Posted on Categories Public, Restorative JusticeLeave a comment» on JUDGE TRIGGIANO TO LEAD THE ANDREW CENTER FOR RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
Hon. Janine P. Geske and Chief Judge Triggiano
Hon. Janine P. Geske and Chief Judge Triggiano

Marquette Law School established the Restorative Justice Initiative (RJI) under the leadership of the Hon. Janine P. Geske, who had served as Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice from 1993 to 1998. Justice Geske returned to the Law School as Distinguished Professor of Law in 1998 and launched our RJI in 2004. Even upon her “retirement” from the faculty in 2014, we—Professor Geske, in particular—kept the RJI going.

Last year, we were able, in light of the generosity of Louis Andrew, L’66, and Suzanne Bouquet Andrew, Sp’66, to announce the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice. While Justice Geske agreed to come out of “retirement” (she is not very good at that “activity”) to be the Andrew Center’s inaugural director, the goal has been to appoint a permanent director, succeeding Professor Geske.

Today, in an exciting development, we accomplish that goal. I invite you to read about the new director of the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice in the following Marquette University press release.

Chief Judge Mary Triggiano named director of Marquette Law School’s Andrew Center for Restorative Justice

MILWAUKEE — Hon. Mary E. Triggiano, chief judge for the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, has been named director of Marquette University Law School’s Andrew Center for Restorative Justice, Marquette President Michael R. Lovell announced today. Triggiano, who has served as a circuit court judge in Milwaukee County since 2004, will step down from the bench and begin her new role at a date to be announced in 2023.

“Marquette University is blessed to welcome Chief Judge Mary Triggiano as the director of the Law School’s Andrew Center for Restorative Justice,” President Michael R. Lovell said. “Mary’s commitment to trauma-informed care in the justice system and her advocacy to support victims and communities in healing from the effects of crime are impressive and transformational. She is a respected leader whose talents and personal values align precisely with the mission of the Andrew Center, continuing the Hon. Janine Geske’s work to foster restorative justice in our communities.”

Marquette University established the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice in December 2021 with the support of a $5 million endowment gift from alumni couple Louis and Suzanne Bouquet Andrew. The Andrew Center serves as a central hub for educating students on restorative justice and how to use its approaches at the local, national, and international levels. The center also supports faculty research and enhances the teaching of restorative justice in the broader community.

As Andrew Center director, Triggiano will continue the work of the inaugural director, Hon. Janine P. Geske, former Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and Marquette trustee, who will continue to serve in an advisory role.

“Serving as a judge has been an extraordinary privilege, and I consider the opportunity to lead the new Andrew Center for Restorative Justice to be an incredible honor,” Triggiano said. “The mission of the Andrew Center presents a unique opportunity for me to use my passion for restorative justice to build upon the work of Justice Geske and to support the growth of this extraordinary program at Marquette Law School. I cannot think of another position for which I would be willing to leave the bench.”

Restorative justice encompasses a variety of approaches whereby judges, lawyers, and others can help support victims and communities in the process of healing from the effects of crime. It characteristically uses professionally guided civil dialogue, and its means for addressing conflict, promoting healing, and facilitating problem solving can proceed in conjunction with, or apart from, the more formal processes associated with the traditional legal system. There also has been increasing interest in the use of restorative justice practices in noncriminal settings, such as conflicts in schools, communities, and organizations.

Over the past two decades, Marquette built a substantial program in restorative justice under Geske’s leadership. Since leaving the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1998, Geske has been working with Marquette law students to teach them about restorative justice. Students have worked hand-in-hand with legal professionals, community leaders, and those directly affected by crime. Further, they have learned from specific restorative justice classroom work; annual conferences; a restorative justice clinic where they work with victims, offenders and community members; and pro bono conflict management training for community leaders.

“We established the Restorative Justice Initiative in 2004, early in my deanship, under the leadership of the Hon. Janine Geske,” said Joseph D. Kearney, dean and professor of law. “While Professor Geske formally retired in 2014, she stayed with us, her alma mater law school. With the magnificent gift from Louie and Sue Andrew, Justice Geske formally returned in early 2022, as founding director of the Andrew Center, as we began to secure a permanent future for the Law School’s engagement with restorative justice. And, after a national search, we have identified right here in our community someone with the right blend of toughness, empathy, teaching and administrative skills, and, not least, deep experience in the justice system to lead the new Andrew Center forward.

“The confidence in us on the part of Chief Judge Triggiano—Professor Triggiano, we may say—is a great and inspiring development for Marquette Law School.”

“I am beyond thrilled that Judge Triggiano will accept a handoff to direct the Andrew Center for Restorative Justice,” Geske said. “I’ve known and worked alongside Mary for years in the restorative justice space, and I’ve long admired the qualities that make her a respected leader and educator. The esteem in which the Wisconsin legal community holds her, as a lawyer, judge, and administrator, is most well deserved. I am looking forward to her leading us not only in this region but in the expanding academic and professional circles engaging with the important and sensitive work of helping victims and communities heal.”

Triggiano was appointed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in February 2020 to serve as chief judge of the state’s First Judicial District, which comprises Milwaukee County. As chief judge, she has been the administrative chief of the judicial administrative district and is responsible for the administration of judicial business in circuit courts within the district, including supervising its personnel and fiscal management. She also worked with other Wisconsin circuit court judges on the Committee of Chief Judges, which consists of one chief judge from each of the state’s nine judicial administrative districts and meets monthly as a committee to work with the Supreme Court on issues of statewide importance.

