Marc Marotta

The Marquette family — indeed, the Milwaukee community and the state more generally — lost one of its great leaders yesterday when Marc Marotta suddenly passed away. His death was jarring; he was only 52. Many people knew Marc far better than I, but I had the great fortune of getting to know him through our work together on the Board of Directors of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corporation for the past few years. In fact, I saw him on Tuesday morning at a board meeting, where he was his usual self: energetic, gregarious, and engaging … which made yesterday’s news even more incomprehensible.

My interest in this post is not to detail Marc’s many accomplishments; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel does a great job of it here (though no one article can truly do justice to the work and legacy of Marc Marotta). Instead, as our third-year students inch closer to graduation and becoming Marquette lawyers, I hope to highlight aspects of Marc’s life and career that are worth reflection by our students — indeed, by all of us in the profession — as they become lawyers and serve the public.

Marc was an excellent lawyer — just ask anyone with whom he worked.

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Mitten Elected President-Elect of Sports Lawyers Association

mittenLast week, the Sports Lawyers Association held its 40th annual conference in Chicago. Unsurprisingly, the Law School had a strong presence at the conference, which boasted more than 800 attendees. Current students, alumni, National Sports Law Institute Board Members, and several faculty members (Professors Anderson, Braza, Cervenka, Mitten, and yours truly) all attended the conference. Professors Anderson and Mitten both spoke on panels during the conference.

In addition, Professor Mitten was elected as the president-elect of the Sports Lawyers Association, which is a national and international group of more than 1,700 members consisting of sports industry professionals, sports lawyers, and sports law professors. Professor Mitten will become the organization’s president in May 2015 and serve a two-year term. Congratulations, Professor Mitten!

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Cancer and Mentors

Holding HandsIt was ten years ago to this very day, at the age of 28, that I heard the words from my doctor that I’ll never forget: “You have cancer.” It’s news that shakes you to your core, even if you were expecting the diagnosis. While I had a very treatable form of cancer — testicular cancer — I couldn’t help but face my mortality head-on. In the hours after my diagnosis, I remember thinking about all of the things I still wanted to do in my life: get married and have kids; pursue a career as a law professor; celebrate more Lakers and Dodgers championships; etc.

Fortunately, I am ten years in remission, and statistically, the chances of the cancer recurring are extremely low — less than one percent.  I look back at how many of the reasons for which I wanted to live have come to pass: I am blessed with a wonderful wife and two great daughters; I am incredibly fortunate to have a job that I love so much; the Lakers hung two more championship banners since then (and being at the game 7 win in 2010 against those wretched Boston Celtics was one of the more euphoric moments of my life (sorry Professor Rofes)); and as for the Dodgers, well, there’s still lots to live for. <grin>

I look back ten years later with incredible gratitude for all of the people who helped support me through my battle with cancer.  But I also look back a bit wistfully, as I have lost two mentors since that time, and I miss them both very much.  I have been meaning to write about both of them for the last two years, but to be honest, it has just been too painful.  Their passings were great losses for me and for so many others who knew them.

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