are going sound. Brooke also says to focus more on the way you are speaking because if you are able to “defend the indefensible with grace, you can defend anything!”

Adam Vanderheyden suggests that you “breathe and slow down,” while also encouraging you to study the best speakers in history to focus on how they pause. Adam also reminds you that you are the experts on the subject, so make sure to act like it when you are in front of the judges. Knowing you are the expert can help calm your nerves. Julie Leary found that even if you are terrified of public speaking, “being the most well-versed person in the room . . . will make you feel more secure and more confident.”

And, remember, different techniques work for different people. Haley found that signing up for all of the opportunities to give oral argument, including scrimmaging with other teams most helpful, but Julie found that practicing with her partner, her coach, and to her cats, worked best for her. Being cognizant of what works best for you and your partner is key to your success.

Finally, Luis recommends treating the whole experience like you are actually representing a client in the U.S. Court of Appeals. While that may seem intimidating, this will be the best way to get the most out of the course. “Most importantly,” Luis said, just “have fun.”

A Love Letter to Baby Lawyers

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Practice, Legal Profession, PublicLeave a comment» on A Love Letter to Baby Lawyers

Ah, yes, the Baby Lawyer™. The finished product of the intense demands of law school, crisp diploma freshly in hand, joining the fray of the courtroom or the boardroom, ready and oh-so-willing to tackle each and every problem he or she is about to face. So full of life and hope, chock full of caselaw, best practices, tidbits from internships, faculty blessings and encouragement, and an undying love for the Oxford comma. We are blindingly sure that all of our preparation will be enough as we strut into the hallowed halls of the legal profession, away from the strictly regimented last three years . . . and its safety net of office hours and a curved grading scale.

I can say with some certainty that the baby lawyer experience is relatively similar throughout the generations. Some new attorneys begin in the proverbial “mail room,” getting coffee, delivering senior attorney mail, and living in a three by three foot cubicle that they have determined to make their own with pictures of friends and motivational quotes from Target. Baby Lawyer is our name, legal research is our game, and we have embraced “other duties as assigned” as our personal motto.

Some First Year Associates (i.e. the Baby Lawyer With A Title) may have a trial by fire. They will be handed a brown accordion folder, a case of their very own.

“Thank you, I’ll take care of this right away.” Continue reading “A Love Letter to Baby Lawyers”

Tastemaker Spotlight: Interview with Isioma Nwabuzor, the DREAMer Next Door

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Higher Education, Immigration Law, Legal Profession, Public1 Comment on Tastemaker Spotlight: Interview with Isioma Nwabuzor, the DREAMer Next Door

I recently had the privilege of interviewing an incredible colleague — and friend — Isioma Nwabuzor. This intelligent, passionate, and compassionate woman has served as a role model for many youth of color in the Milwaukee’s legal and social communities.  Please enjoy her thoughts and insight into the good work she is doing for our city and for the future of the legal profession.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Isioma Nwabuzor and I am a transactional attorney at Baird. I am originally from Nigeria, West Africa, but was raised and lived in Milwaukee for as long as I can remember. I am a member of several professional and/or service organizations, including Rotary International, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and the Association of Corporate Counsel.

How has your journey to and through the legal profession been influenced by your life and roots?

My maternal grandfather was a high-court judge in the country of Nigeria. I come from a long line of attorneys on my mother’s side, so my family always jokes that my inclination towards a career in the legal profession is hereditary. However, from a different facet, all that I am motivates me to give a voice to the voiceless. My experiences as a member of several minority demographics (I’m a Black woman and an immigrant) has inspired a passion and fight in me that, I believe, lends itself well to adversarial careers, such as the legal profession.

Tell us about Dreamer Next Door, your new 501(c)(3).

The DREAMer Next Door, Incorporated is a non-profit organization that was borne from my TEDx Talk of the same name. Continue reading “Tastemaker Spotlight: Interview with Isioma Nwabuzor, the DREAMer Next Door”

Speakers Call for Criminal Justice Reform, Starting with Prosecutors

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Public, Race & Law, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Speakers Call for Criminal Justice Reform, Starting with Prosecutors

 

Paul Butler refers to himself as “a recovering prosecutor.” A native of the south side of Chicago, he graduated from Harvard Law School, clerked for a judge, and went into private practice. He became a federal prosecutor with the hope he would part of solving problems in the criminal justice system that lead to so many people being incarcerated, especially African American men. He concluded that, as a prosecutor, he was part of the problem and not the solution. He left the job and is now the Albert Brick Professor of Law at Georgetown University and an advocate for major reform of the criminal justice system.

