Marc Marotta

The Marquette family — indeed, the Milwaukee community and the state more generally — lost one of its great leaders yesterday when Marc Marotta suddenly passed away. His death was jarring; he was only 52. Many people knew Marc far better than I, but I had the great fortune of getting to know him through our work together on the Board of Directors of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation for the past few years. In fact, I saw him on Tuesday morning at a board meeting, where he was his usual self: energetic, gregarious, and engaging … which made yesterday’s news even more incomprehensible.

My interest in this post is not to detail Marc’s many accomplishments; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel does a great job of it here (though no one article can truly do justice to the work and legacy of Marc Marotta). Instead, as our third-year students inch closer to graduation and becoming Marquette lawyers, I hope to highlight aspects of Marc’s life and career that are worth reflection by our students — indeed, by all of us in the profession — as they become lawyers and serve the public.

Marc was an excellent lawyer — just ask anyone with whom he worked. He combined his fierce intellect, exceptional work ethic, and political acumen to have a truly remarkable legal career. But Marc shared his gifts in so many other ways. He was deeply involved in many community organizations — often taking significant leadership roles in helping advance those groups in meaningful ways. One only need look at his work on the Bradley Center Board, where he served as chair. The Chair of the Board of Directors is an unpaid position, but it required an incredible amount of time — particularly in recent years — as the arena faced significant challenges and as the need for a new arena (and the attendant community conversation that is ongoing) arose. As with so many other community initiatives, Marc was one of the critical leaders in this important public policy conversation.

Despite the various demands on his time, Marc always found time to serve his community. Perhaps this is why Marc was so well-respected by people on both sides of the political aisle. He cared about people and genuinely enjoyed working, collaborating, and interacting with others. Anyone who knew or met Marc would attest to this. And it was this ethos that shined through in his commitment to his community.

I learned a great deal from Marc through my work with him and the extraordinary example he provided all of us in being a civically-minded attorney. His passing is tragic, but the life he lived can hopefully inspire the next generation of great leaders in the state to give back in some of the many ways that Marc did. Indeed, many of those future leaders roam the halls of Eckstein Hall, and my hope is that they will look to Marc’s example as they chart their own careers.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Joe Mirabella

    I also can’t claim to have known Marc all that well, but my time with him speaks I think both to his charitable nature and to the message I gather you hope to send to MULS students with this post.

    Marc was a friend of the family, and when I was in law school he took the time to sit down with me and mentor me. I was just a kid with no idea what I wanted to do or how I wanted to do it, and despite how obvious that was, or maybe because of it, Marc agreed to meet with me. He gave me advice about how to go about looking for work, how to get the most out of law school, and offered his help anytime I needed it.

    Marc got nothing out of this, best I can tell. He just took time out of his ridiculously busy day to meet a kid for coffee at 6 o’clock in the morning and try to steer him in the right direction. Even though it was a small thing, especially compared to everything else the man accomplished, I definitely appreciated it and I never forgot it. And if I had to guess, I suspect its little things like that which set him apart and are part of the reason why he meant so much to so many.

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