Welcome home to the Law School team that participated last weekend in the annual Duberstein Bankruptcy Law Moot Court Competition at St. John’s University in New York City. This is the first year that the Marquette University Law School has entered a team in the Duberstein Competition, which has a reputation for fierce competition and high quality judging. Our team of Jacob Heuett, Bradley Suiters and Alexander O’Reilly worked long hours to prepare for the competition, only to do battle with a Nor’Easter that closed airports in New York City and delayed their arrival until early Sunday morning. The storm interfered with the travel of numerous teams, and the competition organizers were forced to cancel the first round of arguments and schedule some teams to argue back to back. Despite facing adversity, our team performed admirably. While the team did not advance to the octo-finals, they set a foundation upon which future Law School teams can build. Special thanks to Len Leverson for serving as the team’s practitioner coach. Congratulations!
Please join me in welcoming our two Guest Bloggers for the month of February.
Our Student Blogger of the Month is Samantha Greenberg. She introduces herself as follows: “I am from Miami, Florida. Out of high school, I left Miami and moved to Buffalo, New York where I attended Canisius College. Moving to Buffalo, I had never seen snow before, and the two years I attended Canisius College were the two worst winters Buffalo had had in years. After my sophomore year, I transferred to the University of Miami, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Sports Administration. During my time in undergraduate studies, I had many opportunities to work in the sports field, ranging from interning at a sports agency, to even being a college mascot. I chose to come to Marquette University Law School because of their prestigious National Sports Law Institute, and I hope to take the knowledge I learn and apply it towards the real world in a career in sports law.”
Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Lucas Bennewitz. He is a 2015 Marquette University Law School graduate. Mr. Bennewitz works as an Assistant District Attorney for the Racine County District Attorney’s office and has focused his entire career on litigation since being admitted to the Bar. While at Marquette, Mr. Bennewitz was involved in Moot Court, and the Student Bar Association, and was an editor for the Intellectual Property Law Review.
We look forward to your posts!
On this cold Winter’s Day, let’s give a warm welcome to our Guest Bloggers for January.
Our Alumni Blogger for the month is Pamela M. Heinrich. Pam serves as General Counsel and Director of Government Affairs to NAFA, the National Association for Fixed Annuities, a national trade association representing the fixed annuity industry. In addition, she is the Outside Claims Manager for Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
Pam is a 1981 graduate of Ripon College (B.A., English) and a 2008 graduate of Marquette University Law School, summa cum laude. During law school, Pam served as an associate editor of the Marquette Law Review and as student editor of the Federation of Defense & Corporation Counsel Quarterly. She also completed internships with the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Wisconsin Department of Justice – Criminal Appeals Unit. Prior to joining NAFA, Pam was an associate attorney at Quarles & Brady, practicing in the firm’s Product Liability litigation group.
Pam has been married to Tom for 33 years and together they have three grown children (and a son-in-law!) and a Siberian Husky, named Juno. Pam enjoys cooking and entertaining (often!), yoga, and sailing.
Our Student Blogger for the month is K.C. Parker. K.C. is a current 1L who attended a military academy instead of from a high school. By the age of seventeen he was in the military, and on his way overseas. After military service, K.C. became a certified law enforcement officer in Wisconsin. He received his B.S. at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in Democracy and Justice Studies, and Economics. K.C. is currently involved in the Veterans Association and the Business Law Association at Marquette Law School, and has assisted veterans as part of the Estate Planning Clinic.
We look forward to your posts!
The following opinion piece appears in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Our system of justice rests upon two pillars: equal treatment and independent judgment. Every person who appears before our state courts expects to be treated equally to every other litigant. In addition, every party to a lawsuit expects to have his case heard by a judge who is free to exercise their own independent judgment. Recently, the state legislature in Madison and Governor Walker approved legislation – a $3 billion package luring Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen TV factory in Racine County — that seriously undermines these two fundamental principles.
The principle of equal treatment commands that the same rules should apply to all parties appearing before the court. No one should receive special status. It is true that the two sides in a case might not be evenly matched, and that one might have more financial resources or a more skilled legal team. But, even then, both parties in the case should be subject to the same set of laws and procedures, and have the same opportunity to argue that the law supports their claim.
The Foxconn legislation creates special treatment for Foxconn whenever that corporation is sued in Wisconsin courts. The law forces the Wisconsin Supreme Court to directly take appeals involving “Electronics and Information Technology Manufacturing Zones” (EITM) from the circuit courts. By law there is only one such zone, and that zone is home to Foxconn. Typically, the high court would hear appeals at their discretion, and then only after the case was heard by an intermediate court. The reason for placing cases involving Foxconn on a “fast-track” to the Wisconsin Supreme Court should be obvious. That Court currently boasts a majority of Justices who were elected with the financial support of Wisconsin’s largest trade and manufacturing lobbyists. The drafters of the legislation expect these Justices to be sympathetic to the concerns of manufacturers like Foxconn.