Triggiano has been active in the restorative justice community throughout her career as a judge, regularly engaging with Marquette Law School’s Restorative Justice Initiative as a guest lecturer, discussion panelist, and conference-planning committee member. She also enacted restorative practices in the family drug treatment court and healthy infant court, within the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, and worked on victim-offender panels with the Restorative Youth Justice Project in the Vel Phillips Youth and Family Justice Center. She is a past adjunct professor of law at Marquette University, co-teaching the course in Problem-Solving Courts and Trauma.

Prior to joining the bench, Triggiano worked with Legal Action of Wisconsin, the state’s largest nonprofit law firm, for 10 years as director of the Volunteer Lawyers Project. During this time, she also spent eight years as a managing attorney in Legal Action’s Milwaukee office. Triggiano graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School in 1988 and was in private practice at Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren, S.C., until 1994.


Posted on Categories Lubar Center, PublicLeave a comment» on THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX AT THE LUBAR CENTER
Judge Mosley
Judge Mosley with first-year Marquette law students in the Lubar Center on Aug. 19, 2022.

The past year has involved many developments at Marquette University Law School, but selecting a successor to Mike Gousha—identifying and recruiting someone to lead our public-policy and civic-education outreach, even while Mike continues in a part-time role—has been a particular interest to all involved in leading the school. After all, when we announced Mike’s appointment in 2006, building on his quarter-century-plus as the premier broadcast journalist in this region, it was suggested to me that it was an “out-of-the-box appointment.”

If we pause to look back, we can say that, with our creation in 2017 of the Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, Mike has led us in redesigning the box. Certainly, the variety of events and programs associated with Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center has been extraordinary and is a tribute to his work and to the efforts of so many staff and faculty.

Yet, as suggested above, our focus is on the future. And today we announce another, most exciting out-of-the-box appointment. I invite you to read about the new director of the Lubar Center in the following Marquette University press release.

Judge Derek Mosley named director of Marquette Law School’s Lubar Center

MILWAUKEE — Derek Mosley, a judge of the Milwaukee Municipal Court for 20 years, has been named the director of Marquette University Law School’s Lubar Center for Public Policy Research and Civic Education, Marquette President Michael R. Lovell announced today. Mosley, who was appointed Municipal Court Judge in 2002 following a seven-year career as an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County, will begin his new role on Jan. 9, 2023.

“The Marquette community is blessed to welcome Derek Mosley back to campus as the director of the Lubar Center. Our students and community will benefit greatly from Derek’s breadth of knowledge, keen understanding of social dynamics and extensive nonprofit experience,” Lovell said. “The Lubar Center serves as an important hub of public discourse in Milwaukee, and Derek’s deep connections and love for our city will help further the center’s mission in profound ways.”

A 1995 alumnus of Marquette Law School, Mosley will lead the Lubar Center. In this role, he will conduct public events and work with colleagues to develop robust programming that will fulfill and expand the law school’s role as a public square for timely and important public policy discussions.

“I am thrilled to be coming home to Marquette to serve the public good in new and valuable ways as director of the Lubar Center,” Mosley said. “It has been my great honor to have served the people of Milwaukee for more than 27 years, first as a prosecutor and then a presiding judge. I now look forward to the unique and exciting challenge of helping to advance public understanding of and discourse around matters of law and public policy through the city’s preeminent public forum.”

The Lubar Center is home to an expansive schedule of research and public programming such as the Marquette Law School Poll, “On the Issues” conversations with newsmakers, public lectures by leading scholars, and conferences on issues of public significance. The work of the Lubar Center advances Marquette Law School’s mission to advance civil discourse about law and public policy matters.

“The law school has been engaged with the broader public since its founding, but our outreach and engagement took on new forms and importance in 2007, with the appointment of Mike Gousha as distinguished fellow in law and public policy, and in 2017, with the establishment of the Lubar Center,” said Joseph D. Kearney, dean and professor of law. “With Mike’s stepping back from full-time duties earlier this year, we searched for an individual of inquiry and integrity to continue and expand our work, as director of the center. His background and relationships in Milwaukee help make Judge Mosley uniquely qualified for this role, and I am grateful for his confidence and enthusiasm about his new role.”

“Since its inception, the Lubar Center has sought to be a public resource for this region, a home for important conversations, new ideas, and independent polling and research,” said Mike Gousha, who now serves as senior advisor in law and public policy at the law school. “As a respected voice and innovative thinker on law and public policy matters, Judge Mosley is a terrific choice to build on the Lubar Center’s previous work and expand its reach in the years ahead.”

After graduating from Marquette Law School, Mosley served as an assistant district attorney for Milwaukee County from 1995 to 2002. He was then appointed by the Milwaukee Common Council to fill the vacancy in Branch 2 of the city’s Municipal Court starting on Aug. 1, 2002. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest African American to be appointed judge in the State of Wisconsin. In August 2004, he was first appointed Presiding Judge of the Milwaukee Municipal Court.

