New Marquette Lawyer Spotlights People Raising Their Voices to Seek Just Outcomes

Marquette Lawyer Cover with Wylie AitkenAll his life, Wylie Aitken has loved the performing arts. He wanted to make it on the stage, in movies, or in concert halls. He also wanted to advocate for people who were not getting fair deals in some important ways. As a young man, he realized the best path for him was to focus on the latter while drawing on his talents for the former. In the 1960s, he took his dreams from Southern California to Marquette Law School, where he developed skills essential to success as a lawyer. Returning home, he then launched a long and successful career performing, as he puts it, for audiences of 12, namely, members of juries. Aitken has won cases against giants such as Disneyland and the auto industry on behalf of what he calls “the little guys.” And beyond his legal practice in Orange County, California, he and his wife, Bette, have been influential in building up the performing arts, supporting Democratic politicians, and boosting the quality and vitality of education institutions. That includes generosity they have shown for years to Marquette Law School and Marquette University.

The Summer 2024 issue of Marquette Lawyer magazine features a profile of the colorful Aitken, who credits Marquette Law School with playing an important part in his success. The article, titled “Winning Performance,” may be read by clicking here.

Beyond the specifics of Aitken’s success lies a theme of the good that can come from developing talents and abilities, working hard, and raising your voice in pursuit of making things better. Those are themes reflected in several other pieces in the new magazine.

In “Army of Survivors,” Professors Paul G. Cassell of the University of Utah and Edna Erez of the University of Illinois Chicago assess the importance of victim impact statements given by 168 women who were victimized by Larry Nassar, once the team doctor for USA Gymnastics. The women who testified at Nassar’s sentencing proceeding showed great courage in raising their voices in court (in nationally televised sessions) in pursuit of making sure that not only Nassar but many who enabled him were held accountable and that the general public had increased knowledge of the evils of sexual assault. Cassell and Erez analyze different aspects of the impact the women’s statements had and conclude that giving victims the opportunity to raise  their voices has great value. The article is based on the Barrock Lecture on Criminal Law the two professors gave at Marquette Law School. It may be read by clicking here.

Professor Margo Bagley of Emory University raises her voice on behalf of bringing more women and underrepresented minorities into the world of inventing and patenting. In “Deploying Our Secret Weapon,” Bagley spells out specifics on how few women and minorities have become involved in such work in the past. She makes the case that bringing more of them into such work not only is right but can improve economic growth and America’s global standing. The article is based on Bagley’s Nies Lecture on Intellectual Property at Marquette Law School. It can be read by clicking here.

Voices have been raised in many varied—and passionate—ways in advocating for what corporations could and should do to involve themselves in the improving their communities or the nation as a whole. Is the only real obligation of a corporation to pursue profits for owners and shareholders? Or are there broader role businesses should play? And what is the law around permitted use of corporate resources? Professor Ann M. Lipton of Tulane University analyzes the complex issues involved in such debate in “Of Chameleons and ESG,” an article based on her Boden Lecture at Marquette Law School. The article may be read by clicking here.

Veteran Milwaukee journalist Tom Kertscher was visiting his father in West Bend, Wisconsin, when a police officer arrived to give him a ticket for not making a full stop at an intersection several blocks away. A doorbell video from a resident led to the ticket—and led to Kertscher’s raising his voice about the extensive amount of surveillance of this kind. It is generally legal when done by private individuals, he found. Kertscher’s tale, interweaving his unsuccessful effort in court to be given a warning and not a ticket together with broader context about the legality of such surveillance evidence, can be read by clicking here.

The Burdens of All: A Social History of American Tort Law, a book by Joseph A. Ranney, the Adrian P. Schoone Fellow at Marquette Law School, was featured in the Summer 2022 Marquette Lawyer. The book prompted Professor Cristina Tilley of the University of Iowa to raise her voice, as part of a Marquette Law School conference, in reacting to Ranney’s perspective. She praises his research—and calls on him to continue and expand it. Her essay, “All-American Tort Law, may be read by clicking here.

In his column, titled “In Celebration of Progress and Continuity,” Dean Joseph D. Kearney reflects on nine 100-year-old tables that were moved in 2010 from Marquette Law School’s long-time home, Sensenbrenner Hall, to Eckstein Hall—and, more generally, on how the Law School benefits from both tradition and change. His column may be read by clicking here.

Finally: the Class Notes describe recent accomplishments of more than 30 Marquette lawyers and may be read by clicking here, and the back cover (here) offers a recent snapshot showing the strong record of Marquette Law School graduates moving into good legal careers.

The full magazine may be read by clicking here for the PDF or here for the “interactive” version.

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