We expect our state court judges to be free to exercise their independent judgment when deciding the merits of a case. It is the trial judge that hears the facts and the evidence, and who determines the appropriate remedy should the plaintiff prevail. It is not the state legislature’s job to decide which party in a case should win, or what remedy should be imposed in an individual case. Continue reading “Foxconn Deal Tips the Scales of Justice”
There is frost on the pumpkin, so it must be time to welcome our guest bloggers for the month of November.
Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Stacy Alexejun. Stacy is a litigation attorney in the Madison office of Quarles & Brady LLP. She focuses her practice on product liability defense and intellectual property litigation, with an emphasis in trademark, trade secret, copyright, and unfair competition matters. Before joining Quarles, Stacy clerked for three terms for Justice Annette Kingsland Ziegler of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. She is a 2009 graduate of Marquette University Law School and has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin. She and her husband Brad have a 20-month-old daughter, Lucille.
Our Student Blogger of the Month is Samantha Feak. Samantha is originally from Sagola, Michigan. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and graduated with a degree in international politics and U.S. foreign relations. She served as a Summer Law Fellow at the Milwaukee Justice Center and has been active in both the American Association for Justice and the Wisconsin Association for Justice.
Welcome and we look forward to your posts!
On Wednesday night, October 11th, the non-partisan organization Common Cause in Wisconsin is holding a town hall meeting/public hearing entitled “Access to Justice.” Co-sponsors of the event include the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County, and the American Association of University Women of Wisconsin. This free event is open to the public and will take place October 11 from 6:30PM to 8:00PM at Marquette Law School in the Appellate Courtroom (Main Level). Marquette University Law School is not a sponsor of the event.
The focus of the event will be the recusal rules that the Wisconsin Supreme Court has adopted for our state judiciary. Wisconsin’s current state recusal “non-standard” was written by the lobbyist organization Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce in 2010. The current rule essentially states that judges may decide for themselves whether to recuse themselves in a case involving a donor or special interest group who made campaign contributions to that judge.
This past April, the Wisconsin Supreme Court discussed a petition by 54 retired Wisconsin judges to establish reasonable thresholds for recusal of trial and appellate judges when they receive campaign contributions from a defendant or plaintiff – or if they benefited from spending by an “outside” special interest group involved in a case before their court. The State Supreme Court voted 5 to 2 to reject this petition, and the Court did so without any input from the public.
The purpose of Wednesday night’s event is to educate persons in attendance on the issue of judicial recusal rules and to seek public input on possible reforms. I will be one speaker at this event, along with former State Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, former Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Michael Skwierawski, and Jay Heck from Common Cause.
Again, this event is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there.
The cool fall air in the morning tells us that October has arrived, and with the new month comes a new pair of guest bloggers.
Our Alumni Blogger is Emil Ovbiagele. Emil works with closely-held businesses and entrepreneurs. He practices in the areas of corporate law, small business and real estate acquisitions, employment law, and commercial litigation. Emil obtained his B.A., JD, and MBA from Marquette University. He currently serves on the Board of the Milwaukee Young Lawyers Association. Since 2014, he has volunteered as a competition coach for several mock trial teams at the Marquette University Law School. In 2017, Emil was recognized by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” and was selected by the Wisconsin Law Journal as an “Up and Coming Lawyer.”
Our Student Blogger of the month is 2L Aurusa Kabani, who provides the following bio: “I was born in the armpit of Texas, also known as Houston, but I could not have been happier to be raised in Fort Worth, where the weather is always nicer. As the baby in the family with two older brothers, ESPN has a very special place in my heart, especially when the Dallas Cowboys or the Dallas Mavericks are playing on our home turf. I am a full-time law student studying at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, currently I am externing at NCAA’s Enforcement division and attending IU McKinney Law School in Indianapolis, Indiana for the semester. The reason I chose to attend law school is because there are very few people who look like me in the field of law, but particularly in sports law. I am here to change that and shatter glass ceilings.”
Please join me in welcoming our October guest bloggers!
There will be two information sessions this coming Thursday September 21 in order to provide students with important details about the Law School’s study abroad opportunities. Plan to attend and learn about how to spend one semester of your law school experience in Copenhagen, Madrid or Poitiers, France. Information will also be available about the 2018 summer program in International and Comparative Law which will be held in Giessen. Germany. Foreign study can add an international perspective to your legal education, and the Marquette University Law School offers several outstanding study abroad opportunities. Advance planning is necessary in order to take advantage of these programs, however, so come to the information session in order to learn more about deadlines and application procedures.
Professors Madry and Fallone will be providing information and answering questions on Thursday at noon (in Room 257) and again at 4:30 pm (in Room 255).
The Ninth Annual Summer Session in International and Comparative Law, one of the nation’s most unique law school study abroad programs, ended with a Closing Ceremony on August 11. The Closing Ceremony was covered by the local newspaper in the town of Giessen, Germany, The Giessener. You can read the newspaper’s story at this link. For those of you who do not speak German, here is a translation of the story courtesy of Google Translate:
GIESSEN – An international atmosphere prevailed in the last four weeks at Justus Liebig University (JLU). During this period, 65 students from 22 nations attended the ninth German Summer School in International and Comparative Law and the 13th Hessen International Summer University (ISU). At the closing ceremony in the university building in Ludwigstrasse, it was necessary to say good-bye.
