Forty-Five Plus Years – Wow!!!!

John Kircher teaches a law school class, 1986
John Kircher teaches a law school class, 1986

Editor’s Note:  This semester, Marquette University Law School students will hear the immortal words, “I already have a  friend,” for the last time.  After a legendary career, Professor Jack Kircher will end his teaching duties in December.  He has influenced and inspired thousands of Marquette Lawyers over the past four-plus decades, and he has graciously agreed to share some reflections on his career.  And if you don’t understand the reference to “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” the answer can be found in John Mortimer’s delightful television series “Rumpole of the Bailey.”

Someone, possibly me, once said that if you find a job you love you will never again work another day in your life. That speaks well of my time here at the Law School.  My work here has been, with all apologies to “She Who Must Be Obeyed,” a love affair.

But my goal, leaving here as a graduate, was not to become a Law Professor.  I wanted to be a lawyer who would spend most of the time in a courtroom.  That is how I started, but then came the phone call.  It was from Professor James D. Ghiardi, my most favorite teacher during my three student years here at the Law School.  He asked me to join him as his assistant at the Defense Research Institute (DRI).  It was a national think tank for lawyers who defend insurance and personal injury litigation. It involved a lot of research, writing and editing.  It was then and there I learned, for the first time, that Jim had two full-time jobs.

My initial thought at his call was pride that he would seek me out to join him. I also came to the conclusion that if I did not like the new job I could always go back to the courtroom. But I did not go back to the court room.  But how did I end up in the classroom? The first step again relates to Jim.

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People Who Have Shaped the Teaching Careers of Our Faculty—Part 2

The editors of the blog asked several law school faculty to write about the people who have been the most formative figures in their careers as legal educators. This is the second submission in the series, and it is by Professor John J. Kircher.

The answer to the question “who has been the most formative figure in your career as a legal educator” is very easy for me. It is one name, Professor James D. Ghiardi. During the course of my career Jim Ghiardi has been my law professor, my boss, my mentor, my golf partner, my colleague, my coauthor and my second father. I feel very fortunate to have had the ability of spending a great deal of time with him over the course of my career. Many learning experiences came from that, not only observing what he said, but also what he did.

My initial exposure to the man was in my first year of law school. He was my Torts professor. There was no attorney in my family and, other than characters in movies and on television, I never had any personal exposure to one. I was impressed. He was dressed in a business suit, unlike many undergraduate faculty members to whom I had been exposed. They dressed like their students, possibly thinking that undergraduate chic might make them appear young – certainly not professional. Jim told us that law was a profession and that he expected us to act and think like professionals. He told us what his role would be in the classroom and what our role should be.

A significant sign of Jim’s professionalism is evidenced by the fact that he was elected by the members of the State Bar of Wisconsin to be President of that organization. As far as I can discern he is the only “academic lawyer” to have achieved that status. However he was more than an academic lawyer. He was and continues to be a true professional. He certainly was and continues to be my role model.


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If the Law Says That . . .

This is the second post in an occasional series entitled “Law Gone Wrong.”  The editors of the Faculty Blog invited Law School faculty to share their thoughts on misguided statutes, disastrous judicial decisions, and other examples where the law has gone wrong (and needs to be nudged back on course).  Today’s contribution is from Professor Jack Kircher.

Alright, the law of subrogation is fairly simple.  If one who is secondarily liable pay a debt that should have been paid by the primarily liable person, the one who pays the debt steps into the shoes of the creditor to pursue the one primarily liable.  Subrogation also applies to an indemnity insurance situation.  An insurer paying on its policy when its insured sustains a loss caused by a tortfeasor may pursue the tortfeasor for the amount the insurer paid.  It thus becomes the alter ego of its insured, the tort victim, as to the tortfeasor.  In this context both insurance and tort law concern themselves with indemnity.

A wrinkle has been added to the basic context in Wisconsin and elsewhere. 

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