Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities

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Enormous selection, good prices, quick delivery, the safety and comfort of shopping from home – what’s not to like about Amazon?

Mike Gousha put that question to Alec MacGillis, in an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School’s web site on April 21, 2021.

“There’s a lot not to like,” MacGillis answered. He spells out what he means – as well as the reasons so many people love Amazon – in a broad and deep look at the company and its impact in his new book, “Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America.” And he described much of what he found in researching the book in his conversation with Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading “Author Describes Amazon’s Boom – and the Downsides of What It Does to Communities”

Out-of-State Investment in Milwaukee’s Home Rental Market

Posted on Categories Lubar Center, Milwaukee Area ProjectLeave a comment» on Out-of-State Investment in Milwaukee’s Home Rental Market

(Click here to download the entire report.)

I bought a home last year in Milwaukee’s Uptown neighborhood. It’s a nice place—one  I’ve come to see as quintessentially Milwaukee. Kids walk to the playground at the end of the block. Adults walk to the coffeeshop. The mostly interwar-built houses are sturdily constructed on small lots. Typically, they’re worth about $30,000 less than the citywide average, so it’s the kind of place many people can comfortably afford to live. Since moving in, I’ve enjoyed getting to know my neighbors—school district employees, a firefighter, a welder, a guy who assembles circuit boards, the lady who feeds the cats. For a researcher like myself, meeting my neighbors hasn’t just meant striking up conversations on the sidewalk. I’ve also dug into the property records of the houses near mine. In doing so, I’ve learned that locals aren’t the only people interested in Uptown.

Since 2018, LLCs based outside Wisconsin entirely have purchased dozens of houses near mine. Ohio-based VineBrook Homes, Milwaukee’s most aggressive home buyer, owns five houses within three blocks of mine (part of the nearly 350 they have purchased citywide so far). Another national company, SFR3, owns several more. Sometimes the ownership is obscure. The duplex at 2702-04 North 49th Street is owned by “2704 N 49TH ST 53210 LLC.” This particular LLC lists an owner’s mailing address in San Francisco. I’ve lost track of the number of flyers I’ve received encouraging me to sell my home. One Friday night, someone even called my cell phone, offering to buy my house.

My neighborhood is one small part of a wave of single family home and duplex purchases by large corporate investors, often with Wall Street backing. Continue reading “Out-of-State Investment in Milwaukee’s Home Rental Market”

Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say

Posted on Categories Election Law, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say

You want to do something about the partisan polarization that puts the United States Congress into frequent gridlock? Katherine Gehl and Austin Ramirez say there is a solution that has nothing to do with any specific policy or how people define themselves when it comes to partisanship: Change the way Congress members are elected.

“It turns out what really matters is the system, the rules of the game,” Gehl said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on the Marquette Law School web site on April 8, 2021. The game she referred to is the way politicians get re-elected. Single-party primary elections motivate them to take highly partisan positions that play to small, but decisive blocks of voters within their party.

“Currently the system pushes – forces — the sides apart,” Gehl said. What’s best in the big picture doesn’t count the way that it counts to do what’s best for winning a party primary or keeping others from launching primary challenges.

“Our task is to make keeping the job the same as getting results for the country,” she told Gousha, Marquette Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy. Continue reading “Want Politicians to Prioritize the Greater Good over Partisanship? Change Election Rules, Speakers Say”

Congratulations to the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Moot Court, PublicLeave a comment» on Congratulations to the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition Finalists

screenshot of zoom moot court competition, with head shots of three judges and four competitorsCongratulations to the winners of the 2021 Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition, Ben Edelstein and Kyle Frank. Congratulations also go to finalists Alexander Lux and Natalie Mulvey. Frank won the Ramon A. Klitzke Prize for Best Oralist. Ashleigh Dickey and Matt Rademacher won the Franz C. Eschweiler Prize for Best Brief.

 

Presiding over the final round were Hon. Paul Thissen (Minnesota Supreme Court), Hon. Michael Y. Scudder (United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), and Hon. Cynthia M. Davis (L’06) (Milwaukee County Circuit Court). This year’s final round was held virtually on Zoom but livestreamed over YouTube. More than 70 people watched the final round on YouTube.

 

Many thanks to the law school’s media and tech team for making all the tech magic happen. Thank you, too, to the law school administrators and staff who helped coordinate the event and to Dean Kearney for his support of the competition and his front-line presence as host. And special thanks to 3L Kelsey Pelegrin, who handled the details of the competition.

 

Students are selected to participate in the competition based on their success in the fall Appellate Writing and Advocacy class at the Law School.

 

Here is a link to a recording of the final round.

Jenkins Competitors Have Busy Weekend; Two Teams Advance to Finals

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Moot Court, PublicLeave a comment» on Jenkins Competitors Have Busy Weekend; Two Teams Advance to Finals
head shot of Ben Edelstein
Ben Edelstein
head shot of Kyle Frank
Kyle Frank

(Updated 3/30/21 12:25 PM to add registration link)

The last two weekends have been busy ones for the students competing in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition. Each team argued four times the weekend of March 20-21 in the preliminary rounds to determine which teams would advance to the quarterfinal round.