As an assistant district attorney, Mosley represented the State of Wisconsin in more than 1,000 criminal prosecutions and helped found the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Community Prosecution Unit. This unit places assistant district attorneys in neighborhoods throughout the City of Milwaukee to work with residents to reduce urban blight and to improve the quality of life. As the head of this unit, he helped to establish after-school programs, develop a Second Chance Felony Employment Initiative for offenders, close 100 drug houses and nuisance properties, and start a police and citizen crime fighting initiative, which targeted street drug dealing. This initiative, called “Operation Streetsweeper,” was awarded the Law Enforcement Honor Award by the United States Department of Justice.

Mosley sits on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including Froedtert Hospital, the Urban Ecology Center, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, Safe and Sound, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, the United Way Diversity Leadership Committee, and TransCenter for Youth, a longtime operator of small high schools in Milwaukee. He has been a lecturer at both Marquette Law School and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and he sits on the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s Judicial Education Committee

Mosley’s community engagement is not limited to the legal and philanthropic, as he has become a visible presence throughout Milwaukee. In his spare time, he routinely speaks both nationally and internationally about unconscious bias and Black history. Mosley is also a popular wedding officiant, having officiated more than 1,000 weddings, and a local Milwaukee foodie. He served as a 2022 James Beard Judge for the James Beard Foundation and recently began a regular feature on WUWM’s Lake Effect, “Monthly with Mosley,” where he discusses Milwaukee food and history.

Of Bankruptcy, Legal Action, and Marquette Law School’s Many Partners in Pro Bono Work

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Legal Action of WisconsinIn this continuing series of posts concerning the pro bono work of the Marquette Law School community, my recent focus has been on aspects of our own Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics. These have included the role of the Mobile Legal Clinic and our statewide efforts with respect to rural communities and small businesses.

Yet even in the MVLC-related posts, it has been evident that we are so dependent on partners, such as (to draw variously on the instances just noted) the Milwaukee Bar Association, the Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts, and the State Bar of Wisconsin. The point was perhaps most explicit in the shoutout to the many individual attorney volunteers—last year half of them Marquette lawyers, half of them not—that make the MVLCs a true legal community effort.

In some of our efforts, we are rather less the “host” entity than contributors to efforts led by others. One such setup involves Legal Action of Wisconsin, the state’s largest legal aid provider (as that term is understood in the legal vernacular). Legal Action long has hosted Marquette law students’ pro bono service. Of the numerous examples available, I will note here the newest one.

In a project begun just this past summer and continuing this semester, Legal Action is helping clients interested in filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions for discharge of debts—and a number of Marquette law students are right there with attorneys on the project. In its early months, the work included (as I understand it at a level of anonymized generality), advising some clients not to file because of an IRS garnishment issue or concerns about fraudulent transfers. It also involved six successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions.

One working on such a project no doubt will learn something about bankruptcy law. That seems to me quite valuable, as anyone who has taken Advanced Civil Procedure with Tom Shriner and me can attest (for there I always promote the school’s Creditor-Debtor course). One will also gain, from this work, insight and experience with respect to the human condition.

Consider what Maggie Niebler-Brown, the volunteer lawyer project coordinator at Legal Action of Wisconsin, recently wrote one of my colleagues: “Rarely do our clients struggle with a single legal issue, and our bankruptcy clients are no exception. Many of our clients are also experiencing myriad medical or family-related issues which can distract from the often detail-intensive process of preparing a bankruptcy petition. This leads to some of the delays in gathering documents that we’ve seen this semester, and this past summer, especially with credit counseling certificates. However, despite these delays, I’m proud that this clinic is still able to deliver much-needed relief to our clients. Thank you, Marquette law students, for being part of this practice.”

And thank you, Legal Action and our many other partners and collaborators, for welcoming our students into your work.

Reaching Rural Areas with Our Pro Bono Efforts

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Map of WisconsinA series of blog posts was not my plan, more than a month ago, when I wrote about the American Association of Law Schools’ pro bono honor roll with respect to Marquette Law School. Yet the work of volunteer students and lawyers, coordinated by our Office of Public Service, is so extensive that it has inspired me to continue with what I now project as a total of ten entries by the end of the semester (posts thus far, beyond the first, are available here, here, here, and here). My self-assigned topic for this week is the expansion of our pro bono outreach to encompass rural areas in Wisconsin.

Some context is helpful. Last week’s post sketched out some of the work of the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics (MVLCs) through volunteer students (all future Marquette lawyers, we hope) and volunteer lawyers (this past year, half of them our alumni and half graduates of other law schools). For more than twenty years now, the MVLCs have served our Milwaukee neighbors at various community-based locations. With the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, the MVLCs were forced—like nearly every organization—to pivot to provide services remotely. Starting a few weeks later, in early April of that year, the first remote MVLC was open on Zoom. The remote MVLCs came to operate nearly every day of the week and over time grew to serve almost as many people each month as had been the case in the established community-based walk-in clinics.

That brings us to the fall of 2020: the MVLCs’ history of trusted service and solid experience in the brief legal advice context prompted the Business Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin to approach us. The bar section was interested in the creation of a clinic to help address the issues faced by Wisconsin small businesses in the COVID-19 pandemic. Our Office of Public Service recruited attorneys and law students and built the necessary “infrastructure” to host the clinic on Zoom. The clinic saw its first clients in early 2021.