In two programs at Marquette Law School on Sept. 25, 2019, Butler called for major changes in the system. In an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program, he and John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County district attorney, focused particularly on the role of prosecutors. Continue reading “Speakers Call for Criminal Justice Reform, Starting with Prosecutors”

What’s going on with Milwaukee’s population [update]

Posted on Categories Lubar Center, Milwaukee Area ProjectLeave a comment» on What’s going on with Milwaukee’s population [update]

Last month I wrote about how Milwaukee’s population has fallen by around 5,000 since 2015, erasing the city’s tepid growth in the first half of the 2010s. Today, the Census released its latest 1-year estimates from the American Community Survey (ACS). They cover the year from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018.

The ACS estimates Milwaukee lost 3,363 individuals from 2017 to 2018, with a margin of error of 85.1 This places the city’s total population at 592,002. An alternative federal program uses administrative records and a survey of housing units to estimate population.2 It places the city’s 2018 population at 592,025.

All Census products now agree that Milwaukee has experienced negative population growth since 2010.

The main driver of Wisconsin’s population loss are shrinking numbers of (non-Hispanic) white residents. ACS estimates suggest that the white population declined by about 4,000 each year since 2015.

For the first time, it appears Milwaukee’s black population is also declining. 2018 was the second year this decade in which the annual Census estimate of black population change since 2010 fell outside the margin of error. In 2018, there were probably around 11,000 fewer black residents living in Milwaukee than in 2010.

Even Milwaukee’s Asian population, which had shown strong signs of growth in the first half of the decade seems to be leveling off. Only the Latino population shows signs of consistent growth. The number of “Hispanic or Latino” residents of any race has grown by about 17,000 over the course of the decade thus far.


  1. 90% confidence interval
  2. The Population Estimates Program (PEP)’s methodology is available here.

Public Views of the U.S. Supreme Court: A Marquette Law School Poll and Conference

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School Poll, U.S. Supreme CourtLeave a comment» on Public Views of the U.S. Supreme Court: A Marquette Law School Poll and Conference

US Supreme Court

On October 21, the Marquette Law School Poll will release the results of a nationwide survey of public opinion about the Supreme Court of the United States. How much do citizens know about the Court? How informed are they about the Constitution? What, if anything, do they think of the justices? With respect to recent decisions of the Court, how much of the public supports or opposes the Court’s rulings? How much is opinion of the Court and its decisions based in partisan or ideological affiliations of voters? Do opinions of the Court influence presidential-vote choices? Does the public see the Court as legitimate? The Marquette Law School Poll Director, Professor Charles Franklin, will present the results of a unique national survey devoted entirely to knowledge and opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court.

We will then present three panels of reaction or reflection about the survey or the general topics that it implicates. Panelists will include the following:

  • from the bench and bar, Judge Diane S. Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Peter D. Keisler, co-leader of Supreme Court and Appellate practice, Sidley Austin, Washington D.C.; and Thomas L. Shriner, Jr., partner in Foley & Lardner and adjunct professor of law at Marquette University
  • from the academy, Professor Lawrence Baum (political science), The Ohio State University, and author (with Neal Devins) of The Company They Keep: How Partisan Divisions Came to the Supreme Court (Oxford 2019), and Tara Leigh Grove (law), William & Mary, author of The Supreme Court’s Legitimacy Dilemma, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 2240 (2019)
  • from the press with deep experience with respect to the Court, Robert Barnes (Washington Post) and Carl Hulse (New York Times and author of Confirmation Bias: Inside Washington’s War over the Supreme Court, From Scalia’s Death to Justice Kavanaugh (Harper & Collins 2019))

Other participants will include my Marquette colleagues, Chad M. Oldfather, professor of law, and Mike Gousha, distinguished fellow in law and public policy. We regard this survey as an opportunity to offer not just opinion from the public but also a variety of explanations to the public about how the judiciary, or the Supreme Court in particular, comes to decisions.

Since its establishment almost eight years ago, the Marquette Law School Poll has developed a substantial national reputation. This latest survey, too, will be a public good, and it should be of considerable lasting interest.

Please join us at Marquette Law School, in Eckstein Hall’s Lubar Center, for the conference (Monday, October 21, 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m.). Registration is required and available here. Questions may be directed to Rita Aleman, program manager of the Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education.