On Saturday, March 27, the eight teams that advanced argued to see which would advance to the semifinals.

head shot of Alex Lux
Alexander Lux
head shot of Natalie Mulvey
Natalie Mulvey

After some very close rounds, four teams moved on to the semifinals. Those four teams were:

Alexandra (Sasha) Chepov & Zak Wroblewski;
Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank;
Lauren Brasington & Carsyn Bushman;
Alexander Lux & Natalie Mulvey

These four teams competed on Sunday, March 28. The two teams that emerged as finalists are:

Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank
Alexander Lux & Natalie Mulvey

Congratulations to the finalists, and thank you to the many alumni and area attorneys who helped with the competition by grading briefs or judging oral arguments. Thanks, too, to the law school’s tech department and to Steve Nelson who kept this weekend’s virtual competition glitch-free.

The final round of the competition will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 6, at 3:30 PM, and will be lived streamed on YouTube.

The final round will be judged by The Honorable Michael Y. Scudder (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit), The Honorable Paul Thissen (Minnesota Supreme Court), and The Honorable Cynthia M. Davis (L’06) (Milwaukee County Circuit Court).

The Jenkins Completion is named in honor of the late James G. Jenkins, the first Wisconsin judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (1893-1905) and the first dean of Marquette Law School (1908-1915).

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to receive the link. You can register here.

Institute for Women’s Leadership Releases Report on Law Firm Equity Initiative

Posted on Categories Feminism, Labor & Employment Law, Legal Profession, Public1 Comment on Institute for Women’s Leadership Releases Report on Law Firm Equity Initiative

As part of Women’s History Month, the Marquette University Institute for Women’s Leadership released its first white paper, entitled Law Firm Equity Initiative, examining the status of women in the Milwaukee legal market.  (This survey went out to all firms with over 10 attorneys in the metro area—more on methodology in the report itself.)  I am honored to be the author of this report knowing that transparency is step one in bringing about any change.

My motivation for doing this study came from watching the remarkable progress that companies in Wisconsin have made in the last few years in terms of placing women on their boards. Inspired by what transparency and peer pressure has accomplished in the corporate world, I hope that we can hold a mirror to our legal community and also ask what we can do better.

When I graduated law school (don’t ask—it was a long time ago) and did not see women in leadership roles, I was told it was a pipeline issue—just give it time and women would ascend to the heights of leadership once there were equal number of women graduating.  So, has that story played out?  Not so much. Continue reading “Institute for Women’s Leadership Releases Report on Law Firm Equity Initiative”

Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors Advance to Quarterfinals

Posted on Categories Appellate Advocacy, Legal Education, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competitors Advance to Quarterfinals

Congratulations to the students in the Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition who have moved on to the quarterfinal round of the competition. The students will be competing on Saturday, March 27 to determine which teams will be advancing to the semifinal round on Sunday, March 28 at noon.

The following teams will be competing in the quarterfinals:

Zak Wroblewski & Alexandra (Sasha) Chepov
Morgan Minter & Taylor Van Zeeland
Ashleigh Dickey & Matt Rademacher
Charlie Hoffmann & Kevin Landgraf
Thomas Sucevic & Christopher Vandeventer
Ben Edelstein & Kyle Frank
Lauren Brasington & Carsyn Bushman
Alex Lux & Natalie Mulvey

Congratulations to all the participants in the competition. We also very much appreciate the alumni and other attorneys who volunteer to grade briefs and serve as judges in the preliminary rounds. We appreciate their time and assistance every year.

This year, an extra special thanks to Erik Atwell and the law school tech department for their assistance with managing three simultaneous virtual courtrooms with up to 24 people at eight different times over the weekend.

The final round of the Jenkins competition will take place on Tuesday, April 6 at 3:30 PM.

We’re honored to welcome the following distinguished jurists who will judge the final round:

Hon. Cynthia M. Davis (L’06), Milwaukee County Circuit Court
Hon. Michael Y. Scudder, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Hon. Paul Thissen, Minnesota Supreme Court

The final competition will be virtually on Zoom but will be livestreamed to the public.

State Economic Development Leader Sees Growth Ahead, but Problems to Solve

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic started, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation generally focused on larger projects aimed at building up the state’s economy, which is to say, the quasi-public agency made about 300 grants a year.

But with the impact the coronavirus had on economic life in Wisconsin, “we had to invent a bunch of tools to help businesses,” Missy Hughes, the secretary and CEO of WEDC, said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s web site on Wednesday (March 18, 2021).

The result? WEDC has made more than 60,000 grants during the pandemic period, the large number of them to small businesses seeking federal money intended to help those businesses stay alive.