To date, in a partnership with the bar section, the MVLC Small Business Clinic has—the volunteer attorneys and students have—served nearly 200 small businesses around the state. Operating remotely each week, the clinic advises on legal issues involving contracts, employment, entity formation, real estate, intellectual property, tax, and questions related to ongoing compliance and operation. Clients in 32 counties across Wisconsin have reached the clinic. It has especially attracted volunteer Marquette law students interested in pro bono service in a transactional (as opposed to litigation) context.

In any event, this experience led to a further innovation. Fall 2021 brought a return to in-person services for the civil and family-law MVLCs and also this question: Could we capitalize on the infrastructure and experience built up during the pandemic? The answer “yes” was clear to my colleagues in the Law School’s Office of Public Service—led by Angela F. Schultz, assistant dean for public service, and Katie Mertz, L’11, director of pro bono and public service.

More specifically, as of this fall, they created another new MVLC: the Rural Clinic. After all, the remote-clinic model, its value demonstrated in the small-business sphere, was well-suited more generally for serving clients statewide—an interest that Dean Schultz and Director Mertz had long discussed as a critical step in bridging the access-to-justice gap.

How have we done? In its first month, this fall, the Rural Clinic was open (online, of course) four times. It served 19 clients (10 civil, 9 family) through the work of 16 volunteer attorneys and 24 volunteer law students. Clients were from counties across the state—Lafayette, Juneau, Winnebago, Dane, Brown, Monroe, Green Lake, La Crosse, Marathon, Shawano (non-native Wisconsinites should be careful with that county’s pronunciation), Sauk, Lincoln, Eau Claire, Manitowoc, Sawyer, and Waushara.

Clients come to the Rural Clinic with legal issues similar to those presented in the Milwaukee-based MVLCs—e.g., landlord/tenant, small claims, divorce, child custody, and guardianship needs. Yet individuals seeking brief legal advice from the Rural Clinic may have even fewer other places to turn for help.

More could be said: The valuable lessons of the initial COVID physical shutdown of the spring of 2020 go beyond the Rural Clinic. A separate remote MVLC continues, on Monday afternoons, to serve clients in the Milwaukee region who are unable to attend an in-person clinic for one reason or another.

Perhaps most notably, from a long-term perspective, both the Small Business Clinic and the Rural Clinic have led to new attorney volunteers—many of them, like the clients they serve, from around this great state. (Anyone interested may contact Director Mertz.)

Marquette Law School is grateful for their work and that of our students—for the opportunity to serve.

The Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic(s)—A True Legal Community Effort

Posted on Categories Pro Bono, PublicLeave a comment» on The Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic(s)—A True Legal Community Effort

Marquette Law SchoolThe spirit and ideals underlying Marquette Law School’s embrace of pro bono work are timeless—part of our Catholic, Jesuit heritage and mission and reflecting the best traditions of the legal profession. Yet there are some key dates in our history, and, without doubt, one of them is from just more than 20 years ago.

Specifically, in 2001, a group of individuals began the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic (MVLC). Julie Darnieder, L’78, alluded to this background in a blog post a number of years later, and I remain grateful to all of the individuals involved in launching the initiative.

My purpose here is not to recount the story but rather—on the cusp of the ABA’s National Celebration of Pro Bono week—first to note the continuing prominence of the MVLC in our now much-expanded pro bono work. Indeed, Angela F. Schultz, assistant dean for public service, has taught me to refer to the MVLCs (plural). For we now offer the following locations (and times):

Permit me to emphasize, second, that we are dependent on—and grateful to—the many lawyers in this community who enable us to operate the MVLCs. After all, our students, who are there with them, do not yet have law licenses.

The lawyers volunteering each day come from a range of practices, law schools, and experiences. Some volunteers have had long careers—Herb Bratt, retired from full-time law practice but a frequent volunteer, graduated from Yale Law School in 1956. Others are newer to the practice: Jordan Jozwik, an associate at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, graduated from Marquette Law School in May 2022. Within weeks, she had done her first MVLC shift—as an attorney (she volunteered often as a law student).

Remarkably, of the 230 lawyer volunteers in the past year, exactly 115 were Marquette lawyers, while the other half graduated from other law schools. The latter group would form a long list, including the law schools at universities such as Cornell, Creighton, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Harvard, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Northwestern, Tulsa, Vermont, William Mitchell, and Wisconsin (Madison).

We recently surveyed all these lawyers about their “reasons for engaging in pro bono with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics.” Simply stated here, it is evident that all of them regard it as a privilege to serve the MVLC clients (in the brief-legal-advice format of the clinic) and to help develop the knowledge, skills, and values of our students.

Indeed, a prevailing theme is that the practicing lawyers regard themselves as getting more than they are giving from the experience. From the Marquette Law School end, truly, we could not operate the MVLCs without the many civic-minded lawyers in this area who already know, from their volunteering, “how great this is” (in the words of one respondent to the recent survey).

Kudos—and thank you—to all our attorney volunteers. To learn how to join with them—and with our students—by volunteering with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics, visit our website.

The Mobile Legal Clinic Speeds Forward

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On September 17, 2013, the following announcement was made in a Marquette University press release:

Marquette Law School and the Milwaukee Bar Association are partnering to launch the Milwaukee Justice Center Mobile Legal Clinic, a specially outfitted bus designed as a vehicle to provide free, brief legal advice to individuals who find themselves outside of the areas currently served by legal volunteer efforts in metropolitan Milwaukee.