“I hope that the two programs are the beginning of an intense relationship between you and Germany and that this is not your last visit here,” JLU President Prof. Joybrato Mukherjee wished in his welcoming speech. For him, the academic exchange is very important, especially since in Giessen it is also part of a particularly long tradition. For already University namesake Justus von Liebig had brought together international scientists at the University of Giessen. Professor Thilo Marauhn was delighted that this tradition has been preserved to this day. The holder of the Chair of Public Law and International Law was impressed by the fact that “so many students from so many countries come to Giessen to learn together here.” He was proud to say that the “summer schools” were so much international. “They are at the heart of our international exchange programs and help to make Giessen known everywhere.” Prof. Anuj Desai from the JLU partner University of Wisconsin Law School praised the programs as “an important cooperation between the universities, which is organized by the JLU in an outstanding way”. Program coordinator Magdalena Jas-Nowopolska also emphasized: “The programs mean not only mean studying, but also bringing together people from different countries.”
When the certificate was given, each participant was celebrated loudly during the walk across the stage. But there was also a little melancholy in the air, for the time spent in Germany had come to an end. For some, however, this does not mean a farewell forever. Laura Catalina Guerrero from Colombia wants to apply for a master’s degree in Hamburg. “In the past four weeks, I’ve been totally in love with Germany, and there is so much to see and learn,” said the 23-year-old criminologist. But she will miss the time in Giessen because it is such a “dynamic and student-perfect city”. Bhagirath Singh Ashiya from India feels similar. “I liked it here very much,” enthused the 23-year-old law student. He was particularly impressed by “the transparent legal system and German efficiency”. But most of all, the many green areas in the cities fascinated him. “We do not have that at home”.
After the ceremony, the students celebrated one last time with their newly won friends until late in the evening. Because the next morning it was time to say good-bye and return to their respective home countries. Both programs were organized by the Franz von Liszt Institute at the JLU Faculty of Law.
Our Alumni Blogger of the Month is Albert (“A.J.”) Bianchi, Jr. A.J. is an attorney at Michael Best and Friedrich LLP where he focuses his litigation practice on intellectual property and federal court matters, including cases involving patent, trademark and copyright infringement, contract disputes, and class actions. He also litigates cases in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota state courts, and has experience with jury trials in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. Before joining Michael Best, A.J. served as a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin for the Honorable William M. Conley, the Honorable Barbara B. Crabb, and the Honorable John C. Shabaz. He is a 2007 graduate of the Marquette University Law School.
Our Student Blogger of the month is Matt Sowden. Matt is a Second Year law student who is quick to give credit to his “wonderful, supportive wife and two amazing daughters.” He was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa and served six years in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear electrician on submarines. After his enlistment, Matt attended Drake University where he graduated with a double major in economics and politics. He then worked various jobs for a few years, from warehouse manager to table games supervisor at a casino. During his first year at Marquette University Law School, Matt volunteered at Milwaukee Justice Center’s Family Forms Clinic and at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic. As for his future career in law, Matt says: “I am still searching for my preferred area of practice.”
Welcome A.J. and Matt. We look forward to reading your posts this month.
The 2017 Summer Session in International and Comparative Law is off to a hot start, matching the temperature in Giessen, Germany. In this photo, you see a mix of jet-lagged law students from all over the world posing outside of the law school at Justus Liebig University (you can also see me and Professor Anuj Desai from the University of Wisconsin). The students attended orientation this past Sunday, and then set off on a “city rally” in which small teams of students competed to locate different check-in points located throughout the city of Giessen. It was a fun way to get introduced to their new surroundings. Then it was back to the law school for the group photo and a Welcome Dinner.
Our 10 Marquette Law School participants have now joined their classmates (and new friends) from countries that include Brazil, Colombia, Poland, Vietnam, Egypt, and Portugal, and have completed three days of classes. Interest and enrollment appears equally divided among our four course offerings: 1) International Economic Law and Business Transactions, 2) Comparative Constitutional Law, 3) Business Ethics and Human Rights, and 4) CyberLaw.
Following the last class on Thursday, the students will board buses for a 3 day field trip to Berlin and surrounding sights. At this pace, the four weeks of the program will fly by. However, I happen to know that some of the U.S. students have still found time during this first week to visit a local beer garden and participate in a karaoke night.
Our program is open to any law student in the United States attending an accredited law school. Details on the 10th annual Summer Session, scheduled to begin July 14, 2018, will be available this fall. Watch this space for course, faculty and tuition information.
Alex is currently a rising 3L at Marquette University Law School. He was born and raised in south Florida and graduated from the University of Florida in 2014. He has a life-long interest in sports, music and traveling. Alex hopes to pursue a career in corporate and business transactional law, and this summer he is working for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company in Milwaukee. He is also participating in the Law School’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. During his law school career, Alex has been active in the Hispanic community, and he plans on continuing his commitment to inclusion and diversity during his legal career through his membership in professional and legal organizations.
Welcome, Alex, and we look forward to reading your posts.