The Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic


I was pleased to attend the induction ceremony for students earning membership in the Pro Bono Society last evening in Eisenberg Hall.  Students who logged 60 hours of non-credit public service work during law school are eligible.  Sixteen students were separately honored for logging at least 120 hours.  It was a lovely evening, with Dean Kearney recognizing the importance of both the learned and service aspects of the law.  I was there to support and recognize those students who spent many of those hours at the Marquette Volunteer Legal Clinic, with which I have been involved since its inception.  I could not have been more proud of these talented, committed students.

Looking for an outlet for myself several years back after retiring from private practice, I was fortunate enough to stumble into this project at its inception.  In my first post I talked about what a wonderful collaboration the pot luck dinners shared by all the women in my class were–supportive, helpful and fun.  Well, collaboration has served me well over and over again in my career as a lawyer, particularly so with the MVLC.  In 2001, two students approached the Pro Bono Committee of the Association for Women Lawyers, seeking help with an idea.  As I like to say, we naively took it on.

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Favorite Law School Activities: Potluck Dinners With Classmates

I appreciate being invited to be the featured alum blogger for April.  This being my first blog experience, I am going to ease in with an answer to the question of the month:  What was your most useful or enjoyable extracurricular activity in law school?

Since I married a classmate following graduation, I don’t need to tell you how useful or enjoyable that was, except to report that I am still very happily married to Mark, also a member of the Class of 1978.

I have very fond memories of the potluck dinners shared by the women students of my class.  We weren’t a huge number — 28 of the 130 graduating students.  Remarkably, most of us would attend these ad hoc affairs every other month or so.  Mothers would bring their babies.  It allowed us to develop a bond that was pretty unique.  Besides the wine and food, we shared outlines (I understand good outlines are still a hot commodity), strategies, complaints, fears, and hopes.  It was, in fact, an informal collaboration that worked very well for me and I suspect many others as we struggled through those three tough years.

While women are no longer such a small group, I imagine these sorts of gatherings still occur among all the students in some manner.  It was for me an enjoyable, healthy way to deal with the anxiety and stress of the law school experience.  And at that time, with one-third of the first year students not making it to the second year, it was indeed stressful — perhaps more about that era of the law school later.

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