The Mobile Legal Clinic is believed to be the only service of its kind in Wisconsin, and one of only a handful in the nation delivering volunteer legal services in underserved areas.

Mobile Legal Van
The Mobile Legal Clinic’s first director, Mary Ferwerda, Law ’11, and its current director, Marisa Zane, Law ’11, stand outside the new Mobile Legal Clinic, outside Eckstein Hall, on October 6, 2022.

The 2013 release detailed the origins of the project, the succinct statement being this: “The Mobile Legal Clinic was made possible by a gift from Frank Daily, Law ’68, and Julianna Ebert, Law ’81, to honor the pro bono work of Mike Gonring, Law ’82, their friend and longtime partner at Quarles & Brady.” It described the Milwaukee Justice Center more generally—a collaborative project of Marquette Law School, the Milwaukee Bar Association, and the Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts.

Since its rollout, the Mobile Legal Clinic has made an important contribution to access to justice in the Milwaukee region. Just to give a sense of it: During the past nine years (and one month), on the Mobile Legal Clinic, more than 240 volunteer lawyers and Marquette law students have served 2,945 community members at 43 host sites. These sites are key service providers in the community—venues that people are frequenting for help with a range of needs.

The sites include public libraries, food pantries, and health clinics—places where community members may seek services connected, directly or tangentially, to a legal issue. For example, someone in need of help feeding his or her family might be facing an eviction. Or someone visiting a free health clinic might wish to appoint a power of attorney or write a will. More precise locations have included multiple Milwaukee Public Library branches (e.g., Forest Home, Martin Luther King, Mitchell Street), the Milwaukee Rescue Mission, the Riverwest Food Pantry, St. Benedict the Moor Parish, St. John’s Lutheran Church in West Milwaukee, and the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, to name (truly) only a few.

To be sure, some aspects of the project have changed. Some of the individuals involved in leading the project are different: For example, Mary Ferwerda, Law ’11, the original supervisor of the Mobile Legal Clinic, is now executive director of the Milwaukee Justice Center, and Marisa Zane, Law ’11, is the supervisor of the Mobile Legal Clinic.

And now, for the development occasioning this post, the original bus has been replaced by an entirely new one. (See the photo accompanying this post.)

The new Mobile Legal Clinic is different. It no longer is specially outfitted with office space inside. Instead, it is a passenger vehicle to transport volunteers. This change resulted from years of experience hosting legal clinics inside a vehicle during times of rain, snow, heat, and freezing temperatures. Most of the time, the legal clinics ran more efficiently and effectively when held inside a building to which the Mobile Legal Clinic had arrived.

Yet a few people associated with the project—and one important “thing”—have remained the same. The former include, in particular, the three people noted above in the excerpt from the 2013 release: Frank Daily, Julie Ebert, and Mike Gonring, in different yet overlapping ways, continue to support the Mobile Legal Clinic. We are so grateful for their support, example, and service.

And the thing that has not changed? Without doubting that it could be stated in any number of ways, I would describe it as the spirit and ideals animating this project. I would say the spirit and ideals of Marquette University Law School—the school’s mission of Excellence, Faith, Leadership, and Service—and there would be considerable truth to this. Certainly, this is what especially motivates us “at” or “from” the Law School—those who have the privilege to work here or are Marquette lawyers (or both).

Yet, for all the leadership that Marquette Law School may have furnished, this is a project, in both its origins and its operations, that also has drawn substantially on the talents and values of others in the legal profession, without a direct connection to the Law School. Once again, it is an example of how much better able we are to serve others when we have the sorts of partnerships that have characterized the Mobile Legal Clinic. If you are a lawyer or law student who would like to get on board the Mobile Legal Clinic, let us know.

Law Student and PILS Fellow Morgan Kaplan Describes the “Steps” Required of a Pro Se “Movant” in Family Court in Milwaukee County

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Milwaukee County CourthouseEarly this semester, I had the privilege of meeting with Marquette law students who this past summer held Public Interest Law Society fellowships. These 25 individuals worked at organizations, geographically from Wisconsin to Chicago to Washington, D.C., with a variety of focuses—including public defender offices, legal services organizations, prosecutor’s offices, government agencies, and civil rights entities, scarcely to exhaust the list.

I learned so much from the conversation, arranged by Angela F. Schultz, assistant dean for public service at the Law School. Much of it would be worth relating, and I encourage everyone in our law school community to converse with one or more of our impressive PILS fellows.

In this post, with thanks to (and permission from) Morgan Kaplan, a second-year student, I want to highlight briefly one phenomenon that she observed this summer as a PILS fellow working at the Milwaukee Justice Center. More specifically, she described for the group some of the difficulties faced by pro se litigants hoping to modify family court orders in the Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Here is the description, which I asked her to write up:

One might hope that filing a motion to modify a family court order would be a relatively straightforward proposition—perhaps even that a party could bring in the completed paperwork, drop it off (file it) in one place, and move on to preparing for the court date or other tasks.

