Yesterday’s On the Issues with Mike Gousha featured a conversation with Marquette Law School graduate and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Maxine Aldridge White. Judge White’s journey from growing up in the Mississippi Delta as the daughter of a sharecropper to her current position on the bench is a compelling and inspiring one. Judge White reflected on her time at the Law School and how her experience here helped shape and influence her career. In particular, she pointed to the support and guidance provided her by Professor Phoebe Williams.
When asked by Mike Gousha to assess the justice system, Judge White indicated that she thinks the system is well designed, but she also noted that the system is lacking in diversity, which limits its ability to properly mete out justice. As an illustration, it was shocking for me to learn that Judge White is the only African-American female judge in Wisconsin. Judge White gave good advice for the significant number of students in attendance. She told students to focus on being the best law students they can be by working hard, playing fair, being nice, and maintaining their integrity. Judge White also encouraged students when they enter the legal profession to help others–whether that be with their time, money, or ideas–as such service to others will bring them greater fulfillment and success. Finally, she underscored the importance of keeping a balanced life as an attorney. Mike Gousha summed up the feelings of the entire audience–indeed, the entire Marquette community–by telling Judge White how proud we all are to call her a Marquette lawyer.