A Day in the Life of a Music Festival Attorney

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Practice, PublicLeave a comment» on A Day in the Life of a Music Festival Attorney

During the off-season, there are big projects, small projects, legal research, and the expected minutiae of the practice of law. But as the sun begins to peek through the Midwest haze that is winter, all hell breaks loose.

“Oh a music festival? That sounds fun. But what do you DO every day?”

“It’s only 11 days. What do you do during the rest of the year? Vacation!?”

“I bet you get to meet all the famous people, right?”

The daily life of a music festival attorney is likely similar to your own. There are big projects, small projects, legal research, and the expected minutiae of the practice of law. I have written briefs and legal research memos with the customary headings and content, appeared in administrative court, push a not-insignificant amount of paperwork, and manage a team. The difference between practicing law to benefit a client and practicing law to benefit thousands of screaming concertgoers is complicated; my job is governed by the courts of this land and the court of public opinion, with one delivering a much swifter, and less researched, judgment in the modern age. The stakes are huge; my company is responsible for the safety of each and every guest on the festival grounds, as well as the thousands of employees operating the festival at any given time. Within this pursuit for a perfect show, I have contributed to multi-million dollar capital stage construction projects and, just a few hours prior, stood in front of a group of Milwaukee’s underserved job-seekers, recruiting hopeful employees at the Department of Workforce Development. I have researched the nuances of the Americans with Disabilities Act to better serve all festival patrons, while simultaneously approving marketing images of a (very cute) cartoon feline for our mobile marketing team. I have opined on topics from acceptable marketplace vendors to high-level sponsorships to recycling bins to golf-cart safety. I have filed and renewed trademarks, while fielding phone calls regarding worker’s compensation claims.  To put it simply, what I do every day is advance the world’s largest music festival. Continue reading “A Day in the Life of a Music Festival Attorney”

Education Is Key to Broader Economic Success for Milwaukee Hispanics, Speakers Say

Posted on Categories Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Education Is Key to Broader Economic Success for Milwaukee Hispanics, Speakers Say

Consider three pieces of data that shed light on the economic potential and the challenges of Milwaukee’s Hispanic population:

The population of the Milwaukee area has been generally unchanged since 2000 – except for the significant growth of the Hispanic population in the area.

Hispanic people are over-represented in low-paying jobs and under-represented in high-paying jobs in greater Milwaukee.

By a variety of measures, there have been positive trends in educational success for Hispanics in the Milwaukee area, but it continues to be the case that smaller percentages have college degrees than people from other demographic groups. Continue reading “Education Is Key to Broader Economic Success for Milwaukee Hispanics, Speakers Say”

Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Budet and Smith

Posted on Categories Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, Milwaukee, Pro Bono, Public1 Comment on Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Budet and Smith
head shot of jana budet
Jana Budet, 2L

Yesterday, September 17, 2019, the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) Foundation honored two Marquette University Law School students with scholarships.

Jana Budet, 2L, received the AWL Foundation scholarship. The AWL Foundation Scholarship is awarded to a woman who has exhibited service to others, diversity, compelling financial need, academic achievement, unique life experiences (such as overcoming obstacles to attend or continue law school), and advancement of women in the profession.

Budet was on active duty in the Army for six years and earned her bachelor’s degree while she served. She balances her law school work with parenting her four daughters, ages 6, 5, 2, and 1. Continue reading “Congratulations to AWL Scholarship Winners Budet and Smith”

After Michels v. Lyons, What Visitation Rights Do Grandparents Actually Have?

Posted on Categories Constitutional Law, Family Law, Public, Wisconsin Supreme Court2 Comments on After Michels v. Lyons, What Visitation Rights Do Grandparents Actually Have?

grandparents with grandchildrenAlthough the Wisconsin Supreme Court rarely hears family law cases, this year it heard Michels v. Lyons, which involved Wisconsin Statutes Section 767.43(3), also known as the Grandparent Visitation Statute.

There, a child’s maternal grandmother filed a petition for visitation after the parents, who never married and were no longer together, chose to reduce the amount of time the child spent with the grandmother. The circuit court granted visitation rights to the grandmother, and the court of appeals certified the matter to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to clarify the standard of proof that is required for a grandparent to overcome a fit parent’s decision regarding visitation.

Clarifying the standard of proof necessary, Justice Rebecca Dallett, writing for the majority, vacated the order granting the grandmother visitation and discussed the constitutionality of the Grandparent Visitation Statute itself. Continue reading “After Michels v. Lyons, What Visitation Rights Do Grandparents Actually Have?”