This is not the case. Rather than a simplified process that promotes access to the civil justice system, pro se litigants must navigate a sea of forms and offices, even after they have filled out the modification form (the motion). The Milwaukee Justice Center has prepared a sort of map—a checklist—to guide their journey. Let’s travel with them.

1. Those who are eligible for a fee waiver, either based on income or receipt of public benefits, will start in Room 104, the Clerk of Court’s office, to have their fee waiver notarized.

2. That’s just notarization: Having the fee waiver approved requires a trip up to the Chief Judge’s office in Room 609. Once those interested have an approved fee waiver, then they can move on to the next steps to file the motion.

3. It’s time for filing. This happens in Room 104, the Clerk of Court’s office (a second time for those using a fee waiver). There, interested parties will either show their fee waiver or pay a filing fee, giving the original documents to the clerk. We may now call them “movants.”

4. Then they will move upstairs (a second time for those with a fee waiver)—all the way to Room 707—to visit the office of the Family Court Commissioner. There, movants will hand all remaining copies of the motion to the calendar desk and get a hearing date, which will be stamped on all copies of the motion.

5. If the desired modification—the relief requested by the motion—involves a child support order, movants will head back down to Room 101, the Milwaukee County Child Support Office, to drop off a copy of the motion there as well.

6. After those three stops (five, in fact, for those with a fee waiver), movants will head over to the Safety Building, Room 102 (connected to the courthouse via skywalk), to fill out paperwork in hopes of having the Milwaukee County Sheriff serve the other party (if a county resident) with a final copy of the motion.

We all know that the processes of our civil justice system were not created with unrepresented litigants in mind, yet no one doubts that cases with such pro se litigants, in fact, predominate in family courts across the country. We may well ask whether we have taken enough steps to facilitate access to justice for these pro se litigants.

Participation in Pro Bono Work and Law Student Well-Being—Any Correlation?

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Assistant Dean Angela Schultz
Assistant Dean Angela Schultz

Last week I posted about Marquette Law School’s list—one faculty member, one staff colleague, and one student—for the honor roll of the Pro Bono and Access to Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools. I explained that I relied on the expertise of Angela F. Schultz, assistant dean for public service at the Law School.

As we begin this week—the sixth of the semester, remarkable to say—I want again to draw on Dean Schultz’s work, perhaps every more directly. In particular, permit me to highlight for you—and direct you to—a post that she recently made on the University of St. Thomas School of Law’s Holloran Center Professional Identity Implementation Blog. Here is a taste of it, as we say in the blogosphere:

I have been at Marquette Law School for eleven years. Over the years, I have witnessed students become more willing and able to identify and discuss mental health challenges they have faced in their own lives—challenges the students themselves have described as stress, anxiety, depression, and sometimes as trauma. I remember one recent student who lost both parents during their first year of law school. Another student took a leave of absence and was hospitalized for severe anxiety. If you work with law students, you also know some of the challenges facing students’ well-being.

I can think of three recent conversations where students identified their involvement in pro bono service as being among the factors that ultimately aided them on a path towards wellness. These three students’ experiences are not unique. Each year, we evaluate student experience in pro bono clinics. Comments from a recent survey included: “This work reminds me why I came to law school in the first place.” “I was afraid of working one-on-one with a client because I didn’t realize I already had skills that could be helpful.” “I feel connected to the people served in the clinic. These are my people.”

Dean Schultz’s post is thoughtful and engaging. I invite you to read the whole thing here—and to gain an insight or two. I was glad to do so.

Can Common Carrier Principles Control Dominance by Twitter and Google?

Posted on Categories Marquette Lawyer Magazine, PublicLeave a comment» on Can Common Carrier Principles Control Dominance by Twitter and Google?
Prof. Jim Speta
Prof. Jim Speta

The Robert F. Boden Lecture is an annual highlight at Marquette University Law School, public health permitting. After a COVID-19 hiatus in 2020 and 2021—true community events require being in person—the Boden Lecture resumed yesterday. It did so most impressively, with Jim Speta, the Elizabeth Froehling Horner Professor at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, as Marquette Law School’s distinguished visitor.

For his lecture, Professor Speta took up “The Past’s Lessons for Today: Can Common Carrier Principles Make for a Better Internet?” The topic is especially timely in light of the Fifth Circuit’s decision last Friday upholding a Texas state law regulating internet platforms. Here is a taste of it:

In this lecture, I will address both the dominance of the internet platforms and the calls to regulate them as common carriers. To begin to define our terms, this reference to the platforms means the dominance by Google and Facebook, by Amazon and Apple (and to a lesser extent by Twitter and Microsoft), of the ways we receive information, exchange it, even understand it. The main concern is that these platforms are biased, that they discriminate, that they foreclose speech. That is why, today, platform critics—including governments—are reaching for the traditional law of railroads and of telephone companies: the law of common carriage. That once-dominant law forbade discrimination. In addition to the Texas and Florida statutes . . . , one Supreme Court Justice has written in favor of platform-focused common carrier regulation, as have numerous federal and state lawmakers, some academics, and numerous commentators. Bills have been offered or are pending in Congress and in many states, including Wisconsin.