As much as the grants have helped  and as much as business owners and operators have shown grit, resiliency and creativity in what they are doing, Hughes told Gousha, the Law School’s distinguished fellow in law and public policy, that she was concerned that 20 percent to 30 percent of small businesses statewide would not survive the pandemic. Continue reading “State Economic Development Leader Sees Growth Ahead, but Problems to Solve”

Honoring RBG & Women Judges With 9K

Posted on Categories Judges & Judicial Process, Legal Profession, Marquette Law School, PublicLeave a comment» on Honoring RBG & Women Judges With 9K
three women in running clothes sitting on or standing by a picnic table
(left to right) Annie Grove, Greta Hilgendorf, and Colleen Mandell rest after finishing 4k.

Instead of its usual spring gathering—Women Judges’ Night—the Milwaukee Association for Women Lawyers (AWL) sponsored the When There Are 9K Run/Walk. Marquette Law School was one of its sponsors.

According to AWL, “The title and length of this event are a tribute to the incredible and irreplaceable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” Justice Ginsburg was once asked when there would be enough women on the Supreme Court of the United States. Her response: “When there are nine.”

group of women in running clothes standing outside in the cold
(left to right) Annalisa Pusick, Colleen Mandell, Director Erin Binns, Professor Lisa Mazzie, Dean Angela Schultz, Greta Hilgendorf, and Annie Grove prepare to run. Not pictured: Madeline Lewis and Aimee Trevino. Photo credit: Lily Binns

The virtual run/walk began officially today—March 15—on what would have been Justice Ginsburg’s 88th birthday. Our challenge: to walk or run a total of 9K during this week. Some of us already met up to knock out 4K.

close up of two women with masks
Pusick and Director Binns finish 4K.

Money raised by the run/walk benefits the AWL Foundation’s scholarship program for female law students at Wisconsin law schools. Each year, two Marquette students receive those scholarships. Last year’s recipients were 2L Liz Simonis and 3L Kelly Ryan.

Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference

Posted on Categories Criminal Law & Process, Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference

There was unanimous concern about the overall issue. There was unanimous willingness to work together. There was open and substantial conversation. But it will take time to see what will actually happen when it comes to progress on how to police communities and how to achieve good  accountability when things related to police go bad.

That summarizes a two-hour conference on policing and accountability hosted by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette Forum, a university-wide set of efforts to address major issues. Participants included major figures involved in controversies over the subject and in the aftermath of several police shootings of black men. The conference was posted on the Law School’s web site on March 10, 2021.

“Ideologically, we want to live in a city where we all feel safe, where we feel heard, where we feel protected,” said Amanda Avalos, a new member of Milwaukee’s Fire and Police Commission. “And people’s ideas of how we get there are different.” Continue reading “Commitment to working on improving police accountability is strong at Law School conference”

Rebuilding intangibles like trust will be needed for schools to recover, expert says at Law School program

Posted on Categories Milwaukee Public Schools, Public, Speakers at MarquetteLeave a comment» on Rebuilding intangibles like trust will be needed for schools to recover, expert says at Law School program

This appeared as a column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on March 7, 2021.

As we reach the one-year mark in the greatest crisis American education has faced since the public schooling began taking its current form in the 19th Century, there are so many tangible things to be concerned about. Getting more kids back to school in person, especially now that teachers are getting vaccinated. What to do to help kids cover educational ground they didn’t cover in past months. How to use the coming summer. Money issues. Handling continuing health precautions. On and on.

But underlying the tangible issues are intangibles that also need big attention. I was involved in a virtual program on March 2 sponsored by the Marquette Law School and the Marquette College of Education on the state of K-12 education. Here are a few valuable thoughts from that session, emphasizing some of those intangibles:

Trust. A good school community is one where people – adults and children – are confident that, overall, things are being done well and for the good of all. There is a sense of everyone being on the same team. Trust underlies all of this. And the relationships and assumptions involved in trust have taken big steps backwards in many communities. That shows up especially in disputes nationwide over whether to have school in person.    Continue reading “Rebuilding intangibles like trust will be needed for schools to recover, expert says at Law School program”

Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs

Posted on Categories Milwaukee, Public, Speakers at Marquette1 Comment on Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs

Black people who have the potential to be successful entrepreneurs and business leaders have rarely reached that potential, given the impact of systemic racism, including the fact that few are in positions where they can take part in the networking that leads to so many opportunities.

Abim Kolawole thinks change can occur and steps being taken now will have positive impact. And he is in a major position to help that become so.

Kolawole, a top executive of Northwestern Mutual – he was recently named vice-president of “customer experience integration and promoting journey “ and was previously vice president of digital innovation — said during an “On the Issues with Mike Gousha” program posted on Marquette Law School’s website on February 17, 2021, that there is a greater sense of urgency around creating opportunity in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis in May 2020. Continue reading “Northwestern Mutual Exec Describes Efforts to Improve Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs”