Marquette Law School: 1989 v. 2019

Posted on Categories Alumni Contributor, Legal Education, Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public, Student Contributor

The Year 1989: The Berlin wall came down, the world wide web was invented, Seinfeld first aired, and, not quite as significant for the planet, my dad, Michael Haggenjos, graduated from Marquette Law School. (He also felt the need to remind me that it was the year certain celebrities, such as Taylor Swift and Danielle Radcliffe, were born.)

My dad devoted a large portion of his earlier blog post talking about some of the events in my life leading up to my decision to go to law school, and the subsequent direction my law school career has taken towards litigation. While it’s true that it took me longer to realize what I wanted to be when I grew up, I did eventually have that moment where I knew I wanted to go to law school. It happened around my junior year of college, when I was studying at UW-Madison.

I found myself at a crossroads: Do I go to grad school and get my doctorate in English Literature so that I can teach at the university level? Or, do I follow in my dad’s footsteps and go to law school? In order to find an answer, I decided to take the philosophy of logic at the suggestion of my advisor. It may sound cheesy, but after a single class I was hooked, and I knew from that moment on that I was going to attend law school.

Although my dad and I have now both attended Marquette Law School, our law school experiences are quite different in several very important ways. For instance, there is the difference of the facilities—Sensenbrenner Hall (built in 1924) vs. Eckstein Hall (built in 2010)—in which we took classes.

We now have things that didn’t exist back then, such as study rooms, and access to overheard projectors, and the Lubar Center, a room big enough to house the annual Jenkins Honors Moot Court Competition and its spectators. Of course, there is also the fact that the birth of the internet occurred in the same year that my dad graduated law school. Legal research certainly looks much different than it used to with online versions of Westlaw and Lexis, as well as the birth of Google.

There are, however, quite a few similarities between my dad’s and my experience at Marquette Law School. Even after thirty years my dad and I have had the privilege of taking classes with some of the same professors. Each of us has taken a class with Professors Anzivino, Bradford, and Hammer, and we’ve have had the pleasure of meeting with Dean Thomson (then, in “placement,” as my dad calls it; now the self-dubbed “dean of forms”).  Dad also had classes with Professors Edwards and McChrystal, although I have not had the opportunity to take a class with either.

The best story my dad told me about his time at law school was his first day of classes. His cousin Cliff Haggenjos had graduated a year earlier but made sure to tell Professor Hammer to call on my dad on the first day of class. Sure enough, come the first day of school, Dad was the first student to be called on—which, as we all know, is something we all hope and pray would not be us. I think I remember hearing an audible sigh of relief from everyone around me who was not called on in my first class, myself included.

This story is my favorite, however, because the first time Dad told it to me was when I was 17 and we were taking a tour of the Marquette campus. It was not long after the new law school building had been built, and my dad wanted to check it out while we were there for the tour. So, my dad and I took ourselves on a little tour of Eckstein Hall, and he told me some stories about the time he was in law school, including his first day. We had barely walked into the Zilber Forum before we practically ran into Professor Hammer. The thing that stood out to me that day, however, was the fact that Professor Hammer remembered my dad, after 22 years! My dad always says, when he tells that story, that it was not an indication who my dad had been as a student, but rather showed Professor Hammer for the type of professor he is and was.

Dad has recounted for me many memories of his time spent in his three years of law school, but when I asked him what his absolute favorite thing about law school was, he responded that it was without a doubt the friendships he made. I agree with his answer, and hope that in thirty years I will have been able to keep in touch with some of the friends I have made. And, who knows? Maybe in thirty years my son or daughter will be attending law school at Marquette and I will be reminiscing with my classmates and friends at our thirty-year reunion.

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