I think the proposals for common carrier regulation of platforms are very right—and very wrong. I think they are right to worry about the dominance of internet platforms, and they are right that common carrier law, even though it smells musty and over the past few decades has largely been discarded in the United States, can be part of the solution. I think they are very wrong to target common carrier solutions at the platforms’ core operations themselves—to change the ways in which users are permitted access, content is moderated, and search results are provided. Such platform regulation does not fit the common carrier model. Platforms are not merely conduits of user behavior, although they are partly that. Platforms also seek to create a particular kind of speech experience that holds the attention of their users. If we are required to have an analogy to an old form of media, platforms are more like newspapers and broadcasters than telephone companies, though I think the best single analogy is to bookstores. Newspapers, broadcasters, and bookstores curate the content they offer their customers, and common carrier rules have never applied to them. Even more concerning, laws directly controlling platforms simply give the government unprecedented power over the content experiences these private companies seek to create. I think it almost certainly violates the First Amendment and that the Fifth Circuit’s decision to the contrary is quite wrong.

Instead, here’s what we can do: we can and should at least try to address concerns about the currently dominant platforms by using law to make it easier to have more platforms. This is, truly, the essential argument that I will make: Common carrier solutions should be targeted at the infrastructure that enables platforms to be built and to reach consumers. When we think about platforms, we usually think about the ways that users interact directly with Google or Twitter or the other services. But, in fact, myriad companies provide infrastructure and services that both enable user access and platform operation—companies that transmit data, such as the cable companies and other internet services providers that carry data, companies that host websites and platforms, and services such as website defense or payment processing that support both new and established platforms. In the past, these providers have denied services to some new platforms that sought to establish alternative services. Applying a lighter-touch (and differently placed) version of common carrier regulation to the internet’s support providers, I will seek to convince you, can increase the possibility of alternative platforms. This is our best hope to enrich our speech choices and ecosystem without government censorship.

One may read the entire lecture here, even in advance of its publication next year in the Marquette Law Review and Marquette Lawyer.

I am well familiar with the common carrier regime that Professor Speta invokes, as he explains, for inspiration (see, for example, here and here for some of my own relevant past). This Boden Lecture strikes me as a deeply important and unusually judicious contribution to the current debate, well, raging, it is not too much to say, about appropriate public policy in this internet age.

That Professor Speta deftly interweaves references to past Boden lecturers, such as Columbia’s Professor Thomas W. Merrill (2010) and UCLA’s Professor Eugene Volokh (2006), is a fine local touch. Yet his lecture merits engagement nationally.

AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll for Marquette University Law School

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Marquette Law SchoolThe Pro Bono and Access to Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) this year is inaugurating a new initiative—the Pro Bono Honor Roll—and has invited each law school dean this year to name one faculty member, one staff member, and one student. For a definition that those familiar with Marquette Law School’s Office of Public Service may especially recognize, the section defines pro bono as “work that is primarily legal in nature, supervised by a licensed attorney (for law students), not for pay or academic credit, and of service to underserved individuals, groups, or those with barriers to access to justice.”

The invitation from the AALS was most welcome, and I turned to my colleague, Angela F. Schultz, assistant dean for public service, for “nominees.” It seemed to us that there might be value in our publicly explaining—and celebrating—the work of the three exemplars whom I thereupon named to the inaugural AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll.

Faculty: Rebecca K. Blemberg. Rebecca Blemberg, professor of legal writing, started volunteering with the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics (MVLC) before the pandemic and has continued as part of the volunteer crew in every subsequent semester (including summers). In recent years, she has spent more than 90 hours providing “brief legal advice” (the relevant term of art) on family law matters. It is not uncommon for Professor Blemberg to check in with Dean Schultz after a clinic about something she thinks she could have done differently or better or to offer an idea about adding to clinic resources to strengthen another volunteer’s experience.

Staff: Katie Mertz. Katie Mertz, director of pro bono and public service at the Law School, does a great amount to expand and support the Law School’s pro bono clinics and the involvement of Marquette law students and others. Just this past summer, she developed all the infrastructure necessary to host a new remote clinic intended to serve people in rural communities of Wisconsin (that clinic just launched earlier this month). She does a remarkable job keeping the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinics’ substantive resources—the tools available for our volunteers to use as they navigate client questions—up to date and user-friendly. And Director Mertz draws on—pulls in—external experts on various topics to ensure accuracy and quality.

Student: Jeremy Fernando. Jeremy Fernando is a third-year law student who consistently shows up—even when he has already completed his own pro bono schedule and has already exceeded 120 hours of pro bono service, the level “required” for admission to our Pro Bono Society “with distinction” (he has performed almost 170 hours to date). Last year, when the expungement/pardon clinic was seeking consistent law student volunteers, Mr. Fernando answered the call and made a weekly commitment. This year, given class schedules, it has been a challenge to staff our Thursday-morning MVLC operation at the Milwaukee Justice Center with law students. Mr. Fernando noticed the call for student support and offered to pitch in until his own class begins. (The clinic runs from 9-11 a.m.)

Much more could be said about these honorees or others. In fact, the AALS submission does not require any explanation, but it is a privilege for me publicly to provide it here. Marquette Law School has sought to develop a “culture of pro bono” in recent decades. Lawyers in our community—some alumni, others not—are deeply involved. This particular post has been a welcome opportunity to celebrate the work of those who call Eckstein Hall their professional home.

A Decade (Plus) for the Marquette Law School Poll

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School Poll, Public1 Comment on A Decade (Plus) for the Marquette Law School Poll

We communicate about the Marquette Law School Poll in any number of ways, including posts on this blog, Tweets from the official MULawPoll Twitter account and that of poll director Charles Franklin, and occasional articles in the Marquette Lawyer magazine (from 2012 to this past year). Marquette’s Office of University Relations (OUR) also issues releases. While these are ordinarily drawn from the poll’s homepage, OUR has issued its own announcement, noting the tenth anniversary of the poll. In light of the poll’s prominence and success, we post below for interested readers the University’s press release, which is also available here.

Marquette University Law Poll marking 10 years of polling in 2022

MILWAUKEE — The Marquette University Law School Poll is celebrating 10 years of polling, having released its first survey of Wisconsin voters on Jan. 25, 2012. Over the ensuing decade, the Marquette Law Poll has become recognized across the spectrum as “the gold standard in Wisconsin politics.”

The Marquette Law School Poll was established to be the most extensive polling project in Wisconsin history, with a full commitment to being an independent effort with no agenda except to reliably find out as much as is possible about public opinion in Wisconsin and to make that information publicly available. The poll is entirely funded by aggregated small donations to the Law School’s Annual Fund.

“The goal of the Marquette Law School Poll is to provide a balanced and detailed understanding of how voters on all sides view and respond to the issues of the 2012 campaigns,” wrote Joseph D. Kearney, dean of Marquette Law School, in announcing the polling project in November 2011. “With the national attention that Wisconsin will receive in 2012 and Marquette Law School’s growing reputation as a premier neutral site for debate and civil discourse on matters affecting the region and points beyond … there can be little doubt that the time, place, and people are right for the Marquette Law School Poll.”

The premise of Wisconsin’s important role in national politics was correct, and the decision to create the Marquette Law School Poll was even prescient, as the state has been a central battleground on the national level in each presidential election since. This has made the Marquette Law Poll a key instrument in measuring public opinion in the state come Election Day and a resource of national attention.

Since January 2012, the Marquette Law School Poll has recorded:

  • Responses from over 60,000 Wisconsin voters
  • Polling involving over 1,200 unique questions
  • Favorability of 112 political figures, including 70 measures of favorability for Sen. Tammy Baldwin, 56 measures for Sen. Ron Johnson, and 50 for former Gov. Scott Walker. Favorability and approval were also recorded for President Joe Biden and Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump in each poll during their respective time in office.
  • The Marquette Law Poll is nearing 400 unique issue questions on marijuana legalization, gun control, public schools, COVID-19, deer hunting, farm ownership, climate change, healthcare, and a host of other policy topics.

Continue reading “A Decade (Plus) for the Marquette Law School Poll”

In Remembrance of One Public Defender—and in Praise of All Such

Posted on Categories Marquette Law School, Marquette Law School History, Public1 Comment on In Remembrance of One Public Defender—and in Praise of All Such

Howard EisenbergHoward B. Eisenberg’s yahrzeit, as some might say, is late this week: June 4 will mark 20 years since his death. We remember him at Marquette University Law School as our dean, a position in which he served with great effect and distinction but for too brief a time (1995 until his death in 2002). On occasional past anniversaries of his death, various of us have recalled one aspect or another of his deanship (a post last year contains various links).

Yet it is another part of Howard’s remarkable professional life to which I find myself often returning these days. For almost six years—from December 1972 to September 1978—Howard served as the State Public Defender, by appointment of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Without doubt, this was his great formative work after law school, and much that he did subsequently can be traced to those six years (we reprinted Howard’s full resume in the special memorial issue of the Marquette Law Review published upon his death, beginning at p. 208 in the journal’s numbering).

Without doubting the difficulties of a deanship (in Howard’s case, first with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and then at Marquette), Howard’s work as the State Public Defender was an extraordinary challenge. He was thrust into it barely a year out of law school and only months after finishing a clerkship with Justice Horace Wilkie of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. (What remarkable work Howard must have done as a law clerk to engender that sort of confidence from the court.) Howard met the challenge, at least insofar as anyone could have, as attested in the 2002 memorial issue by three of his former colleagues in the public defender’s office. Their essays capture an impressive amount of his work and even personality, as I am reminded by his occasional wry self-introduction in those years (recalled on p. 248): “I’m Howard Eisenberg, State Public Defender, which the Supreme Court thinks is Latin for ‘Judgment Affirmed.’”

I have never been a public defender, of course, although a long-running pro bono case that over the past decade Anne Berleman Kearney and I have handled, as appointed by the public defender’s office, has given me a small bit of relatively firsthand insight into the joys and (mostly) sorrows experienced by public defenders, at least in appellate matters (Howard’s métier). So I am reminded of him in that professional sphere as well.

In all events, this year, even as I recall Howard Eisenberg, I hope, looking forward, that we, as a legal profession and certainly as a law school, can celebrate the work of these extraordinary men and women: our public defenders. We are fortunate in Wisconsin to have the leadership of Kelli Thompson, L’96, as the State Public Defender, and her colleagues include Tom Reed, longtime adjunct professor here. To preview an upcoming issue of the Marquette Lawyer magazine (the one coming out not in a couple of days but in late 2022), I imagine that we will have more to say there. For what it is worth here, I wish to say that the work of all of these individuals has my great admiration.

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